Then summer arrives. Perfect weather. No raining on your BBQ here. People plan their holidays around local festivals, returning to their village or island to take part in sometimes days of feasting, dancing and drinking till the dawn. These are religious holidays of course, honouring the town's saint. So you go to church first and then enjoy yourself with a clear conscience.
15th August, the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, is the biggest Greek holiday of the year. The whole country closes down, except for eating, drinking and sleeping establishments. Athenians
depart by the thousands to spend a few days with relatives in the village or just get out of town. Poros turns into one huge, hot, noisy traffic jam. City slickers in their big black jeeps hog the narrow out-of-town roads and don't know where to pull over, or don't want to know, to let another car pass. Quad bikes packed with bright pink tourists without helmets, a whole family to a bike, buzz around, whooping and yelling till late at night.
The Cycladic islands, with their blue and white architecture, are renowned for their summer festivities. Celebrations really do go on for three days or even a week and there is lots of dancing and feeding the masses with huge cauldrens of stewed mutton or boiled beans. Each island has its own traditions which have been carried on for donkeys years, through dictatorship, earthquakes and financial bungling.
As I have never taken part in a Cycladic island rave-up I'll tell you about our own summer fiesta, tomorrow. It is not only the cyclades that celebrate!