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Morning light


Skopelos around 07.00 hours this morning. Have a great weekend!

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A changing world

The period since my last post, has been filled with horrible events like the brutal killing of mr. George Floyd and the ongoing news about the corona epidemic which still takes a lot of lives. Because of the corona epidemic and the various new rules and regulations I have a slight problem to get a grip. Some things don’t seem real.

We have to get on with our lives though, out there and here on Skopelos. We have to start or continue working, finding solutions for daily problems and take charge. But nothing will be the same ever.

I want to be ready for probable clients and not have awkward situations in my workspace so I have masks, gloves, anti septic gel and various kinds of paper in my office.
Do I shake hands when I meet clients? Do I greet them with a mask on? etc. etc. I don’t know, I will have to wait and see. I try to be careful when I go into a shop, if I see many people I wait. If I go to a coffee place I look if tables are apart and I see that a lot of businesses have plexiglas installed on counters for protection. Staff works with gloves and masks.

On Skopelos most businesses that cater for visitors are open and trying to make a living. So far we mostly see locals in the bars and sometimes in the restaurants and their presence is very welcome. Because of the long weekend coming up we also saw Greeks from the mainland arriving today and hopefully they will spend some money here.

Beach bar Glysteri has officially opened today. We saw waiters with gloves and beds and umbrellas with the approved distance between them. Kastani beach has opened also but no sign of a beach bar on Milia except for the kantina truck at the beginning of the beach. Milia beach has been cleaned except for the area around the beach bar and that is a shame , big pieces of glass lying around and rubbish too.

I visited Amarandos after a long time and the green sprouts that I saw between the burned trees, give me hope. In a couple of years small trees will cover the hills. The sense of mystery there is gone though but I hope it will come back slowly slowly.

In one week more international flights can go into Athens and Thessaloniki airport. I hear about a lot of cancelled flights and that is a shame because the companies don’t always return money but give vouchers and if your flight is cancelled many times you might get fed up and don’t want to go anymore to Greece and that is a shame and a loss for many.

Boat itineraries are updated slowly slowly and so far we have two ferry boats and one flying dolphin (Erato started today) sailing in the Sporades. From Volos and Mantoudi they sail. These itineraries will not show sailing dates very far ahead. It has never been like that but I hope we will have a good schedule for the (hopefully) busier summer months.

We have to remain hopeful that some kind of tourist season will take place. At the moment we take it week by week and that is the best thing to do, I think.

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Maybe some rain….

Elios beach at 16.20 hours today

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(Karya area today)

As of tomorrow more things will change in Greece.

The most important factor, as we go out now, is that we need to remind ourselves that social distancing and wearing a mask, where it is needed, are important rules to follow. Always washing your hands before you put your mask on and after you take it of.

The numbers of new corona patients in Greece is low but the Greek government keeps reminding everybody via television spots how and where people should wear masks, how you can make masks yourselves, warnings against big social gatherings. Well known and loved Greek actors lead in these videos and they are a hit. The first motto was stay home, now it is we stay safe.

Every Monday in the next couple of weeks, more businesses will be allowed to open and hopefully the economy will start “running” again but with a lot of rules. Greece is largely dependent on tourists and they might come to visit but in smaller numbers and the way of holidaying will never be the same for anybody.

At the moment only permanent residents and employees of businesses are able to travel back and forth to Skopelos without going into 14 days of quarantine afterwards but as soon as more people are allowed to use a ferryboat to travel to Skopelos they will be looked at to see if their body temperature is ok and every passenger needs to fill out a questionnaire. If they need to have a “corona free” statement/passport with them needs to be seen. That needs to be decided by the governments.

News about flights are: Flights between Greece and seven countries will remain suspended as of now for preventative measures on the Covid-19 pandemic, and non-EU nationals banned from entering Greece, the Civil Aviation Service (CAS) said on Friday.
In addition, all international flights must land only at the country’s main airport, the Athens International Airport (AIA).
Countries affected by the extension of suspended flights include Albania, Italy, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. A total of 5 Notams were issued with the following restrictions:
– All flights to and from Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom are suspended until May 31 (23:5).
– All flights to and from Albania, North Macedonia are suspended to June 14 (23:59).
– All flights from Turkey to Greece are suspended to June 14 (23:59).
– Until May 31 (23:59), all international flights are obliged to land at AIA.
Exceptions to the suspensions include cargo and emergency flights, military and Frontex flights, and flights to repatriate of Greek nationals, among others.
In addition, the ban of entry by non-EU nationals is extended to May 31 (23:59). The exception includes family members, citizens of Schengen zone countries, health personnel, and third-country citizens with long-term visas to EU or Schengen countries, civil and defense authorities, humanitarian personnel, airline crew, and any non-EU citizen with a travel permit issued by a Greek consulate.

We visited several beaches this week because the weather is really good. Very high temperatures, above 30 degrees Celsius on Skopelos. We only found locals and it was strange to see, people who normally we would not see, because they are so busy. It is a new thing, I know.


(Elios beach today, our dog was not the only visitor!)

Greece’s 515 organized beaches opened yesterday.
Businesses running beaches, renting out sun umbrellas and sunbeds opened but with restrictions. These include recording the number of bathers present (max. 40 people per 1,000 sqm), distances between umbrellas (minimum of 4 meters), and restrictions on the number of sunbeds per umbrella (two, except for families with minors). Bathers are also obliged to lie on their beach towels rather than the bed itself.
Beach bars only sell pre-packaged goods, while refreshment stands, coffee shops and the like operate as take-away, not allowing seating. The sale of alcoholic beverages is banned, and delivery is not allowed in the area. Music is also banned to avoid clusters of dancing people. Customers must keep a distance of 1.5 meters from one another while ordering. All group contact sports at beaches are also banned.


(beautiful shells found on Elios beach)

The government on Saturday proposed that the Health Ministry’s committee of health experts considers the opening of restaurants, cafes and similar establishments on May 25, that is one week earlier than June 1 as was scheduled

Source: Skopelosnews and Athens News Agency – Macedonian Press Agency

Greece is reading to welcome everybody that loves this country. When that will be and how is uncertain yet. I hope soon more will become clearer. Until then, stay safe.

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(I finally photographed these poppies on the road to Panormos , in Loutsa.
I had seen them several times in the last few days but I never stopped the car. Yesterday I made the decision to stop because I also saw that with one good wind gust this bouquet of poppies would be gone forever)

Walking up to my office this morning I found almost all shops and businesses open. There were even a couple of guys who had taken chairs and stools outside and were arguing loudly about current affairs. From Bisque, Skopelos Gi/Σκοπελος Γη, the little coffee shop, Sofia the hairdresser, the bakery, peparithos and Saintukeri we wish you a good day wherever you are.

At the moment there are various European countries, Greece is amongst them, who are talking about how the travel ban should be lifted and under which circumstances. Greece relies heavily on incoming tourism and many businesses are waiting for foreign customers this summer. Greece will also launch a plan to support Greeks who want to holiday in Greece.
This is what Greece proposes and what the Greek travel pages have written about it: Greece Proposes EU-wide 72-hour Pre-travel Covid-19 Test

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Connection


(the photo is from a couple of days ago when there was a beautiful sun shining on Alonissos and mount Palouki)

I have realized that in the weeks that we have been in quarantine now that communication is very important and really making an effort to get in touch with friends, family and relative strangers is vital for both sides. If others reach out to you need to stay in contact with them. They are making an effort and I should too! I try to think about someone who is single and might be alone at home. I will give them a call or send a message. Someone with children in an apartment somewhere in a big city. Somebody who is still working and worrying she might get infected.

I just wanted to thank the people who reached out to our family the last couple of weeks with their news, whether positive or negative. All the news was welcome. Here on this island we have no corona patients recorded and I have said it before, we have the beautiful nature around us, that is part of our lives and which we can use to refuel our batteries. So here it goes….

Thank you!
-all the readers of the blog who read and comment on the posts. Sorry I cannot name you all.
-Elisa from Italy who told me about what is happening in Italy. The song below I will always associate with you and your family and the tragedy that has hit Italy. The hospital of the city of Bergamo that was hit very hard is supported here.
-Alessandra in London who told me what is happening there and how she spends her days creatively with her two daughters but also her anguish about her family in the south of Europe.
-Sofia who sends me funny videos about how people spend time at home during the epidemic and who I saw outside her house, a couple of days ago with five meters apart. I am glad she is okay,
-Henk for sharing his family life and his daughters perils with choosing a new school,
-Anne Lize who shares what is happening in France,
-Helene for trusting me to write about her beloved husband Klaus,
-H. for sharing the news of the birth of his daughter
-Daphne for updating me on her family life with two strong sons in the house,
-Conny and Stefan who send me interesting articles about how the epidemic evolves in Germany,
-Sascha in Amsterdam who needs to run her catering business during this difficult time,
-N in Australia with updates about how she and her husband are doing,
-A. in England who apart from taking care of her family also works in an elderly home,
-A and M who run a toy store in the Netherlands and are still open although it is very tough to do so
-Christina K. who could not give a birthday party but was still very happy with a small cake that was brought to her,
-Nelly in Athens who I always thank when she calls me and she makes fun of me because of that,
-My elementary girlfriends from Holland who have their own things going on but who still keep in touch,
and many more

Heavy rains in the Sporades the last one and a half days. Skiathos has a lot of damage. Skopelos has also some damage but so far only some sand slides and fallen trees have been reported. The municipality was busy with taming the huge amount of water that came down streets, gutters and gorges. The weather will continue and very strong winds will emerge too!

The quarantine measures in Greece have been extended until the 27th of April. Tomorrow more news about that. Stay safe, stay home.

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I am thinking of the countries that are hit the hardest in this corona virus crises. The stories I hear are terrible. I hope that all people that are suffering right now will find comfort in the fact that most governments have plans in place that eventually will stop this virus from spreading and killing more people.

In Greece, on the Greek state channel ERT1, during the last two press conferences about the corona virus epidemic we have heard the specialists speak fairly optimistic about the results of the lock down of Greece. It is not spreading fast, certain areas in the north of Greece are in complete lock down and that is working.

This does not mean however that the measures concerning the lock down are going to soften the government say. In Thessaloniki a big part of the boulevard is closed part of the day and as of Monday boulevards of the cities of Patras and Volos will follow. In Patras you cannot walk there from 14.00 hours until 08.00 hours the following morning. In Volos it will be from 12.00 hours until 08.00 hours the next morning. The government desperately wants to avoid big crowds mingling.

Markets are a problem too so only 50% of the stall holders can be there one day and the other 50% the other day. Producers of fruits that have to come from far can send their fruit to the markets and friends, colleagues will sell the crop for them. Check ups are being performed and a close eye is being kept on the amount of people shopping there.

If people, especially in big cities don’t comply to the rules than the government will become stricter and will for instance not allow an outing for shopping or to take the dog for a walk to last beyond three hours and you cannot do more than two things per day, not send more than two sms’es.

Nobody can travel for Easter and go from the city to their holiday home. Toll booths might get closed off. To travel between different islands can also be forbidden. Not yet so far but we will see in the next days.

Yesterday the local online newspaper Vories Sporades reported that somebody had removed a big amount of sand from Milia beach. The whole island immediately started searching where the sand went. It was the talk of the day. The sand was found and now the police and port police will try and find the “guilty ones”. It is a shame that people think they can do whatever they want and harm the environment in such a way.

Oh yes, I finished the puzzle. One piece was missing! Patience, patience…. Next puzzle, 1500 pieces, onward and upward.

Stay safe, stay home.

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Final resting place

It is not uncommon when you take care of somebody in Greece who is not a blood relative that when this person dies you inherit/get a property. An aunt of my husband took care of a man for many years and after his death she inherited a house and a church. The church is called Agios (saint) Thodoras. Thodoras was the name of the man who built the church and who “donated” it to the aunt.

Because this is a “family” church we have the right to hold ceremonies there but we can also leave behind the last remains of beloved ones.

You probably know that most deceased in Greece get buried and after more than three years they are dug up and five bones from the body are recovered and put into a smaller coffin. Quite some weeks ago we had the church ceremony remembering my husband’s mother Margarita.

After the ceremony the small coffin (made by my husband) was taken to the Agios Thodoras church and there she will stand beside her husband’s coffin. Her final resting place.


The church is close to our house, higher up the hill. They are looking out over us, I know. I think it is a beautiful final resting place….


In the coffin with the photograph are the remains of Jannis his father.

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Over the years I have planted many bulbs, from my native country the Netherlands, in my garden. Many have not survived but I am always very happy when I see, for instance, one single tulip peaking out of a flower pot

It is and it will be a custom in Greece to wish everybody a good month and especially under these difficult circumstances that we are all living in it sounds even more heartfelt when you wish it to somebody. It might also be the start of a conversation that you can have with somebody who needs to cope, just like you and me with this phenomenon.

A couple of things.
1) The next few days will bring bad weather with rain, heavy winds (see below)

2) The Greek government has set up two projects where employers and employees are helped (at least in the next month) because of the corona virus. It concerns businesses that had to close because of the corona virus and employees that were (temporarily) fired because of the corona virus. Ask your accountant about it and how you can apply for a benefit.

3) In these times it is important, I think, that we, citizens think about the people that remain working and are helping to keep things running. In case of the people working for the municipality, who pick up the garbage, it is important that we make their life/work a little bit easier and not harder. The risk of contamination is a real possibility for them. If you have the chance to bring your garbage to the big bin and not leave it out on the street please do this.

4) If you need a new prescription for medicines it is possible to do this online. If you cannot get it directly from the health center anymore please write to me and I will write about it on the blog.

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Dear Skopelos news readers.

I hope you can help me find the owner of this house with the blue windows. On the house is a sign with the name Penelope.
In the house an alarm has been going of for the last couple of weeks and it is very loud. The neighbors have difficulty sleeping. They have asked me to help find the owner of the house.
If you know the owner or if you are the owner please write to me so we can try to turn the alarm off.

Daphne

Update: Heather Parsons has contacted me and told me she knows the owner and contacted her. Thank you everybody!!

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