After the storm, dinner at the top of Skopelos Island

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The weather can change quickly at the Agean Sea. Most of the summer, it is hot and the sun shines from a clear blue sky. But when severe storms approach, the Greek Meteorological Service will send out warnings. These are times when we see the clouds building up, when we take down garden furniture and umbrellas and put aside flower pots that may come crashing down in strong winds.

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A few days ago, we had such a storm. Dark skies, heavy winds, heavy rain, lightening. For hours. For a day and a night. A fall of six degrees in the temperature. These are storms when the poor tourists are forced to stay in their hotel rooms or in the bars. The local people on the islands do not mind the weather. The rain is good for the gardens.
And then, a day later, heavy clouds are fighting a losing battle to clear skies. Finally, the sun is chasing away the clouds and Greek summer is back again, the type of summer that every tourist expects to have here.

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Today, the weather is great again. Neighbours have invited us to their boat and in the late afternoon, we are heading for Skopelos Island. The boat is big, the two strong boat motors take us to the small little harbour of Loutraki in fifteen minutes. We are heading for Glossa, the little town on the top of the mountain. We have prebooked a taxi to the harbour. The taxi driver is not there. As could be expected. We call the taxi driver. Yes, he knows that we are coming. He will pick us up in less than ten minutes. One telephone call and twenty five minutes later, the taxi arrives. The driver skillfully takes us up on the small, curvy road. Finally, he stops and we have to walk another ten minutes to reach Agnanti, the restaurant where we are having our dinner. The view from Agnanti is stunning.

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The food is great. We share everything. Fried calamares. Fried cheese with honey. Vegetables. A few other starters. A Greek lamb dish. A pork dish. Chicken. Bread. White wine. A well tasting dinner!7

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After dinner, we walk down through the small town, not bigger than a village. The path down is more straight than the road we came up on. It is an old stone path, a path for pedestrians and donkeys. It is a beautiful walk, a good exercise. Finally, we get down to the water, resting for a while on a bench before we walk back to the harbour for the return trip to Skiathos Island.

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As we arrive to Sklithri beach, the sun is setting. We anchor the boat and get ashore. We are sitting down for a while at “our” Sklithri Taverna, sipping a glass of wine before we walk up to our houses.

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This was one of those days when the world beyond the horizon does not exist. A day when the world consists of the sea, green islands, friends, good food and wine. A day of total relaxation…

Road to Mont Tremblant

Mountain 1
We drive northeast on 321, leaving Ottawa behind us.

Most big cities in North America look the same. Skyscrapers in the city centers. Streets crossing at 90 degree angles. Traffic lights in every crossing. National monuments. Important buildings. Museums. Office buildings. Lots of taxis. All cities have substitute nature called parks. People come to the parks, bringing coffee in disposable cups from Starbucks across the street, lying in the sunshine in the grass, enjoying what they think is nature. Looking around, they don’t see mountain ridges. They see high rise buildings wherever they look. City life. City nature.

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The road is good, single lanes. We pass through forests. We pass through small villages. Lakes. Rivers. Rapids. Sometimes small farms. I get flashbacks to my roots. The landscape is so similar to where I grew up, in northern Sweden.  This is real nature.  Real Canada.

Mountain 3

The landscape is changing forms. Hills. Higher hills. Small mountains. We stop by a lake. Fishing must be good here. The water is very clean. I stick my hand into the water. It is cold. Just like my childhood water in northern Sweden. We come to Mont Tremblant village. Clean, organized, well managed and maintained.

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I would feel at home here. Here in the real Canada.