Newsletter Number Eleven

Published 7 May 03

Hello, I promised to make this season’s newsletters different, but frankly, I have been so busy moving into our new quarters (hotel) that no thought has been seriously given to it… so I will just be spontaneous.


April was a month of continued cold, dreary, windy weather.  Not typical for April at all.  And very tiring for all of us who have experienced the worst winter in 70 years!  We were not used to fighting strong headwinds just to walk from our apartment to the office!  It is always interesting getting settled in a new building, not always favourable.  Many were the nights we were woken up by very loud banging and exclaiming, “WHAT (blankity blank) shutters are banging NOW!”  The rains continued, destroying some of the efforts of the flood cleanup going on.  However, being used to a winter of unsettled weather, we tried to take it in stride.  Somedays we felt a bit depressed as did all the Greeks.  Easter was fast approaching… and customarily those days are spent outside barbecuing lamb!  And outdoor processions with candles!  Would the weather change in time?

The spring flowers grew anyway!  In abundance!  Our hotel overlooks the sea, but in front of us are fields and fields of waving flowers… giving us enjoyment and hope.  Then one evening the heavy skies started to break-up and form clouds, and by sunset time… it was looking very promising!  In fact, that night was one of the most spectacular sunsets I have had the privilege to witness.  Michael said if it were possible to “bottle” it and “sell” it, we would be millionaires!  From that evening on, the weather improved;  Good Friday was chilly but clear, and by Easter, well, it was a real blessing!  Full sunshine, bright blue skies, and lots of happy Greeks!  Tourists, too!


Amphora with geraniumsWe have been busy planting geraniums and petunias in pots for the entrance to the hotel. For myself I bought some pretty bright orange daisies for my balcony.  We have been busy painting, re-arranging, changing, cleaning – all those tasks to get our hotel up and running.  So far we have been quite busy with all units filled with Athenians who celebrate Easter here on Paros.  Some are still here – suppose it is hard to go back to Athens after experiencing this laid back life here  – even for a Greek!

Guests & Weddings

So far we have had Canada and England represented, with the promise of Belgium and Holland, Croatia, Ireland and France, soon.  What fun to meet all these people.  I have been busy making up Welcome sheets and Breakfast Menu sheets.  Not a lot of time for reading and knitting!  But this is more fun, anyway.

A neighbour below us is marrying off his daughter.  They live in a big house with lots of land and olive trees.  On the land is their personal little church.  This one is not typical Greek architecture (white with blue dome), but made of stone.  The young bride has asked to book our hotel at that time; putting some of the wedding guests into all our rooms.  I expect there will be a lot of coming and going with wedding hoopla and excitement!  If it is true about Greek weddings, we might want to stay indoors, as it is customary to shoot guns into the air!  Some wedding parties go for a couple of days!  Lots of food and music with dancing.  I imagine our guests will be dragging themselves to bed in the wee early morning hours.  I wonder if the neighbourhood will be able to sleep?  It will definitely confuse the roosters!

Speaking of food, here is a recipe for a delicious Tzatziki (pronounced: tzaught tzeeki).  It is traditionally served with fresh bread from the bakery.  (French bread type.)  If you are in Greece you would go to a taverna on the beach –  it is served as an appetiser with an ouzo, or as a snack.

  TZATZIKI         5 -6 servings

      • 1/2 kilo (1 lb. 2 oz.) plain yoghurt (full fat)
      • 4 – 5 cloves garlic, finely grated or crushed
      • 1 cucumber
      • 4 T. olive oil
      • 2 T. vinegar
      • Salt and Pepper

Grate and drain cucumber – (leave on skin).  I usually squeeze it as well, to get all the juice out.  Mix the yoghurt and the grated cucumber in a bowl.  Add the finely grated or crushed garlic.  Finally, pour in the olive oil and vinegar. Mix well.  Season to taste.

(from The Best Traditional Recipes of Greek Cooking, by Editions D. Haitalis)

It is even better the next day!  (Can be kept in the fridge for quite a few days.)  It is also enjoyable as a dressing on a fresh green salad.

Finally, here is a spring flower bouquet just for you!  I had a hard time choosing, as all the photos are so pretty: poppies and gold flowers

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