Newsletter Seven

Published 10 November 02

Hello (Yassou!) from Paros…

October has brought some nice things:
Picking sage on my walks. These bouquets are hung upside down in various rooms, making for delightful aromas upon entering… Passing fields on my way into Parikia where baby goats frolic – tinkling bells accompany their playful antics… Going to a beach taverna for a quiet ouzo and book read and having the local dog choose to lay at my feet rather than join his doggie friends for a beach run… Canaries passing time by singing their hearts out… and finally the beautiful cats of Paros… found in most tavernas, busy primping and keeping a watchful eye for tidbits dropped to the pavement.

retirees with octopuses
two restaurateurs with their octopus catch

Yesterday(Sunday) Michael and I went for an afternoon walk out to the end of a peninsula on a very rocky beach. It was quite windy and wild, with clouds flitting across the sky. While on the walk we watched a father and his son beating octopus on the rocks in order to tenderise them (a typical scene), and some other children playing along the seashore. On our way back we cut across the peninsula on flat ground, through various fields crossed with stone fences. In these fields were many trees for children to play and climb in, as well as lots of free space to run. We made the comment how safe children are here on Paros… they can roam for miles without any fears. They can be free the way children should be. We have some Israeli friends who moved here for that reason alone. It made us wish all children in the world could know such a life, and their parents could relax as well.

On that same walk home, we stopped for a thirst quenching ouzo in Aliki. While we were relaxing, a bright red helicopter flew overhead, circling quite low over the taverna and beach. Then he flew to the beach next to this one (around the corner) where there is a nice flat hard packed dirt parking area and landed. We wondered what was up, as it seemed to be an emergency helicopter. Then in about 3 minutes an official looking man in uniform walked up and asked a question, laughed and then a couple more came. It appeared they wanted nothing more than lunch! They cruised low, looked around, saw people sitting at the taverna, and came to see if they were serving food! How about that? Nice to choose this island, or that island, huh? Whatever is open and appeals! That simple, even for helicopters!

One day last week, when out on my scooter, I noticed that we are really not alone out in the middle of this big blue Aegean Sea! During the summer months when the humidity is high, we do not see so far out to sea…but on clear autumn/winter days when the humidity is considerably low, viola! There was the island of Ios, just a hop and a skip away! And Santorini, a slightly bigger leap! I could almost see houses on Tinos, and saw actual mountains on Mykonos! How utterly amazing and reassuring to see the other islands. Of course the two-times-a-day airplane arrivals here in Aliki should remind me that there is a world out there… but still, seeing is believing.

We are very slow at the moment… in fact we are probably the only ones open for business in Aliki! And that is because we live here… in the building… so naturally we want to continue taking guests. Being novices to this business, we have been brainstorming to come up with ideas to entice customers to Paros.

olive oil self-harvestedOne idea that got some traction: Come to Paros in November and December for olive picking. Stay with us, and we will introduce you to a nearby farmer who will teach you the art of transforming olives on the trees into bottles of pure fresh olive oil! He will show you how this is done by “raking” the olives in the trees on to a sheet spread below. Then you take the olives to a local family run olive press where you see the ancient technique of crushing the olives in a press and gossip with some old Greek gentlemen while waiting. It is quite a fine thing to walk in with a container of olives and walk out with a bottle of first class olive oil! Note: We even supply you with personalised labels and bottles… (from the Paros wine you drink/or the ones that we have already drunk for you and saved). How is that for recycling?family olive harvest

Another idea is to have a Christmas Singles Gathering. Many people would like to experience the holidays without the hype of commercialism, have a need to relax, and/or are alone during this holiday.  We have many ideas to make a week’s stay fun for you by tying these Greek customs with our home country traditions.

By the way Christmas in Greece is different than the States and most of northern Europe. Those interested in particulars can check out these pages:
Christmas In Greece
Christmas On Paros

Since the weather could go one way or the other, we would have videos, games, puzzles, and books. Also perhaps learning to make Greek pastries in our big kitchen, or just plain Greek meals. Christmas Day dinner would be a special menu while other meals would be shared–like family! For the good weather days: a walk around the peninsula on a path by the sea… with a thermos of coffee or ouzo! Picnic lunches… scooter rides on sunny days to explore. I hear it MIGHT be nice enough to take a swim… so I guess that should be on the list of possibilities!!??

Update:  Sounded good but we had no takers.

Another idea that we are putting out on the internet is looking for compatible couples to share the building in the winter and spring when we are otherwise empty. This would be on a cost only basis and would most likely appeal to retired people. Do you know any adventuresome souls?

I strongly suggest springtime for photographers and painters because of the flowers and intense colour. Michael is putting together a plein air painting class (for next year) with a US painter.     Paros Art Workshops

Anyway, we must challenge ourselves with ideas… and so we are. By the way, if YOU have any ideas please pass them on. We want to give people what THEY want… and hearing from others what they think is the best avenue to success.     Work at Home on the Beach

Now for the local news and gossip! Weather wise… it is still fabulous. Michael took (whatwater temp. guide cartoon he claims) is probably his last swim… on October 31. Actually the water is still 21 C (68 F), however if there is a breeze it feels cooler. For the record, we did swim all of October. The weather reports for this week are forecasting thunderstorms that will bring yet more changes… but for today it continues to be very nice. It is a bit chilly in the morning when we get up, but then we sleep with only the shutters closed, with the windows wide open. By 10:00 AM it is hot on our balcony… that lasts until around 4:00 PM when the sun starts to go down behind the hills. We are experiencing nights at about 15 C (58 F) degrees and days about 24 C (69 – 70 F)! Not bad for November 4th!

On a scooter ride a few days ago, we saw that the hillsides and valleys are becoming very green, so that combined with the stone walls going up and down the mountainsides, we feel like we were back in Ireland. (Until we read their weather!) Also lots of heather, (not tall busy heather like in Ireland), but short and hearty, being more adapted to Greek soil. It was blooming all over the lower hills and roadside making an extensive purple carpet. Even our little garden outside our balcony is fully in bloom: red, blue, pink flowers making a mixed bouquet without having to pick them. Although I did cut 3 beautiful roses for the table this morning. One lone lemon on the lemon tree is still green, perhaps he does not know what he is suppose to do… so he does nothing. I can relate to that! I am waiting for another rainstorm (promised for tomorrow) to pull the ton of weeds that seem to have popped up in these last few weeks. Did I ever mention that I made a Celtic circle out of white stones Michael and I carried up from the beach? It is right in the center of our garden and looks very nice when looking over the top railing upstairs. But now the weeds are starting to hide it.

Construction noise is booming all around us at the moment… new buildings in various stages from just starting to finally finishing. A digger has been pounding our brains out these past few weeks as he digs up an entire field of rocks. Now they are finished and by the looks of it, another house will be going up. Everyone, it seems, is out on their site doing something. Another pillar and arch here, new doors or floors there, etc. One thing about building here: there are few bank loans for this, therefore people have to do it in stages, as the money comes in. That is the reason so many construction sites are all in different stages. It would appear then that autumn is the time to work on these sites, because they now have their summer incomes available to do a bit more work. (I personally like that idea… the downside is that it takes forever, but the plus side is no one goes into financial debt). I admire their infinite patience to complete a project. Now we know the reason they party for days when it is finished! I would too!

I will close with the Greek word for good-bye,
Karin    Karin profile

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