SKopelos

By Sofia, Aug 11 2019 06:46PM

In this hot mid summer, the heatwaves have driven many of us indoors, except the confirmed sun worshipers! When my friend Chrisoula asked, if, by unlikely chance, there was still oregano to be foraged in nature, I assured her that I could probably manage. It is now two months past its foraging season, but knowing the terrain helps.


An early start was essential, at 5.45 am latest, in other words at the birth of the day.........and it so happened that it was my Birthday! The Day and I celebrated together. Where else but in the cool woods of Skopelos, foraging oregano?


Here the progress of the rising sun from its slumber.


... at the Kastro parking
... at the Kastro parking
... high above town before entering the woods
... high above town before entering the woods
... further along
... further along
... there! But upon return
... there! But upon return

By Sofia, Aug 7 2019 06:01PM

Skopelos is generally famed for its green terrain, its azure sky, and the ever-changing blue sea washing over a rocky coastline lined with friendly beaches.


Notably, this summer, the verdant green of the pastures dominates the scene. The terrain could be one of the lush green spots elsewhere in Europe, but for the unmistakable silver green sea of the olive trees over the green pastures.


Unmistakably Greek and Skopeliti are the proud islanders with their welcoming smiles and greetings for the visitors they come across, during the time of their day to day chores. As ever, standing out among them in the countryside is the character of Vangelis Maganas, the King forager of the island, famous for the care of his livestock. In spite of the abundance of freely available fodder, Vangelis takes extra care to forage succulent fodder for his milkers during milking time.




Vangelis Maganas, champion forager
Vangelis Maganas, champion forager
Vangelis on a foraging trip
Vangelis on a foraging trip
Pastures (green and pleasant) in one of Skopelos' valleys
Pastures (green and pleasant) in one of Skopelos' valleys

By Sofia, Jul 22 2019 07:34PM

Life on earth would quickly come to an end without the sun. The light it brings (the quality of which is one of the great attractions of the Greek islands, attracting keen photographers from across the world) has always played a stable, central role in everything alive.


To start with, in abstract, the well known biblical saying "Let there be light" gradually led mankind to the years of "enlightenment" from the dark ages of the medieval times. The Church continues to use light - stained glaass, candles - as reflections of its beliefs. Ancient cultures used light for healing, meanwhile sunbathing (ηλιοθεραπεία) has been proved - at the right levels - to be beneficial for rehabilitation from many ailments.


Before the rays reach their full power - and long before the first 'sun worshipers' head to Skopelos' beaches - the sights of Skopelos' coastlines awakening to a rising sun, bring great joy on early morning strolls. These strolls are my very own sort of 'sun worship'!


Sunrise over Alonisos (to the East) as seen from Skopelos Old Town
Sunrise over Alonisos (to the East) as seen from Skopelos Old Town
Light and life in the church
Light and life in the church

By Sofia, Jul 16 2019 06:42PM

In the heatwave months of July/August, fires of negligence are what we normally look out for. Error from human impulsiveness, sad to say, is unpredictable and the damages can be vast. However nowadays global warming and climate change sometimes bring unexpected phenomena, at unexpected times, with unpredictable weather changes.


The recently forecast cyclone with massive rain downpour caused damage and human lives in the most popular Greek tourist resort of Chalkidike. Familiar to very occasional weather calamities, we sympathise with the Chalkidiceans!


However the samey cyclone proved beneficial for Skopelos. It brought relief as the rain cooled fauna and flora, and cleaned the air and terrain. Bizarrely, it also assisted in the completion of major roadworks at the Kastro parking, saving weeks of labour and resources. Overnight, the rain and streams of running water tempered and compacted the three metre deep loose aggregate and soil, thus priming the area for the final stages! With metal screed laid on top, the concrete layer was poured and the parking area is now ready to use. The final stage of the asphalt layer will have to wait until September, when the season ends.


Good teamwork of man and nature!


The long-awaited downpour
The long-awaited downpour
Alleyways turn to waterfalls and rivers
Alleyways turn to waterfalls and rivers
Close up of a temporary waterfall down the steps of the old town
Close up of a temporary waterfall down the steps of the old town
Kastro parking, completed by man and nature!
Kastro parking, completed by man and nature!
Local mallard ducks have no complaints about the downpour
Local mallard ducks have no complaints about the downpour

By Sofia, Jul 10 2019 09:01PM

Entertainment on Skopelos is rich all year round. The spiritual ensemble of orthodoxy is such that a shift from one religious event to another carries unique singularities, festivals and traditions, and so we pass the winter, out of season months. For the studious there are the subsidized by the EU courses, such as study of byzantine song and more.


Summer is time when the island is teeming with visitors from all over the world. Our short term residents return to their summer homes, the seasonal tavernas open, the islands isolated beaches and waterfront fill. It is time when extra facilities are needed to entertain visitors and islanders alike. Talented members of our community undertake performance of traditional Greek music and dance, summer art courses, film, photography, walks, and more. We are fortunate with our short term residents who contribute cultural variety for the cultural benediction of islanders and visitors who come, in expectation of a dream break dreamt of in the cold winter months in their country.


The Orpheus community cultural centre,was established in the 20's of the last century during the interwar years. Here news reels, films and more have been shown and even nowadays the building and its outdoor space continues to serve the community summer and winter.


The early start, for some years now, is with the brilliant Scandinavian Pink and White choir. Their charismatic conductor manages to orchestrate his choir and audience alike with Abba and Mama Mia songs achieving not merely songs but Pilate exercises and head stands from them, all in good fun and variate! More serious was the two night dual concert of Rod Liffe held in the Livadhiotisa monastery and Orpheus. Well accomplished performance! There are more events programmed during the summer, all for the well being of residents and visitors and performers alike.


Concert 2019 at the Orpheus
Concert 2019 at the Orpheus
Orpheus cultural centre door
Orpheus cultural centre door
Rod Liffe's double concert poster
Rod Liffe's double concert poster
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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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