SKopelos

By Sofia, Feb 10 2018 02:55PM

Apologies to regular readers for the lack of blogs recently: I've been travelling Europe and had a bout of flu.


I am now looking forward to my return to 39Steps at end of February.


Below are a few pictures of Skopelos in early spring. It is lovely to be there for the community's Easter celebrations and as the island explodes with a magnificent display of blossoms and flowers.


By Sofia, Dec 9 2017 08:03PM

Guest blog by John and Jean


We have visited Skopelos a number of times over the past 20 years or so - even before Mamma Mia! We have always enjoyed the island, its people, the great beaches and the friendly restaurants.


Two years ago we experienced a 2-day thunderstorm which caused a great deal of damage to the island's infrastucture. We were keen to return to our favourite Greek island to see how it had recovered from the storms. We found the website for 39steps which looked ideal for us as it was not too far from harbour level as Jean is struggling with a painful hip which is waiting for replacement.


We could not have chosen a better place to stay. The apartment occupied the whole top floor and with its own balcony, was ideal for our purpose. Additionally we shared with another apartment a lovely garden with space to sit at a table in the shade. The owner Sofia was most informative and hospitable. She went out of her way to make our visit the most memorable ever in Skopelos.


One morning we rose early to accompany Sofia on a visit to a monastery called Ag. Moni. On the way we saw fantastic views of the marine park and the nearby island of Alonissos. Unusually the early morning was a little cloudy, producing great skyscapes as well.


Sofia took us inside the monastery where we viewed the beautiful church and the Mother Superior invited us to have coffee and fresh figs, plums as well as bakery items. An unbelievable experience - we had to pinch ourselves as it seemed unreal.


Sofia then took us to visit a small country church called Profitis Ilias.


On another occasion Sofia took us to visit a farm which grows the small plums which are special to Skopelos.We saw the process whereby the plums are dried and pressed by the family members to make the special Skopelos prunes.


We were also invited to a vigil at a monastery church in Skopelos town which Sofia and her friends are involved in their project to restore from dilapidation.


Sofia was an endless source of local information and told us what was going on locally including an international traditional dance festival, which gathered on their first evening and processed along from the new port to the old port in wonderful national costumes.


Thanks to our wonderful host we have seen much more of the island life than the usual holiday maker ever does.


John and Jean



Kaldermimi path to Prophet Ellas church (with John and Jean walking down)
Kaldermimi path to Prophet Ellas church (with John and Jean walking down)
Nikos, head of the family, testing the plum drying process
Nikos, head of the family, testing the plum drying process
Magda, Nikos' wife sorting plums - Jean looking on
Magda, Nikos' wife sorting plums - Jean looking on
The extended family at work
The extended family at work

By Sofia, Dec 5 2017 07:16PM

Long, hot summers and low rainfall can result in destructive fires, so tightly regulated and firmly enforced fire restrictions on Skopelos are crucial.


The annual lifting of the fire ban during the olive harvest comes at the time olive trees are pruned. In pruning, the olive wood is separated into cut wood for heating fuel and leafy branches which are fed to the livestock.


Properly cured olive wood makes the best heating fuel as there is no waste. The logs disintegrate into fine white ash and there is very little invasive smoke to annoy the neighbours.


An additional bonus is the exotic smokey aroma drifting in the air.



Clearing the waste which is such a fire risk in hot summers
Clearing the waste which is such a fire risk in hot summers
Smoke trailing over Skopelos valley
Smoke trailing over Skopelos valley
Olive trees heavily pruned with good firewood seperated from waste
Olive trees heavily pruned with good firewood seperated from waste

By Sofia, Nov 28 2017 07:42PM

Ancient legend of Skopelos reveals that the site of the new olive press is not insignificant.


The toponomy of the area is Drakondoschisma, which in translation is “dragons chasm”. The legend runs in parallel with that of St. George slaying the Dragon and I am not sure which comes first. I suppose the Greek version might be older...


Walking through the forest towards the dramatic coast, past the goat station you come to the head of the chasm where the Patron Saint of Skopelos, Ag. Reginos, did away with an evil dragon who caused pain to the islanders.


This dragon called for young sacrificial offerings, to stave his appetite for power. The Saint took the place of one of the victims and chased the beast from what is now Elios to this cliff, where he caused it to fall into the waves of the Aegean causing the cliff to split.


A small, walled shrine at the head of the schism commemorates the event. Each time I visit the spot I seek out of the icons on old wall painting which depicts the happening. This painting shows the saint holding high a cross with his disciples behind him, opposing the dragon, driving the beast to the sea.

Chasm with the shrine (right)
Chasm with the shrine (right)
The goat station at approach of the chasm
The goat station at approach of the chasm
Wall painting in shrine of Ag. Reginos purging dragon into the sea
Wall painting in shrine of Ag. Reginos purging dragon into the sea
The view to the sea from top of the cliff in front of the shrine
The view to the sea from top of the cliff in front of the shrine
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I'm Sofia, 39 Steps' owner and host. This is an occasional blog to keep in touch with my regular guests, give a taste of Skopeliti life and share my experiences of foraging through the summer season

 

Sofia

 

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