Monday, October 31, 2016


The weather changed dramatically this morning. On our way to Jazzmin it started to rain and continued with rain and high winds until around 6pm. Whew! The temperature dropped and we shivered for most of the day.

A few minutes after arriving at Jazzmin the power went out and kept blinking on and off throughout the morning. Fortunately Theo has a small gas camp stove and was able to prepare coffee and tea for us at the bar and cook eggs in the kitchen on the gas stove.

Delicious breakfast of local eggs and tomatoes, capers and olives.
The small red peppers had quite a bite!

Later in the day we both climbed into bed to get warm before John made his visit to the gym. There is no heating in the apartment. The winds tomorrow are forecast to be even stronger than they were today so we are happy that we're not on the sea tomorrow. Mata gave me a jacket for the Balkan trip and I was very happy to wear it tonight...along with two shirts, leotards and socks! Yikes!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Time change

It was a beautiful day yesterday...warm, sunny, summery! We arrived for lunch on the terrace at Jazzmin and wondered why Theo wasn't in the kitchen preparing food. He brought us drinks and we sat in the sun...telling stories and laughing while my stomach rumbled in hunger. Finally he turned to me and asked what the time was...explaining that the clocks were turned back last night! We had no idea!

One of the cats that wants to live with us.
She is trying to decide whether to attempt the jump into our bedroom window!

The writing group met at Elena's last night with two visiting teachers included. The teacher from France was interested in participating and was very clever with words. After writing we joined them for a glass of wine at Jazzmin and they both shared some stories about the schools where they teach and the problems that teachers in both Greece and France are facing. At his school in France the students and staff have been trained in procedures to follow during a terrorist attack. It is prohibited to touch a student. In Greece the teachers face other problems with lack of discipline and behavioural issues.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Bream, generosity and flights

This morning I chopped the veggies for a large Bream (veggies baked in the oven with curry, coriander, cumin, cardamon and whatever else Mata threw into the pan). Later we took a walk while the veggies baked. Along the pathway we were stopped by a villager who called us over to her house and gave us warm, freshly cooked zucchini balls! Delicious! They are a mixture of zucchini, onion and herbs in a batter that is fried in small oval shapes.

While I was chopping veggies John was defeating our new island Doctor in a round of tavli (backgammon). There was much laughter and many exclamations as Alkis went down in defeat!

We also booked our next flight to London in April...the other portion to Athens will be booked this afternoon. The price was too good to resist...with Westjet to Calgary and then Finnair to London. So, we will celebrate Easter and a special Baptism on Amorgos next spring.

The Bream was delicious as 10 diners shared a late lunch, seated outside in the sun and wind. Tassos and Matina, from Naxos,  joined the group and shared many festival stories. At 3:45pm we slipped away for afternoon naps and serious writing. There is another movie tonight ...Kon Tiki...that dredges up memories from Grade 6 when I worked my way through the book in endless boredom. So, we will not join the group for the movie and after-party in Langada. The night drive is fraught with the dangers of goats sleeping on the road and after a couple of drinks my reactions could be impaired.

Dip made with red peppers, feta, ginger, honey and yogurt

Today's lunch group

Before we settled down for John's nap and my writing session there was a knock on the door. A neighbour presented us with two freshly made cheese pies! What is happening today?!! We are so grateful for these welcoming gestures!

The day ended on a different note with a message to say that Air Canada had changed the itinerary of our return trip to Canada. Apparently the Athens to Zurich portion has been eliminated! We have been offered an alternative routing through Frankfurt which (I guess) we will accept. Unfortunately we had pre-selected seats on the London to Vancouver flight so, if we accept this option, we might be stuck in whatever empty seats are available!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Bill payments!!

We missed the OXI Day procession and speeches this morning but the rest of the day seemed to be normal for everyone on the island. Even though it is a national holiday, the shops and tavernas were all open.

I spent several hours this morning trying to find a good price for our next trip to Greece in April. With a fuzzy head from hours on the computer I should have known better than to attempt bill payments online. It wasn't until two payments to MBNA credit cards were complete that I realised there was a mistake...$1100 to the wrong account! Not only as it made to the wrong was made to an old account that we don't even have cards for anymore! OMG! What could I do???? I immediately sent an email to our credit union asking if the transaction could be reversed. Of course it was 4:00am in B.C. so I had to wait several hours for a response. The responding email finally arrived...and YES, they could reverse the payment...for a small service charge. Whew!!! I will check again in the morning.

The other glitch to our day was an email that seemed to suggest that we were not booked on a flight out of Athens on November 29th! I have sent another query about that potential problem and hope to have good news tomorrow.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Dinner and more writing before OXI Day

Wednesday was my turn to cook dinner again at Jazzmin...the second time in one month! I am feeling very cooking, no cleaning, no laundry! Yikes. There were only six of us sharing the meal and everyone seemed satisfied with the combination of dishes...frittata (with spinach, peppers, onion & cheese), broccoli salad (with red onion, blue cheese, cranberries & honey mustard dressing) and Roe's eggplant (stewed eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, onions flavoured with curry & cumin). I decided not to attempt a dessert!!

Bouganvillea blossoms blown from the branches

North winds continue to buffet our perch in Chora. Last night was the first time that I decided to search for a second blanket in the middle of the night. Hot porridge is tasting perfect on these cooler mornings.

Last night our writing group gathered at Kalliroi's to share our written words and political views over a meal of lentil/sausage soup, tomato/caper salad and raki. The suggestion to move our meetings into our homes and out of the noisy venues of cafes has worked well. On Sunday we will meet at Elena's and Theo will document our readings to send to Arlene, "our Vancouver prompter".

October 28th is OXI Day, a National holiday in Greece. It commemorates the anniversary when PM Metaxis said "NO" to an ultimatum from Mussolini in 1940 to allow Italian forces to occupy strategic locations in Greece or face war. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A long walk and fresh squid

Yesterday morning was consumed with a successful search for accommodations in Skopje, Nis and Novi Sad. Theo and I made the choices and booked rooms for one night in each location at the start of our Balkan adventures. After those three nights we will join the others in Belgrade before six of us journey to Sarajevo.

The relentless winds continue to buffet us but the sun is still shining and the winds are not cold so this morning we decided to go for a long walk to test our resilience. Whew!! We dragged ourselves into Mino's Taverna in Katapola after 1 1/2 hours and gorged ourselves on taramasalata(fish egg pate), horiatiki(Greek salad) with mizithra(fresh, soft goat cheese) and fresh calamari(squid) as well as a kilo of water. It was so good!
Some images along the way:

Now it is nap time because we are driving north tonight
for a late group dinner in Tholaria at Kali Kardia.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Swim, write, film, eat

It was a sunny, hot, summer day on October 23rd!! I went for a swim earlier today and was surprised to see about 15 tourists on "my" beach!! There must be a school break in France because it was like being on the French Riviera...not my ideal situation but I did enjoy two swims in the crystal clear water. Apparently one of the visitors forgot to apply the hand brake on his rental car and it almost crashed into the other parked vehicles. A young French couple stopped the car and put rocks in front of all four wheels. John left a note to tell them about the incident.

The writing group met tonight at "Big Theo's" to share raki, mezes and stories. Natasha, Theo's room mate joined us for the first time. Anna sent her writing electronically. We gathered in an old house up by the windmills for laughter, tears and mutual admiration.

Afterward we reassembled for another movie "Theeb" about Bedouins in Jordan. It was a very engaging story about a young Bedouin who is transformed to manhood during an adventurous ordeal.
All of the nomadic characters were portrayed by non-actors! Beautifully done...except for the hard school chairs that we endured again is a Chora classroom!!

Finally we headed to Parvas for food at 9:45pm where we found Nicky and her daughters in the kitchen while the village men watched football in the eating area.

Nicky with her girls:
Elpitha, Sophia, Nicky & Anna

Elpitha's cheese pies...ready for the oven!

We shared a dinner of kefthedis (meatballs), fried potatoes and cabbage salad while watching the football game with the men. Apparently it isn't illegal to light flares in the stands that create billowing smoke on the field and cause delays in the play! There were times when the TV screen seemed to be blank because of the smokey air!! It finally ended in a cloud of smoke just as we were ready to leave.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Swim and a movie

It was another calm, warm day on the island. After a late lunch of pesto pasta and cabbage salad, prepared by Theo, I hauled my overfed body down to the sea. Unfortunately the sun was almost ready to slide behind the hills so I slipped into the water and returned to shore in time for a short rest in the sun. It was short but sweet!

In the evening we drove down to Katapola for a showing of "Lachto Drom", a film about the lives and music of gypsies. It was filmed in several countries from India through Europe.

The movie was projected onto a wall in Katapola's elementary school. The audience was split with about 15 students and 20 adults in attendance. The sub-titles didn't work very well but the feeling of the film was strong enough to carry us through. What an eye-opener to parts of the gypsy world... and the music was amazing!

Images from today's wanderings

Locked out...

...and locked in!

A calm day

The winds from the north calmed down yesterday so I decided that it was time for another swim at Agia Anna. The water was crystal clear and I was alone for the first hour...heaven! Then two couples arrived in a cloud of cologne. They continued to have loud conversations across the rocks and in the sea. It was time to leave!

Because we were late getting to John's gym we missed the opportunity to watch a movie last night in Vroutsi. The film "Human" by Yann Arthus-Bertrand was being shown in the small theatre.

View of Katapola from Xylokeratidi

Instead we sipped a glass of wine in the harbour before sharing dinner at Leonidas in Chora.
This restaurant was opened one week ago by Iliana and Marcos, a local young couple who are
serving innovative dishes as well as traditional dishes. We wish them good luck!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Evening bartender

Theodoros is now the evening bartender at Jazzmin.
His wonderful mother will be hosting us 
during our three night visit to his home city of Thessaloniki.

Another worm

Another unusual creature!

Elephants, spooning, dancing & watering

OMG! Elephants on our bed!!!

Angie at Jazzmin

Last night we had a "spooning" contest as a farewell to Rahel (Raqile)

I participated in the competition...

...but Mata was the definite champion, managing to capture the spoon
from her nose with her tongue, turn it in her mouth
and return it to her nose!!! Bravo!

With a DJ in charge of music, John couldn't resist
and took to the dance floor with Kallyroi.

It was a very late night for our group of spooners and dancers!!

This morning I returned to Jehane and Molly's old house in Kolofana
with Mata and Trefonus to water the garden for the new tenant.

With a single hose, low water pressure and three watering cans
we managed to keep about 50 planted pots and two plots of veggies & herbs alive!
At least we gave it our best attempt for 1 1/2 hours. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Wind, worm and goat!

Winds from the north have affected outdoor activities...even thought the sun continues to shine. If you can find shelter, it still feels summery! The Skopelitis, a smaller ferry that serves the Cycladic islands between Amorgos and Naxos, cancelled its sailing today because of high winds.

There are still creatures surviving in the gardens
despite such a long period of dry weather.

This is similar to a Tobacco horn worm...
transformed into a huge butterfly.

Tonight we are being treated to an Asian goat dish prepared by Raquile.
OMG...delicious...and the liver was amazing!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Langada and a wedding

Today I met with Meriam, a Dutch artist from Germany, and took her to the villages in the north of the island. We started in Langada at the tiniest church on the island.

Meriam entering the tiny church.

Meriam standing inside...she is my height!

From Langada we climbed up to Panagia Epanochoriani.

Inside the church there were many gifts hanging below the icons...

...and a very poor repair of an ancient painting!

We arrived back in Chora just in time to see the wedding procession gather.

These girls led the procession after the musicians.

Apparently Greeks have "shotgun" weddings too!!

Grandma watching as the bride leaves the house.

The musicians led the bride and her father
followed by many wedding guests through the village to the church.

The ceremony lasted 1 1/4 hours before the church bells were rung.
A perfect day for a wedding!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Another day

It was a small group for dinner last night...only 10 people. The dinner was a success and I was forced to share the dessert between about 16 people. It was the easiest apple crumble that I have ever made! Rachile was an invaluable assistant in the kitchen. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos in the busyness of meal prep and eating!!

Village bougainvillaea is still in summer mode.
The wind howled all day!

Tonight we drove to Arkesini to see the movie "The Life of Pi" and drove all the way back without seeing it because we couldn't stand the idea of sitting on school chairs in the local school for over 2 hours! Later we joined friends at the bar and I found myself wondering if we knew a couple that was sitting in the corner. Finally, as we were leaving, I asked the woman if we had met. She wrapped me in a huge hug and reminded me that we made Easter soup together 9 years ago. Since then she has became an accomplished artist in the San Francisco area. Wow!!! We will meet again tomorrow night for the "Full Moon" disco celebration.

Tomorrow I am taking a visiting artist from Holland on a guided tour of the north. We will visit Lanagada and Tholaria before returning to Chora in time for the wedding.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Wedding party, socks and cabbage rolls

There is a huge wedding this weekend in Chora. "THE BED" is being prepared next door to our building. Floating fabric and flowers decorate the entrance. Visitors came last night to leave gifts of money and to party into the wee hours! We were awake off and on all night! It was so much better to hear traditional music without electrical amplification in the past! The wedding itself is on Sunday and everyone on the island is invited. Pasteli (honey sesame bars) has been made...3500 pieces using 90 kilos of honey and 90 kilos of sesame seeds!!!!!

John went to the local gym last night...his first gym visit in three weeks and he is paying for it. The reward was to sit with a glass of wine and watch another beautiful sunset.

Driving back to Chora we decided that a salad dinner at Parvas would be a perfect meal.

There are photo tributes to the original owner on the wall
and the current owners continue with his tradition of making
fried potatoes from frozen fries here.

After a sleepless night we visited Jazzmin for our morning coffee.

I am almost ready to start turning the heel on my new socks!

It is finally my turn to cook at Jazzmin tonight so I have boiled the cabbage and cooked the rice for cabbage rolls. After my nap I will roll them up and place them in a large pan to be transported to the bar. Rachile will help me in the kitchen around 7:00pm to prepare the rest of the dinner...rosemary baby potatoes, a medley of carrots & sweet potatoes and an apple cobbler. Once again the number of diners is a mystery...anywhere from 10-20!...hoping to eat around 8:30pm. Hah!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Squash and writing

Yesterday was a windy day so the idea of swimming was removed from the schedule. A lot of time was spent online searching for accommodation in Novi Sad for six people after confirming reservations for twelve people in Belgrade. Whew!!

In the afternoon Kalliroi and I visited Nondas Organic Garden to check out the fresh produce. 
It is the season for squash of every variety.

Later we spent the afternoon on our writing exercises for last night's meeting. In the evening we met for drinks, writing and dinner at Fotodotis. Once again the writing group amazed ourselves with clever poems and prose. Such fun!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Clouds descend on Chora

It was a cloudy morning so we decided to escape from Chora and drive downhill to sunny Katapola for a walk. The temperature difference was very noticeable as we shed our jackets and enjoyed strolling along the water.

Karamel, a small seaside restaurant, is still open in October.
Many of the other restaurants and cafes have already closed.

Back in Chora we shared time with Lucas.

The plans for our Balkan trip are slowly coming together. There will now be 12 people in Belgrade coming together from different directions to share accommodations for two nights before half of the group continues to travel and the other half returns to Istanbul and Athens.

Later in the day the weather finally took a turn away from sunny days. It is still warm because the wind is coming from the south, very strongly, bringing clouds and a few drops of rain...not enough to make a difference to this parched island.

Clouds descend on Chora's windmills...

...until they almost disappear...

...and then they are gone!
We will be walking in soup tonight 
as we navigate to the cafe.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Spooning and chanting and another swim

Everyone is asking the same question - "How much longer can this gorgeous weather continue?"

This morning Big Theo was filming in Chora for a new video.
Before the filming began three of the cast members practiced their "spooning" techniques.

Sandra, Inge and Rachile prepare to spoon.


The group was filmed on a nearby rooftop while chanting.

Big Theo and Rachile harmonise while chanting 
a Greek version of "Don't break my balls today".

Down the path to Agia Anna beach for another swim.

Sunset through the sheers!