The stonework is stunningly beautiful. The monastery up in the hills of Skiathos Island has an important place in Greek history. It was here in 1807 that the first modern Greek flag was designed, woven, blessed and raised. It was here that year that Father Niphon swore in the seven guerilla leaders who started the revolution against the Turks after 400 years of occupation. It was here it all started.
We have made our way up to the monastery. A good friend’s children are being baptized today. Some forty relatives and friends gather inside the beautiful stone church. The ceremony starts. The priest holds a mass in Greek, partly singing in a clear voice that bounces against the stone walls. We all stand and listen. The children are being brought to the big baptismal font, made in silver. Not surprisingly, the four year old is not too happy to have oil poured on his head before he is lifted down into the baptismal font. But the uneasiness is soon over. The children are baptized. The atmosphere is beautiful.
Outside, the strong sun shining from a clear blue sky stands as a sharp contrast to the dark lighting inside the church. We all make it down the mountain to a taverna in Skiathos town. A big lunch is waiting for us. Greek starters, an elegant pork main dish and a tasty ice cream cake for dessert. And of course, lots of bread, wine and beer. It is a long lunch. No one is in a hurry. There is a lot to eat and a lot to talk about.
I have had too much to eat and one glass of wine too many to do the garden work I had planned for this afternoon….
The garden can wait until tomorrow…. Avrio…