Early morning. Sunrise over Skopelos. The sea is calm. It is quiet. We are back on the island. Back after six weeks of travel. Back in our own little paradise.
The first cup of coffee in the morning tastes like heaven. I walk barefoot in the grass, inspecting the garden. It has fared reasonably well during our absence. We have been lucky. Roaming goats have passed the area. They have eaten a lot in our neighbour’s garden. All geraniums are gone there, down to the root. But our garden has been untouched by the goats. Thank you, goats.
The rest of our car ride through Europe went smoothly. We stayed a few days in Prague. We stayed in the old, cute little village of Hall-in-Tirol outside Innsbruck in Austria. We drove down to Ancona in Italy where we caught the ferry to Igoumenitsa on the Greek mainland, just south of the Albanian border. After crossing Greece, we took the final ferry from Volos to Skiathos.
Back again. Travelling is enjoyable. Not travelling is also enjoyable. Now we will stay here for the next few months. Staying in our little paradise. Living a small scale life. Eating, drinking, sleeping. Gardening, swimming, reading, socializing with friends. Enjoying sunrises and coffee. Simply enjoying life. Enjoying the simple life.
The sun is setting over the hills, casting long shadows on the road. We walk slowly downhill, from our house to the beach, a few minutes’ walk. The heat of the day is slowly subsiding.
It is quiet. The smell from the pine trees fill our nostrils. The silence is broken by a fast motor boat crossing the clear water of Tzaneria Bay. Then the boat is gone. Silence is ruling again.
For minutes or for a week?
Only Peter and Zelda have put their boat into the water. But the small bay will soon be filled with boats, attached to the buoys, swinging and moving with the waves. But still, the waves are the rulers of the bay. The beach is empty. Soon, umbrellas and sunbeds will fill the beach. Tourists will fill the sunbeds. For now, at this moment of time, the beach is ours. A slow walk in the sand. Not a tourist in sight.
For another week…
At Sklithri Taverna, our gem on the beach, Emilio and his men are preparing the taverna for the season. A new kitchen. Emilio tells us that they plan to open in a week. Now it is quiet, no guests, no food, no wine.
For another week…
Our shoes sink into the sand, made soft by the waves. At the end of the beach, a place to sit down. A place to contemplate. To listen to the waves. Birds singing. A dog barking far away. A place a thousand miles from the world.
Velvet for the soul…
For another week…..
The first charter flight of the season has arrived. Thomas Cook from Manchester.
You can spot the tourists from a mile away. A couple of hours after the arrival, they walk in pairs or small groups slowly up and down Papadiamantis, looking totally lost. Papadiamantis is the small main street in Skiathos town, a pedestrian street. They are pale. Very pale after a long winter in England. They wear shorts. They have paid a lot of money to wear shorts for a week, sun or rain. The legs are extremely pale. Some of them wear funny hats, first thing they shop on the holiday. Hats that they would never even dream of wearing on High Street in Doncaster. You see the same groups several times, first walking up Papadiamantis and then down Papadiamantis. A slow walk, looking lost as if they haven’t yet understood that they are on a holiday.
The bar and café owners along Papadiamantis and down in the harbor have waited six months for them. “Welcome!” and then “Where are you from?”. Everyone in the street knows that they are from England but “Where are you from?” is one of the standard introductory phrases. “Sit down!”
Some of them sit down and have the first pint of beer of the day (not counting the ones they had on the plane). The café owner is happy. The first catch of the season.
Skiathos has got two seasons, the winter season and the tourist season. The face of the island is now changing into tourist season mode. Total contrasts. The winter population of the island is 6,000 people. In August, the peak tourist season when the Greeks and the Italians have their holidays, there are more than 60,000 people on the island. In January, there may be one car passing by on the coast road below our house every half hour. In August there is bumper to bumper traffic on the road.
Monday morning in Saujana Resort….. The first cup of coffee early in the morning…
The first sun rays of the day sweeping in over the golf course in front of our balcony. A pleasant morning temperature of 26 degrees. The early golfers hitting the fairways. But today the weather changes quickly as it often does in the tropics. Cloudy skies with a slight rain move in, covering the area in grey.
I enjoy every moment of the morning, knowing that it will be some time before I will be here again. It is always sad to leave. Breathe in, remember, enjoy…
I have printed out the boarding cards for the flights. Tonight, we will be on the plane out of Malaysia. First, two days in Stockholm, Sweden. Two very busy days. Then back to Skiathos Island again. Back to paradise. Garden work, Greek salad and ouzo.
Recently, I wrote about our trip to Laos and Cambodia on Facebook. But Facebook and I do not always see eye to eye. So from now on, my trip through life will be mirrored in this blog, Life in a Suitcase, instead. Join me on this trip! The suitcase is almost packed and the airline tickets rest on the desk.
I used to write a blog some years ago, in Swedish, a blog called Skiathosbloggen. In those days, I spent most of my time on the Greek island of Skiathos and I wrote about the island and life on the island. At that time, I had more than 4,000 followers. The viewing of the blog peaked twice, once when there was a major forest fire, the fire approaching our house, and the other time during the filming of the movie Mamma Mia in which I was an extra.
But there were personal changes in my life. I moved to Malaysia and started to write about life in Malaysia on Facebook.
Now the decision has been made: in the future I will write a blog instead. A blog again.