Summer of 2017

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The summer if 2017 has gone by fast. We came to Skiathos in early April, just in time for Greek Easter. And then, days passed by at an incredible speed.

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We did some travelling in the summer. Enough for jet lag to interfere with our days of sun, gardening, boating, socializing. And of course, sleeping, eating, drinking and lazying around in general.

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It was a mixed summer for our gardening. Our new vegetable garden, with tomatoes, green peppers, cucumber, hot peppers did not do particularly well. We must improve the soil for next summer. Our new compost should produce good soil. But as usual, our herbs grew abundantly – oregano, rose marine, thyme, mint, basil, lemon grass and trees with bay leaves. Some of our fruit trees have done well – plenty of lemons in the early summer and a record crop of apples now in September. Our new fruit trees, pears, plums and nectarines have all given us small crops. As well as the fig trees growing into our garden from the land outside the wall. We also had plenty of grapes this year – not enough to make wine but enough to pick a few bunches of grapes in the morning to make fresh grape juice for our breakfasts.

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It has been a record tourist year for the island. There is no Greek crisis on tourist islands in the country. People no longer travel to Turkey, Egypt or Tunisia – instead they come to Greece or Spain. We have had a fair share of family and friends visiting us – always enjoyable. All of them say that their visit has been too short and that they will stay longer next summer! Some of them even call this place Paradise…

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I consider September the best month of the year on the island. Cooler temperatures, not so many tourists any longer, the water in the sea still warm. I never get tired of walking bare foot into the grass in the early morning, carrying the first cup of morning coffee, watching the sun rise over Skopelos Island, the sun rays slowly moving over the sea giving us a new day of hope and pleasures…6c (2)
Yesterday, we went to the uninhabited island of Arkos, not far away from Skiathos, for a swim and lunch in the summer taverna on the beach. As we arrived to the beach, a fisherman was cleaning his catch of fish and calamares, selling it direct to the taverna for people like us to enjoy the fresh catch in the taverna a while later. You cannot get fresher sea food than this! As we had our lunch, with our feet on the sand under the table, a small group of dolphins passed the island.

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But our summer is soon over. In a few weeks’ time, we will start our drive back to Sweden, staying a short while there before returning home to Malaysia for the winter. Well, in Malaysia there is no winter, summer surrounds us…

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Another summer has passed by. We are one year older but we are richer with more memories, more ideas and more hope for the future. We are already looking forward to the summer of 2018….

A lazy day on Arkos Island

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Our friend picks us up at the harbour in Skiathos. It is the right day to go out to sea, the temperature has reached 33 degrees. The boat moves swiftly and the wind feels refreshing in our faces. It takes us only ten minutes to reach Arkos Island, one of the small islands outside Skiathos.

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Arkos is an island of rock and stone, covered by green trees, an island with with a great sandy beach. No people live on this island but in the summer, a Skiathos family is running a taverna on the beach. High above on a rock, a Greek flag has been placed to remind us of where we are.

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This day, there are only a few people at Arkos. We find shade under some big rocks, place our bags, umbrella and beach towels there and move out into the water. The water is warm, clear, feels like silk. Finally, we get up again, letting the warm air dry our bodies in the shadow of the rock and then we move over to the taverna.

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This is one of those days when time means nothing. You stick your feet into the sand, sip your frappe, the cold Greek ice coffe, lazy talk with friends, looking out over the sea, and a few hours of your life can easily disappear without you noticing it. Eventually, hunger reminds us that we are sitting at a Greek taverna and we ask for the menu.
It is a family taverna, the mother is cooking. We order fried calamares, very fresh. Gavros, which is small, boneless, skinned Greek anchovy. Horiatiki, Greek salad. And the speciality of the place, fried, spicy hot feta cheese. Many Skiathians have goats up in the mountains and so does this family. The feta cheese is homemade and melts in your mouth. And of course we get bread, you always get bread with your meals in Greece. Everything washed down with beer and water.

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It takes an effort to get up from the taverna chairs and move back to our place at the rocks. The sun has moved and there is no more shade where we were sitting. Instead, we get into the water, the warm crystal clear water, and spend a long time there, maybe twenty minutes, maybe thirty, we don’t really know.

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Late in the afternoon, we reluctantly get into the boat for the ten minute return trip to Skiathos harbour.

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This has been another lazy day in Greece….