Our image probably represents the nadir in Skopelosnews’s checkered career in the field of action photography, but this humble street up near the kastro was an entirely different colour before two southerly weather fronts passed over Skopelos during the past 24 hours, depositing a thick coat of pink-orange dust on everything in their path. Cars changed colour, washing left out had to be re-done (our second batch is still on rinse cycle) and householders’ efforts to hose down their streets produced layers of sludge that made passage hazardous on steeper thoroughfares. This is certainly the thickest Saharan dust cloud we can remember in some years, while reports say a similar cloud last year actually reached Texas. Exurban myth alleges that these dust storms can carry – enter Dustin Hoffman in Hazchem spacesuit – pathogens such as SARS. Our snapper is just happy that his newly-painted white metal front door is below a balcony and avoided an airborne makeover.
The recently-formed committee overseeing this year’s Skopelos Music Festival has announced the dates of the 2014 festival, from Saturday June 14 until Sunday June 22, and released the first image of its poster. The committee, largely comprised of Skopelitans, has yet to announce any specific events, although Kendal Shepherd and Rod Iliffe will again be organizing festival choir events, at Bardon on June 17 and the Panagia Livadiotissa monastery on June 19. Workshops for these will take place on the weekend of June 14/15. More details from Kendal’s website. After some confusion last year, Kendal asks us to point out that island residents will not have to pay for the workshops. We understand the rest of the festival will be programmed by islanders, and may include visiting guest performers from the mainland. More news on that as it breaks.
On Skopelosnews the posts we write about transport are usually the posts that get the most comments. What boats will come and go, how cheap/expensive are the flights to and from Skiathos, will the boats connect with the flights? The city of Volos seems a good alternative for visitors who want to book their flight independently from their accommodation. New initiatives are being launched in a time where the social media help reach an very big audience. Please look at the initiative of 4 friends in Pilion.
What’s the point of having a year-round holiday destination when few people can actually get to it?
For most Greeks, Mount Pilion, in central Greece, is just a few hours’ drive away. For those visiting from abroad, however, the trip is all but a nonstarter. First, they have to fly to Thessaloniki, in northern Greece, or Athens in the south, before a long drive by car or on a bus – or, at best, another flight – to Volos, which is the nearest town to the villages on Mt Pilio. Most foreign visitors tell local professionals that they’d love to return but it simply entails too much traveling. As a result, despite the wide range of offers, demand remains relatively low.
The situation finally spurred three friends, who all work in the tourism business, into action. Christos Martzos, Chris Wicks and Leda Filipoppoulou recently launched an online campaign to convince low-cost airline EasyJet to inaugurate a direct route from London to Volos. Apart from providing great access to Mt Pilio, the Sporades islands and Evia, the proponents of the idea say, Volos Airport is also a key gateway to central Greece and Thessaly. The airport is close to the cities of Larissa, Lamia and Trikala and, at the same time, is ideal for anyone wishing to visit to nearby attractions such as the towering rock pillars of Meteora, Mt Olympus or the ancient city of Dion.
For the rest of the article see: http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite6_1_04/04/2014_538655
A face book page has also been launched and there are more than 5000 likes so far: https://www.facebook.com/easyjet.volos?fref=ts
Yesterday was the 47th anniversary of the coup d’etat which resulted in seven years of repression by the far right in the form of “The Colonels”. Suspected leftists suffered internal exile in the form of concentration camps on remote islands and external exile where prominent political and cultural figures had to leave Greece. The composer Mikis Theodorakis, who will be forever recognized as creating a form of music thought of as essentially Greek, ended up in Paris, his music banned from being heard within Greece. Others were jailed and tortured. Freedoms of Assembly and Free Press were abolished and an atmosphere of fear resulted from the encouragement of citizens to report on their neighbors for suspected democratic leanings.
It is a solemn day for many Greeks, especially those old enough to remember that period. Some recall the day wistfully while most others hope that such a thing never happens again.
Thanks to our friends at EnetEnglish for tipping us off about this (spookily silent) Pathé News footage of Greek Easter in 1947, one of four hundred Pathé newsreels about Greece uploaded to YouTube last week. The footage shows Easter processions, Athenians decorating a bier for Easter at the Agioi Theodoroi church near Syntagma Square, and several public figures, including chief of the Greek army general staff Konstantinos Ventiris and public order minister Napoleon Zervas, cracking eggs with Evzones and soldiers, possibly because the footage, unseen until now, may have been intended as state propaganda at the height of the 1946-9 Civil War. EnetEnglish starts a series on the collection this week, and we’ll be keeping an eye out for more archive gems.
It’s decoration time again. I (Daphne) have been to this cultural tradition a few times now but I still feel a little bit awkward stepping into a church after midnight. It is Thursday night before Easter. It is a tradition to decorate a bier on this evening. The decorated bier represents the body of Christ and was carried around in procession, on Good Friday, through the streets of Skopelos.
Why do I feel a little bit apprehensive when I go? Is it because I have not grown up with this tradition? Every time I go, though, the ladies present welcome me back and I feel “home” again.
This year a team of ladies/friends from a local flower shop helped decorating the bier. It is difficult to take pictures because I don’t want to disturb anyone but the atmosphere was relaxed enough to be able to walk around and take photographs.
This is the end result of the bier from the Agios Jannis church.
Happy Easter everyone!
With a fair breeze blowing from the south, our patch of oats (βρώμη = VRO-mee in Greek) is doing well. The field wouldn’t sit still for a proper photo so we got one with a lot of implied movement. Though oats were the chosen crop, there are many invading plants to spice things up.
We at SkopelosNews didn’t realize that the posts on the subject of oats were so popular with many of our readers. We will continue to keep you informed.