Friday, 25 October 2013

Learn Greek and remember to say Hello at Passport Control

Once smitten by Kos and the charms of the Greek people I returned home to learn Greek. Evening class seemed the best place to start but I got lost with so many keen students working at so many different levels . So I listened to CD's not bad, but then I found University students in Brighton keen to learn English and reciprocate by offering me Greek lessons. Persephone made me do grammar, hard going at the best of times, but Orestis made me sing all the verbs and phrases to get the correct rise and fall for the stress. Stress was right but not how he meant and I do find a little drink helps the flow and gets rid of inhibitions.

Anyway determined to give it a go I thought I'd go along to the lovely Bookshop in Kefalos and acquire a few children's language books as I felt they might be more at my level. 'Do you speak a little English', I thought I'd asked. 'No, I speak a lot of Greek he answered', I was a bit puzzled then realised I mixed up my Ellinika with my Anglika.Oops! Oh well he knew what I was trying to say, bless him, and sorted me out.
It's still worth the effort to try and speak Greek. How many tourists arriving at Kos airport greet the passport control officer with a kalispera  or a kalimera? Not many judging by the fixed expression on his face. But notice the difference the moment someone attempts to speak Greek. See how the smile reaches his eyes and for a brief moment he comes alive. Notice the difference in the supermarket when you say please and thank you in Greek and have a nice day. Knowing how to say the basic minimum can make all the difference.

It shows respect for others, human kindness and a willingness to embrace someone else’s culture. Have we got out of the habit at home? Are we shy, embarrassed  or nervous that the conversation might continue and we don’t know what to say? Don’t worry most Greeks speak a little English, some a lot and some are fluent. Give it a go….

Good morning……………….Kalimera

Good afternoon/evening…………………Kalispera

Good night……………………Kalanikta


Thank you……………………efharisto

Excuse me…………………..signomi

Hello/goodbye………….yia sou (1 person you know)

Hello/goodbye………….yia sas(more people or someone you don’t know)

How are you…………….ti kaneis

Very well…………………poli kala
Just a few words to get you on your way

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Island Hopping

How do you choose one Boat from another when they are all offering a wonderful day out Island Hopping? Well by recommendation of course and this time it was Michael our lovely Accountant. 'Look for my mum' ,he said 'She's the blonde lady called Christina and dad's named the boat after her'.
Not difficult to find on a Sunday morning and as to be expected the whole family were involved.

We had a great day out, swimming in Pserimos in shallow waters. Even while eating in the Tavernas you can expect to sit with your toes in the water. A strange experience as there isn't a road. BBQ Lunch was followed by a trip into Vathi on Kalymnos for shopping and eating. A lovely place to explore or just sit and relax.

and then a great opportunity for Dolphin watching and dancing. It's just a shame afterwards that a certain member of my family decided to swim too far and too fast after lunch and required rescuing. Many thanks for your Life Saving skills. We shall come aboard again.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Priest on the Beach. He doesn't need a Man Bag.

It's a great sight to see people on the beach. Tourists and locals alike. The ladies often pop down for a swim whilst others are having a siesta and Yia Yia's and Papou's supervise their grandchildren from the back of the beach perched on a chair in the shade. Everbody enjoys the cool of the water in the afternoon and no better sight is the local priest popping off his robes and trainers and putting his valuables in his hat while he takes a dip. Who needs a man bag?

I'd like to know what you men do with your valuables on the beach when wearing shorts and shirts. There is so much choice for us women where beach bags are concerned or little handbags, but what do the men do?

I've given up letting Ron take his Man bag on holiday as he forgets he's got it and leaves it everywhere. Many thanks to the Magic beach restaurant owners for being so alert otherwise all our worldly goods, passports included would have been lost and thanks to Manolis Kapsoulis who knows what he's like.

Dance and Drama it's all Greek to me.

Popi's performance in Pyli couldn't go unnoticed. It's not easy to get away from your restaurant in peak tourist season so Ron and I volunteered to go and took our family with us.

The first hurdle was finding the Community Centre and although we asked the Priest he was more interested in showing us around the church and either didn't understand our Anglo Greek or didn't want us to go. I don't know who was more surprised to see us in the audience him or us. We were the only foreigners there however and took care to sit on the back row, less conspicuous or so we thought.

I think the play was a Tragedy, although it could be mistaken for a comedy. It was all Greek to us and it was like watching a farce, courtesy of Stage management. We saw more off stage than on, because of the damn curtains, they were either too far in from the sides or too far out, either way the poor actors could be seen on and off stage all at once. We apologise for laughing but it wasn't at the quality of the performance.

The actors did a great job under more pressure than they could ever imagine.
Popi was magnificent and all the other Thespians.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Where would you rather shop?

Took mum yesterday for her weekly aerobics session. She’s a little lady about Five foot nothing, 6 stone wet through and 86 years old. Easily identifiable or so I thought, until I had the where’s Wally experience while I waited for a little old lady in a red top, white hair and check trousers to come out of the bank. Anyway picked up the right one and took her to classes.


It’s a big space, easy for parking, toilet and restaurant facilities provided. Taxi service available for after and plenty of opportunities for light snacks and soft drinks. It was a bit cold to start with in the freezer section but by the time we reached Detergents it felt a bit warmer. Mum picked her way through all the dates on the packs, looked for all the best chicken pieces, the longest date on the bread and each time she stood on tip toe and reached for the back of the shelf. Some of the exercises were beyond mum as the top shelf really was too high. By the time we reached the checkout her cardiovascular workout was over, her stretch exercises were complete and her lower leg and upper arm muscles had had a fantastic workout.



I can’t help think that the Shopping in Kefalos  is a far better experience. No air miles involved, no need for big car parks. The fish is brought up to the village, the supermarket owners add their own produce from their ‘Farms’ such as fresh figs and melons and you can still get a cup of coffee afterwards and have a chat with someone you know. Sit in the centre of the village and you see all the locals picking up their fruit and veg and if they are unable to get out I know for certain that shop keepers like Elias from the Butchers will do a delivery service. I know which experience I’d rather have. What about you?


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Car wash your Carpets, how ingenious

If you want your carpets cleaned in Kefalos then why not take them to the carwash at the bottom of the hill. That's what the locals do. Great way to use the petrol station in Kefalos and they dry so quickly.

ps If you want personal service. Then they will collect from home, wash, dry and store for Winter. Brilliant


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Agios Ioannis a spiritual place of peace and understanding

When my dad died I drove up the mountain road to Ioannis , knowing it would be peaceful, quiet and with breathtaking views I lit a candle for him in the little church. I sat quietly outside on the wall watching a Greek Family playing with their children. They were sharing a moment together and were eating carob. They could see I was upset and they came across to share some of the sweet with me. This was a wonderful gesture of kindness to a stranger but certainly not unusual in Kos.

The drive up to Ioannis is well worth the trip and this Youtube video captures it so well.

Capture Kos in your heart.

The moment you step off the plane and out of the everyday ordinariness of life you have the chance to capture those true story making events of life. The smell of wild thyme, the sound of cicadas , the warmth of the sun or damp of the evening hit you the moment you walk down on to the tarmac, alerting the senses of things to come.

No wonder so many visitors capture Kos on film, one second with the camera and a lifetime in the heart. Kos is the place to live inside the moments and stay with them forever. Lose yourself in the sights and sounds of Kos and make them part of you.


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Eating is a Greek pastime.

With so many good restaurants to choose from serving traditional Greek dishes it can be difficult to choose where to eat and you must give them all a try.Like any restaurant each chef has his own take on traditional dishes. I have a number of favourites for different reasons such as lunchtime snacks, sunset views, Beach locations and out of the way places.

The one thing that is sure to attract me is the people and the relationships I've established over the years.

But what do you do when your favourite family open two Tavernas at the same time? Well just to be absolutely fair in all things , then you have dinner in one and dessert in the other.

Galini restaurant is one of my favourite for all occasions


Chips and Rice not a Greek delicacy..Try stuffed peppers

A Greek delicacy? Not really, but they think it’s ours. So if you want salad or you want potatoes cooked in olive oil, lemon and garlic just say so. Ask what the dish of the day is and try something new. There are so many lovely  culinary things to experience. Fortunately the Greek Taverna’s are not plagued with the type of inflexible till that connects straight through to the kitchen that we have at home. They can make changes and if not today then there is always tomorrow (avrio) Why not try stuffed peppers.