SKopelos

By Sofia, Sep 19 2017 05:24PM

Guest blog by Sappho Lauder and Simon Elton


Looking back on our time on Skopelos, what has struck us most is the warmth and generosity of the locals who have welcomed us with open arms. There's Sofie who has given up her time to show us some of the hidden secrets of the island


Our host, Elena, has given us delicious pots of homemade orange marmalade and plum jam, as well as an abundance of fruit and vegetables from her garden, and fresh eggs "για το μωρό", from the farmer next door.


Filios, from the incredible Rosemary cafe, always has time to stop and chat to us - and squeeze Raphael's cheeks - while his mother cooks up a storm in kitchen, including some of the best pies on the island!


Florian from the amazing Linarakia taverna in Panormos remembered us from when we got married on Skopelos two years ago and was so excited to see us return with our son! He always ensures there's a table for us, and goes out of his way to try and secure us sun beds in the shade.


Even the bakery, fruit and veg shop and butchers in town have made us feel incredibly welcome, and at home, by offering Raphael free bananas, knowing our regular coffee orders and helping out with our Greek when we get stuck!


We hope that when (because it will be a "when") we return to Skopelos we get to know even more of this beautiful island and the people who live, work and call Skopelos their home.


A family portrait
A family portrait
A view across Skopelos towards Alonissos
A view across Skopelos towards Alonissos
Elena's fresh vegetables
Elena's fresh vegetables
Simon and Raphael under the arch of Livadiotissa monastery
Simon and Raphael under the arch of Livadiotissa monastery

By Sofia, Sep 10 2017 01:42PM

From the time Oregano is harvested to the final stage of processing to make it ready for use in the kitchen some months have gone by. The harvest begins in June, after the herb has just flowered. I prefer mine later in the summer, when it has soaked up the sun and the heat of the summer.



Oregano and other herbs growing freely in the mountains
Oregano and other herbs growing freely in the mountains
Gathered and loaded into the boot for drying
Gathered and loaded into the boot for drying
Orgeno foraged and drying in the shade
Orgeno foraged and drying in the shade
Oregano final stage processing
Oregano final stage processing

By Sofia, Sep 1 2017 08:45PM

Skopelos is a green island abundant with beautiful wild flowers in the spring months, especially the month of May. August, the last month of the summer, is a month when fruit ripens, herbs are dried and preparations are made for the coming harvest of almonds and olives. Flowers, as we are accustomed to see them in Spring, become hard to find.


I was asked if I would take on a wild flower assignment for a wedding at the end of August. It was the challenge of it that made me accept the offer. In the past I have done late summer arrangements but only on small scale. This was to be for a formal event.


I looked closely at what was flowering or ripening which could be used for the arrangements. Nature is generous and has beautiful shapes and shades of colours in stock, albeit not all suitable for my purpose! I settled for myrtle boughs complete with berries, sage boughs, monks pepper blooms, flowering samphire, wild carrot blooms, flowering fennel, peppermint and sea lavender. My lucky find was a black pomegranate which made my arrangements complete, as it symbolises fertility and abundance as well as being attractive in appearance.


For more information on the wild flowers of Skopelos see Sue Warren,s blog


wildflowersofskopelos.org.uk/



Holly and Lee
Holly and Lee
My friend Helen, helpng (she is good on details!)
My friend Helen, helpng (she is good on details!)
Me preparing table bouquets at 39 Steps
Me preparing table bouquets at 39 Steps
Some of the wild flower sets
Some of the wild flower sets
Black pomegranate nesting in samphire and sea lavender blooms
Black pomegranate nesting in samphire and sea lavender blooms
Monks pepper bloom settings
Monks pepper bloom settings
The table settings
The table settings
The wedding in full swing
The wedding in full swing

By Sofia, Aug 19 2017 06:59PM

Around festivals such as 15 August, Easter, Christmas and other major religious holidays, I whitewash the steps leading to the front entrance of 39steps and to the rear courtyard.


On these days I can be sure that my neighbours at the top lane will not allow water to cascade down the steps and spoil my work.


They wash the street and water the potted plants in front of their house well ahead of my work, which then allows the whitewashed steps to dazzle, keeping our neighbourhood attractive


Skopelos Old Town neighbourhood spirit...!


Whitewashing the steps for 15th August
Whitewashing the steps for 15th August
Steps brilldazzling white
Steps brilldazzling white
All whitewashed...
All whitewashed...

By Sofia, Aug 11 2017 06:20PM

Guest blog by Sappho Lauder and Simon Elton


Two years ago we got married on Skopelos at the stunning Livadhiotissa monastery, and stayed with Sofie at 39 Steps. It was a fantastic holiday and reaffirmed our love of the island. This year we have returned to Skopelos to stay for the whole of August...with a new addition: 6-month-old Raphael.


Blithely we thought travelling with a baby would still allow us the same kind of holiday we were used to: lazy mornings, followed by hours spent on the beach and late dinners in town. Unsurprisingly, Raphael has a completely different schedule to the above (like waking up for the day at 5.30am and going to bed at 8pm) so we've had to adapt our holiday somewhat! Luckily, Sofie has taken us under her wing and opened our eyes to a whole host of hidden delights the island has to offer-exposing us (and Raphael!) to a much calmer side to Skopelos.


So far we have visited Ag. Moni monastery with stunning views over Alonnisos and the two brothers' islands; dipped our toes in the crystal clear waters at Glisteri beach; had a beautiful early morning walk up to the Sendoukia graves where, on a clear day, you can see across to Agios Oros; introduced Raph to some goats (he kept giggling at them!) and watched how islanders are re-establishing bygone farming methods of drying and massaging plums into prunes.


So, although we're not getting as much beach time as we did in the past, thanks to Sofie - and her expert knowledge of Skopelos - we've seen far more of the island these past few days than we have in our previous five visits, and Raphael is being exposed to so much culture, nature and history.


Simon, Sappho and Raphael at Glisteri beach
Simon, Sappho and Raphael at Glisteri beach
The family at Dhimenika
The family at Dhimenika
At Sendoukia
At Sendoukia
Baby Raphael
Baby Raphael
Sappho and Simon wedded on Skopelos several years ago
Sappho and Simon wedded on Skopelos several years ago
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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

 

Sofia's 39 Steps Forage Blog

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