SKopelos

By Sofia, Nov 24 2019 10:53AM

Skopelos' Old Olive Mill, with its outbuildings and outdoor space, is a lively and popular location for people of all ages and nationalities to meet and share time in beautiful surroundings with friends while they sip coffee or drinks and discuss local politics or social events.


It was not always like this. When the Old Olive Mill (together with the Orpheus Cinema) was first built in the 1920's by the agricultural cooperative of the island as an olive oil mill, it was was a proud working community centerpiece. At that time, the location was on the edge of Skopelos Town but the growing town, together with relocation of the port and other important administrative buildings since then, has given the Old Oil Mill its new social role in the centre of the commercial side of the town.


It now provides a stylish and characterful leisure compound of restaurants, pizzeria, cafes, bars and a unique bicycle sporting outfit, unlike the mainly male dominated 'καφενέων' (coffee houses) elsewhere in Greece.


For some, this experience is an inseparable part of modern everyday life; spending time in the company of friends in the Old Olive Mill.


Metting friends - not just for men!
Metting friends - not just for men!
... but it does cater for the traditionalists of the cafeneon
... but it does cater for the traditionalists of the cafeneon
A safe playground for the very young
A safe playground for the very young
Incredibly beautiful....
Incredibly beautiful....

By Sofia, Nov 20 2019 08:48PM

Sunny pleasant days are still with us as we engage in our leisurely winter ways here on Skopelos! The olive harvest is in peak with the mill in Agnondas working a 24 hour rota.


Over the years I've lived on the island, there have been substantial innovations to the harvesting of olives and processing of oil. For a start, the use of human or animal energy to run the wheel of the mill is a welcome OUT! Battery (or petrol) operated harvesting comb, which literally combs down the olives from the branches onto spread sacking - and the grading belt which separates waste from fruit, leaving the berries to be bagged, weighed and processed into oil - make harvesting easier and quicker. Nevertheless, it is still welcome to come across old-timers in the countryside, who choose to harvest olives in traditional ways, shaking the fruit down with bamboo rods.


Back on my drive from my hang outs in Panormos, I came across an active centenarian - an old timer - who, having ended his work day harvesting (the traditional way), was making his way to Agnondas to reserve his turn to process his harvest into olive oil; a supply for himself and his family, and maybe enough of a surplus to sell some! Full of admiration, the least I could do was give him a lift to the mill and then to town.


My guess is that He probably would have walked the 15km stretch to Skopelos, had I not turned up at the right moment!


Definitely not on (any more!)
Definitely not on (any more!)
A lift all the way to the new pressing facility
A lift all the way to the new pressing facility
The old timer making his way back to town!
The old timer making his way back to town!

By Sofia, Nov 11 2019 07:57PM

Beautiful sunny days are still with us but there is no doubt that the main season is over. On the ferry that Bernd and Ute left, to catch a plane back to Germany, the last of the excursion coaches are loaded for their mainland storage or winter functions. Yet meanwhile, for keen swimmers, the beaches are empty and the sea still warm.


Regarding our everyday life; olive harvesting has accelerated and the communal oil press is busy in operation, pressing the harvested olives brought in by their owners into high quality olive oil. This is to last them for two years, as on Skopelos the olive trees yield a crop biannually.


Weather forecast shows that our sunny warm days are to stay with us for awhile yet and the brave and culturally open-minded visitors who come to us at this time, if they so wish, can find plenty to occupy them. The locals welcome a helping hand in harvesting and generously give some olive oil in return. With the autumnal weather setting, pot herbs and mushrooms are there to forage - but careful with the mushrooms! Also, Heather Parsons, our volunteer path and track clearance organiser, always welcomes an extra pair of helping hands.


Bernd and Ute make last minute checks
Bernd and Ute make last minute checks
Excursion coaches loaded for mainland
Excursion coaches loaded for mainland
Olive berries ready to be pressed
Olive berries ready to be pressed

By Sofia, Oct 16 2019 07:18PM

As the holiday season draws towards the sunny autumnal days some lucky visitors are in for an extra bonus to their holiday.


The olive harvest, a biannual occurrence, is on its way. This is a time when the olive groves of the island become alive with activity, a time of varied forage and action. Owners of the groves are out clearing the land of shrubs and leaves under the trees, to make the harvesting easier. In the process edible potherbs are found and gathered. Furthermore, after the light autumnal rains the sunny days brought out mushrooms - always an exciting pass-time and a delicacy for the islanders.


It's an exciting time for Bernd and Ute from Germany too! They harvested some green olives, ready to be processed and pickled using a recipe popular on our island, which they will try in their home in Germany. It is early for the oil mill to crush the berries for the olive oil, but it is a busy time nevertheless.


Bernd noting down a Skopelos pickling recipe
Bernd noting down a Skopelos pickling recipe
Pickled olives in brine
Pickled olives in brine
Olive groves cleared of shrubs
Olive groves cleared of shrubs

By Sofia, Sep 28 2019 09:46AM

The season draws to a close and some boat owners, Greek and international, are preparing their boats for dry dock over the winter.


Nowadays, some even choose to dry dock on Skopelos port. This shouldn't be seen as an unusual choice. After all, in years gone by, what is now a car parking place and a beach was a boat building yard, then a main industry of Skopelos island, until steam ships put the industry out of business and to an end.


Meanwhile, the flotilla of leisure sail boats, a familiar sight at the far end of the Skopelos marina, previously the old port, continue to sail strong. These sunny, breezy beautiful days are perfect for their choice of leisure this time of the year!


Boats prepared for dry docking
Boats prepared for dry docking
The sailing flotillas, moored at night, still going strong
The sailing flotillas, moored at night, still going strong
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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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