SKopelos

By Sofia, Jun 21 2018 07:32PM

Waiting to greet or say farewell to visitors, I frequently watch the efficient manoeuvre of vehicles and passengers embarking and disembarking ferries at Skopelos harbour. However I never chanced to observe it attentively on neighbouring Skiathos island. When in Skiathos I am usually in a rush on my way to Skopelos or making my way to the airport.


In the summer months, Skiathos airport, and thus the port, is one of our major direct connections to European cities other than Athens.


It becomes an international airport, bringing visitors to the Sporades islands from world wide.


Skiathos Old Town and port, as seen from the ferry
Skiathos Old Town and port, as seen from the ferry
Passengers embarking for Skopelos and Alononissos
Passengers embarking for Skopelos and Alononissos
The giant Hellenic Seaways Ferry at Skiathos Port
The giant Hellenic Seaways Ferry at Skiathos Port
The Hellenix Ferry docking at Skopelos (old Town up the hill)
The Hellenix Ferry docking at Skopelos (old Town up the hill)

By Sofia, Jun 12 2018 07:56PM

For more years than I can remember, at the T-junction with the shrine just outside Skopelos Town (where the road divides for the coast and inland) has stood an especially strange, characterful and - one would have to say - remarkably resilient building (see picture).


It was clearly put together in the old days, when town planning was not a concept known to the Greek islands, and I have always thought it a miracle that it has escaped not only the attention of increasingly vigorous local planning inspectors, but also destruction from winter floods and snow which have damaged far more modern buildings along that road in recent years.

Being a keen forager myself, I have always admired the tremendous care with which this makeshift structure has been put together. Absolutely ALL material is foraged or recycled, with the exception maybe of the smart metal railing of later era.


Note that the walls have been fashioned out of flattened petrol drums, and the lids of the drums have been nailed up in neat fish scale pattern. This suggests the building probably dates from times when fuel in Skopelos was delivered in drums, before petrol station days, when vehicles were filled direct from the drums. It is obvious that the doors and windows of the creation have been recycled too.


It may not be to everyone's taste but - full of character, ingenuity and, above all, resilience - I admire it! Perhaps I should press for it to be awarded a listed building status!


By Sofia, Jun 3 2018 07:17PM

A stop-over in Athens is, of course, a great idea for culture-keen visitors en route to Skopelos (especially with the establishment of the latest low-cost Athens to Skopelos route - see previous blog).

However there is so much more to the city than the grand tourist attractions. Behind the screen of tourism, there is the life of Athens of the Greeks.


On my recent trip, I headed away from the commercial centre of Syntagma square and the Plaka, to the last stretch of Ermou. This area is an extension of the fanous flea market, but much more engaging and characterful. Collectibles, eclectic second-hand clothes, one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture, plus much more are displayed and sold here.


You can discover a wide array of interesting paraphernalia, from simple potato-peelers to intricate hand-crafted jewellery. If you start a conversation with a vendor - or one of the cronies who keep them company - you'll find that Greeks love to share their stories and most of these people certainly have interesting stories to tell!


Meandering through the narrow pathways and crowded streets of the central market you might easily forget that you are in Athens, until that is, you look up and see the Acropolis above, majestic and supreme.


Sofe's Top Athens Travel Tips!


1. If possible, visit the new Acropolis Museum, which rates amongst the 25 best museums in the world.

2. Arrange to go on one of the historical walks on a given subject. These are organised and guided by intelligent, informed and entertaining young Athenians students and other professionals.



A fabulous fish-market
A fabulous fish-market
An Athenian street vendor, with cronies!
An Athenian street vendor, with cronies!
A Romany vendor, working the streets of Athens
A Romany vendor, working the streets of Athens
A student-led Athens history walk (firmly recommended)
A student-led Athens history walk (firmly recommended)

By Sofia, May 31 2018 06:49PM

I recently took a trip to Athens using a new ferry and coach route which enables you, remarkably, to make the whole journey from Skopelos (or back from Athens) in only 4 hours!


The key to the shortened journey time is that the ferry departs from (less fashionable) Medouthi on the east side of Evia, rather than (more fashionable) Volos to the north. Its a much more direct route as the crow flies...


Whilst the route has been operating for three years, it is only this year that it has properly taken off as independent travellers and travel companies realised the full potential of it.


From central Athens, a coach takes travellers through some of Greece's most beautiful unspolit countryside to the north-east of Athens, over a bridge onto Evia and on to Medouthi. From there it is on, by ferry, to Glossa on the north side of Skopelos island. The final part of the same deal is a connecting coach from Glossa port down the West coast of the island and to Skopelos Town.


Why Glossa and not Skopelos Town? Well, Glossa is on the Evia side of the island (although I noted that the captain of the ferry, who masterminded the route, is from Glossa, so perhaps is loyalties lie there!)


The packaged route is a low budget dream route in all respects, taking you through historical, beautiful unexplored parts of Greece. It is much cheaper and (I would say) more interesting than the Athens flight to and from neighbouring Skiathos island.


I certainly enjoyed the experience and mean to keep repeating it.


(Pictures of little known - but very interesting - Medouthi below...)


By Sofia, May 26 2018 09:26AM

As well as for its beaches, Skopelos is known for its beautiful interior. Many visitors come to the island to enjoy walking the many tiny paths and tracks criss-crossing the centre of the island.


A short drive from 39 Steps in the direction of Sendoukia will take you to the country chapel of Ag. Reginos.


Here, a path in the woods by the chapel twists through the hills of central Skopelos, revealing - in the morning - a myriad of scents, sights, colours and other wonders as you track through woods, pine forests, olive groves, hillsides and valleys.


Eventually coming down on the West coast of the island, walkers have the opportunity to enjoy a picnic breakfast on the beach of Elios, surrounded by magnificent views of the green forest at rear and the sea with islands ahead.


A 'kalimera' for sure!



Morning sun breaks into the valley
Morning sun breaks into the valley
The early morning heat haze
The early morning heat haze
Olive grove and goats
Olive grove and goats
A family of goats in a grove
A family of goats in a grove
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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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