A earthquake of a 4.3 magnitude (other sources say 4,4) on the Richter scale was recorded off Skiathos island, 130 km north of Athens, at 11:07 on Sunday morning. According to the Geodynamic Institute of the National Observatory of Athens, the epicenter of the quake was in the sea, 4 km south of the island. Tremors were also felt on Skopelos.
Source:press office Athens-Macedonia

On Sunday morning the 18th of October from 07.30 hours until 12.30 hours there will be a power cut on all the Sporades islands and South Pilion. Maintenance on the central electricity line is the reason.

Today, almost by accident, we visited the famous burial site in Vergina (one hour drive from Thessaloniki)  My husband said we should go and see the area but we did not research anything before we went. Maybe that was a good thing. I have never been so impressed by what I saw in a museum.

Vergina is best known as the site of ancient Aigai (Αἰγαί, Aigaí, Latinized: Aegae), the first capital of Macedon. In 336 BC King Philip II was assassinated in Aigai’s theatre and his son, Alexander the Great, was proclaimed king.

Where was the burial ground of Philip II though? For many years archaeologists looked in Greece. The Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos became convinced that a hill called the Great Tumulus (Μεγάλη Τούμπα) concealed the tombs of the Macedonian kings. In 1977, Andronikos undertook a six-week dig at the Great Tumulus and found four buried tombs, two of which had never been disturbed. Andronikos claimed that these were the burial sites of the kings of Macedon, including the tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great (Tomb II) and also of Alexander IV of Macedon, son of Alexander the Great and Roxana (Tomb III). Enough information. You have to go and see it. It is one of the most amazing collection of artefacts I ever saw. The museum is housed in the tumulus/the dome. The thought behind the set up of the museum is very clever. What has been found there is of such stunning beauty. The collection is enormous. With Covid 19 present everywhere in the world this now quiet village, that depends on tourists, unfortunately has plenty of time to pick the famous apricots, which trees, surround this beautiful area. There are hardly any visitors which is a terrible shame. Entrance fee 12 euros (every cent worth it) Students free. Sources:Unesco, World heritage site.

The Greek government has introduced a new online platform that includes a risk-assessment map that enables citizens to track the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country and keep up to date with the latest safety restrictions by regional unit.

The health safety map was presented during Friday’s Covid-19 media briefing and is available on covid19.gov.gr, the official website launched by the Ministry of Digital Governance with information on the measures taken by the Greek government for the pandemic.

Through the online risk-assessment map (in Greek), citizens can check the degree of risk indicated by four levels (traffic light color-coded) for any of the 74 Greek regional units and see what safety restrictions are in force:
Please continue reading here: GTP travel pages

A meeting about something completely different, resulted into getting acquainted with two wonderful inspiring women who gave me the information about a group of mental healthcare workers who travel around the Sporades and provide important help to those in need.

The mobile team Magnesia is part of a urban non profit organization called Diodos.The aim of the non profit organization, based in Volos and founded in 2005, is the psychosocial rehabilitation of people with chronic mental illness. They work towards prevention, they provide therapy, they try to improve the quality of life and working against stigmas. The team has been set up to reach remote areas like the island of the Sporades. It consists of a psychiatrist, a psychologist a social worker and a nurse.

(photo from a visit of the mobile team to the Skopelos community center)

Apart from the mobile team Diodos also manages an orphanage, a day center and protected housing.

The WHO writes on their homepage: This year’s World Mental Health Day, on 10 October, comes at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The past months have brought many challenges: for health-care workers, providing care in difficult circumstances, going to work fearful of bringing COVID-19 home with them; for students, adapting to taking classes from home, with little contact with teachers and friends, and anxious about their futures; for workers whose livelihoods are threatened; for the vast number of people caught in poverty or in fragile humanitarian settings with extremely limited protection from COVID-19; and for people with mental health conditions, many experiencing even greater social isolation than before. And this is to say nothing of managing the grief of losing a loved one, sometimes without being able to say goodbye.

The economic consequences of the pandemic are already being felt, as companies let staff go in an effort to save their businesses, or indeed shut down completely.

Given past experience of emergencies, it is expected that the need for mental health and psychosocial support will substantially increase in the coming months and years. Investment in mental health programmes at the national and international levels, which have already suffered from years of chronic underfunding, is now more important than it has ever been.

This is why the goal of this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign is increased investment in mental health.

Diodos provides an important sevice to those in need on the Sporades and hopefully will do for a very long time.
For more information see below:

Work on the go

The asphalting of the road towards Mylos square progresses slowly. Small parts are being fixed. It is good this work was started when the season was almost over. We know how attached many people are to their cars and parking spaces…

The municipal board and the mayor of Skopelos always try to get money from various sources like the prefecture, the central government or Europe to get work done on the island. Sometimes it happens that the process takes so long that the next mayor (after four years) will receive the money to do the work but the former mayor made the “application”. For some work an engineers study needs to be made and that takes time too.
The mayor of Skopelos announced a couple of days ago that there will be money available for:

1) The reconstruction of the indoor gymhal; 731,000 euros.
2) Construction of access ramps for the disabled for all the schools on the island; 23,560 euros.
3) Reconstruction of the house of the Melachrinos family and its conversion into a Municipal Library; 152,520 euros.
4) Signing of the contract with SA Pelion for the creation of the application “I Skopelos” Development of an integrated digital interactive mobile application for the promotion of the Tourist, Natural and Cultural Resources of the island of Skopelos”; 68,138 euros.
5) Signing 0f the contract with SA Pelion for the project “Integrated intelligent Early Fire Detection System for the forests on Skopelos ;52,204 euros.
6) Availability of the study of the restoration of the road to the beach and houses in the area of Ag. Constantinos.

The parking has been cleaned. A first.

It is quieter on the island. The last flights from Skiathos have been planned. Some visitors who could leave their home came over for another week or two. Some restaurants closed but others still try to get some people in. As long as the weather stays well we are not thinking about the fall and winter yet!

It will all be here

2020 is almost over and what most people really want is, to forget this year, because it has brought so much grief. It is not only corona that caused this grief. All over the world people are fighting for a better life, a better environment, more equality etc. etc. There are many circumstances beyond our control that prevent these changes from happening. Corona was one of those circumstances this year. People felt trapped, their work at risk, their family in danger, their freedom under scrutiny.

So those who had the chance to go somewhere else tried to, but others, were not so lucky and had to stay home. With the kindness that people have in their heart many tried to help those in need. They felt that we have to be here for each other during these difficult times. Not stand opposite each other but together and try to solve problems. Listen instead of reacting. Reaching out instead of recoiling. Every day do something. Just talking to somebody that you meet, greeting them, helping them with small things. Everything counts.

Many people that were able to come to Skopelos this year and that I spoke too, felt a gratitude that they were able to come and enjoy the island in their own way, how they were used to. Τhey were grateful that nothing really changes here.

With the corona virus around everywhere there were rules to follow but most knew about them; the wearing of masks in shops and offices and the social distancing but because a big part of their daily life here is spent outside, they felt a sense of freedom. That did not mean that nobody was infected. I have heard personal stories of people that were infected here on the island. How? They do not know. I feel sad they were infected and became ill. I hope they will fully recover.

I will never forget the words that a couple said to me when I saw them a few years ago when I asked them how they were doing? “We are slowly sinking into Skopelos they said” I thought it was a beautiful metaphor because there are so many “parts” of Skopelos that make it unique, interesting, unforgettable; the nature, the mystery that there is so much more to discover, the stories told by inhabitants, the history, the people, the architecture, the beaches, the forests, the animals, the gastronomy, the paths, the springs, the surprise meetings, the monasteries, the sunsets, the sunrises, the sea etc. All those “parts” will be here when you visit Skopelos next time, next week, next month, next year! It will all be here.

(All photographs were taken in the last couple of weeks)

Ongoing work Mylos area

We hope that this street, that is used by so many people with their cars, will get the upgrade it needs. The amount of water that passes over and under this street during the winter is enormous. It needs to be channeled right and the waterflow needs to end up somewhere where it cannot do anymore harm.

Move your vehicle

On Monday the 28th the road leading of Milos Square will be asphalted. Everybody is asked to remove their vehicles.

All okay

Skopelos was not in the eye of the storm last weekend but we had very strong winds and rainfall up till yesterday. In many part of Greece whole villages were flooded, crops were ruined and unfortunately some people drowned too.