Tuesday 31 January 2023

Mid Winter

 K went for a haircut today. There are usually 3 barbershops in different parts of town . They were all closed . The owner of one has retired, one was closed up tight,  one had a phone number and a sign

'Hair cuts by appointment'

So he made an appointment. 

One of the 3 breadshops has closed .  But bread, one of the staples of Mediterranean life is sold at the grocers shop.   Wine is sold cheaply in a 1 1/2 litre plastic bottle and olives are scooped out of a sack into a plastic bag, black, green, salted, wrinkled or not.

The lemon trees have lots of fruit and my oregano plant is still flourishing. It doesn't mind a bit of icy rain.

Those are the basics of life here. Old neighbour Vaso would add an onion, strong and raw. 

Most of the cafeterias are still open but only a few on the main waterfront strip have  numbers of coffee drinkers. 

All of these cafes have only a tiny amount of space inside for tables so the outside area is surrounded by plastic wind breaks and gas heaters. It can be freezing out there. But regulars will still appear to pass time with their chosen company . And smoke. 

There are some which get virtually no sun in the winter. They've closed, till April maybe when Easter visitors arrive and it's a little warmer.

Tavernas, restaurants, close for a couple of months and then in March start cleaning and painting for the new season.  Only 4 or 5 stay open.

 English friends wanted to eat souvlaki, the Greek fast food. The souvlaki shops, souvlatzidika, are all closed .

We sent them to a waterfront restaurant which hopefully will be able to serve them pitta bread, tzatziki, fried potatoes and grilled chunks of chicken or pork.

Grocery shops close at 2pm and only re-open at 5pm on 4 days of the week. Winter hours.  The big supermarket seems to remain open all day.

On Sunday all shops are closed, except those cafes and tavernas. 

A drive through town at 3 in the afternoon is like creeping through a ghost town. Banks, offices, chemist's, the few shops, are closed by 2.30 and everyone goes off home to eat their bean soup and have a few glasses of warming wine. 

 Nightlife still happens. This is Greece! Those cafes and tavernas which are open will go on till the last customer staggers home. There will be noisy voices, music after dark. 

The little taxi boats still ply the straits every 20 minutes. The car ferry leaves every half hour till the afternoon when it's every hour. We are not isolated. The hydrofoil from Athens comes in 3 times a day.   

The temperature today was 11oC with a brisk northerly. The sun came out for a while . A little sun and a good wind got a load of washing dry but I brought it in at 3 and hung it on chairs near the fire to get rid of the chill.

My green garden
Lettuces, nasturtiums, lemons and a healthy cover of clover 


  1. I’d actually rather be there in the winter. No crowds and only business open that the locals frequent. Which probably mean nicer food.
    Soon you’ll have the heat back and the tourists

    1. I like the winter peace but I do like a bit of sunshine. The older I get the more I feel that cold

  2. What a great picture you paint of life on your island in winter. I cam imagine it as a small creature in hibernation, getting ready to burst into life with the first spring warmth.

    1. That's a good description . The blood is still there flowing through the veins but at a slower pace

  3. I love this post. You described life on the island so beautifully.

  4. I like your green garden LA. It could/should be a painting.

    1. It's beautiful at the moment. All that lush green

  5. It might even be warmer than 11 degrees here today. My humans haven't go the heating on (!) and the laundry dried outdoors. We get the importance of tourism to lots of Greek villages and islands, but never thought about getting it bad both ways - crowded out of your fav places in summer, and closed out of them in the winter. At least in the big smoke our local places survived on local trade al year round (tourists don't favor Piraeus).

  6. Someone on the local face book page complained recently that the food places here were closed on a Monday night, they have just had 6 weeks of opening 7 days a week and need at least one night at home with their families. I imagine it would be much the same for your food places during the winter.

  7. In France just after mid-day all you can hear is the clinking of knives and forks on plates. Life starts again (if they can be bothered) at about 3 pm.

  8. So different from here! I remember being in Utah during winter time and everything was shut. Even the public facilities! It was all rather wierd :)