First impressions of living on a Greek Island

We’ll be spending a couple of months in a small village on the Greek island of Skopelos. We were a little shocked with the temperature when we first arrived to be honest. It was almost as cold as England and the chilly wind whipped through my thin clothes that I’d worn for our transport day to the island. Its winter so there are basically no tourists here, which means it’s ever so peaceful but we stand out like a sore thumb and everyone is curious who we are. But curious in a good way, it’s a very jolly vibe walking through the village, everyone says hello or the Greek version and we reply in a low whisper so they can’t detect our awful pronunciation. 

When we first walked around the village we found it to be a confusing maze of narrow alleys, cobbled lanes and uneven rocky steps, but with every new day we’re becoming more familiar with our surroundings. All the buildings are white with either blue, green or brown shutters and doors. I don’t know if that’s a rule or tradition but I like it! The village is hibernating now so the shop hours are limited or non existent but we’re working out what’s open when and getting the gist of things. We were told by our hosts that if a local says “in the afternoon” it means any time from 5pm, which was a handy fact to learn. 

The local post office is an unmarked building. It’s just a large open room with a desk and a little heater beside it. Post is delivered to the village by the persons name, not the house address, as that doesn’t seem to exist much round here. So a little side table has the locals post laid out neatly on it. The till was an old cardboard shoe box, which I thought was the cutest thing.

The Greeks are ever so friendly but they do have some funny traits. Some we’ve witnessed and other bits we’ve been told about. For example a Greek man (or women) won’t beat around the bush like an Englishman, if he needs a ladder he will come to your house and take the ladder and say “I need this” as appose to in England “Oh hi Bob, I’m awfully sorry to bother you but I’m in desperate need of a ladder to get my cat with dementia out the tree, would there be any possible chance that I could borrow your ladder please?”. So in comparison the Greeks keep it short and sweet…well, not all the time, because if they see a pal in the street and cross paths, instead of saying “morning Stavros, how are you?” they’ll actually go through every greeting imaginable “morning, hello, hi, how are you? How you doing? How’s things?”. We haven’t experienced this yet but I look forward to overhearing them on future walks through the village.

We’ve been enjoying eating some of my favourite meals, especially Greek salad…although I wonder if it’s just called ‘salad’ here? I made my own tzatziki for the first time and it was incredible, if I don’t say so myself! We’ve tried a few items from the local bakery too, like honey covered baclava which we enjoyed with some freshly brewed coffee by the log fire in our house.

We’re used to pulling up in a campervan in the wilderness and having a stunning view and that’s one of the major perks of vanlife, having the ever changing scenery outside your home on wheels. But I must say the view from our house here is to die for. We have a huge uninterrupted view across the Mediterranean Sea with Skiathos Island in the distance and other smaller islands scattered in the navy sheet of water. If we wander around the grounds to a cliff edge then a new view is revealed looking north up the barely inhabited north coast. All the views are uninterrupted and best of all the sun sets right in front of us every evening.

The trees around the grounds, and the village for that matter, are full of lemons and oranges. It’s the season for citrus now so we’re making the most of it and squeezing lots of oranges for fresh juice and making homemade marmalade. Our main project while staying here is to tend to the garden. Paths have been covered by foliage, fruit trees have grown a little wild and the weeds have climbed too high. We’ve already managed to make some progress though, it’s certainly a big project but a very satisfying one! The 5 second commute and killer sea views make it that much better too. Life’s treating us well so far on this Greek island and we’re looking forward to exploring other parts of the island soon.

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