Thursday, 4 June 2020
Or cafe culture in another language. Every country has this love of coffee (or whatever drink you drink). France and Italy are the countries which jump out for me. Here in Greece when my girls go out for coffee it is coffee in inverted commas. Coffee in the morning, 'coffee' till the late hours. A coffee here means hours of talking, watching humanity passing by and possibly 'sitting on' a small demi tasse of greek coffee costing as little as 1 euro.. What it is Not part of the culture is a plastic cup of coffee in hand while walking down the street.
Where you drink your coffee is very important. The coffee has to be good but so does the compoany that gathers round you and the friendliness and interaction of the owner and the waiter. If you're a regular your coffee will be brought out to you without having to wait and order it. They know who you are and remember what you like.
Here on Poros we frequent two (sometimes 3) cafeterias which are K-approved. We warn visitors and show them the correct hangouts. If you sit elsewhere he won't be joining you ....and you'll miss out on that quintessential (k) greek experience.
I just had a look at the top coffee drinking countries. The Scandanavian countries are up all up there in the top 5, Italy is number 13, Greece 17 and France 18. I presume that Scandanavians make/get their coffee, drink it and have another 2 or three or more during the day, unlike the slower paced mediterranean countries where coffee is only one part of the package and is often followed by your favourite tipple.
This is a smaller and older-fashioned version of the cafeteria where men gather to play cards and backgammon, drink coffee and ouzo, and pass their day away from the wife. There is no loud music and the meze for ouzo will be be a simple plate of olives and cucumber all on a toothpick. Poros hasn't too got a traditional cafenion anymore, not that I can think of anyway. The elderly men, sometimes with their wives nowadays, gather at certain cafeterias, most of them on the K list.
This is our view from the down-town cafeteria where we usually drink our coffee
I've posted a similar photo many, many times
With a yacht or maybe a fishing boat in the background, with a foreground of the lines of motorbikes
This was taken on our first day back after lockdown
The same company in the back of the cafe, sitting in their same seats
Everyday at 10am, they appear, an older couple first and they are joined by a changing group of 4 or 5, always talking loudly
The tables are slightly further apart, the waitress wears a mask, sometimes on her face, sometimes around the neck. Otherwise the scene is unchanged
After coffee came red wine and ouzo
That reliable normality again
People stopped for a chat, moved on
Here is our local priest on his way back from a house visit and a blessing
Our bikes parked opposite
As usual someone parks on the road right behind me so I can't get out even though there is a space 2 metres down
Double parking for cars of course
Even a couple of luxury yachts
Greek owned I suppose and with greek passengers
Social distancing is not the norm
Behind us was the bouzouki player with a wee crowd around his table, drinking and sighing and singing to the passionate love songs
This weekend is a three-dayer
Suzi (her surname), the weather lady, has promised the sun will shine so the island will be full again. Full of the richer Athenians who weren't affected by three months without income.