Celebrating with Paul and Karen, Linda and Danae close right
a mid winter visit January 2015
the girls - Elli ,Danae and Karen
leftovers, giant beans (gigantes), fried fishes and duty free toblerone !!!!!!!!!
The holy bones of Saint Barbara have arrived in Greece from Venice where
they have been held for the last thousand years. St Barbara, or part of her, was welcomed with
state honours by the Archbishop of Greece and will be on display for two weeks
before being returned to Venice in a frigate of the Greek Navy. More than 200,000 so far have waited in long lines for hours
every day to worship the relics.
The lines outside the church of St Barbara in the suburb of St Barbara in
Athens are made up of Greeks of every age and social status. It is not just a crowd of the elderly or the
lame. Young and old, everyone is there
waiting patiently. There will be the
usual prayers for health but also no doubt quite a few prayers for a job or a
little wealth to ease the tax burden and quite a few pleas for a bit of
commonsense and logic for our political leaders.
The church is at the same time collecting medicine, either those that
people have at home and no longer need or medicines and supplies that they buy
Greece is green and warm and mainly dry.
If only this weather would continue for the rest of the summer. May is the best month of the year to visit. The weather is warm enough to sunbathe
although the seas are cold. And the
temperatures are perfect for sightseeing.
May 20th is Lydia's name day and May
21st is the fiesta of Saints Konstantinos and Eleni. The name day of Kostas, daughter Elli
(Eleni), sister in law Dina (Konstandina), Nels (another Eleni) and her other
grandmother Eleni and a few other aunts and inlaws.
It used to be a HUGE celebration.
Pigs roasted on the spit, baking dishes of lamb and potatoes, crates of
beer and barrels of wine. And crowds of locals, friends, relatives, neighbours
and acquaintances who knew where they'd get a feed. It would start about ten in the morning and
go on till the wee hours when someone
would have to carry the main celebrater off to bed and I would try and get rid
of the stragglers and start sweeping up the debris.
Everyone brought bottles of expensive whisky, the best ouzo, boxes of
sticky cakes and even a few items of name brand clothing. K usually gathered in enough whisky to set
him up till his name day the following year.
This years party was a very modest affair.
We had a leg of lamb roasted in the oven. This had been given us by a friend who has
sheep and slaughtered some over easter.
Then some roast potatoes, greek
style with lots of lemon juice, garlic and oregano. Tzatziki, greek salad and bread. Wine only and that from a friend's
barrel. Ours is finished. There was feta cheese as well but I forgot it
and it stayed in the fridge and wasn't missed.
What a difference. But 'everyone'
had a good time. A neighbour and his
wife and a friend of mine plus a short visit from one of K's nephews with a
son-in-law and a stopover by another neighbour on his way to someone else's
party. Good company and good wine, plus
a few olives, that's all that is needed 'so they say'.....now. And it turned out to be true. It was even warm enough to sit outside
surrounded by the grape vines on the balcony.
K still managed to get 2 bottles of whisky, one of ouzo and a box of sticky
Today June 3rd is a big fiesta across at a tiny church beneath the lemon
forest on Galatas. The road leading to
Galatas is lined with stalls selling any sort of junk you could think of from
knickers to toys to bags and underwear plus the 1 euro stall where everything's
a bargain. Local entrepreneurs (I have no idea any longer how that word is
spelled) cook whole spit roasted pigs which are dismembered and sold by the
kilo, wrapped up in greasy paper. And
'loukoumathes', a sort of donut fried and covered in runny honey syrup and
cinnamon and even chocolate covered nowadays.
Little water taxis load up and chug across full of people from around 5pm
when the church service starts till the early hours when the music stops. The little taverna there brings in a big name
singer and sells their own roast pig and cans of beer. We
used to stay for a few hours and K probably still would if not for the economic
crisis. Chairs and tables are set up in
the sand, beer is sold by the can, pig is served in grease proof paper with
plastic forks and paper twists of slat and pepper. You are supposed to go and light a candle at
the church before starting your shopping or merry making.