Monday, 21 September 2015

Days six - storms, Evangelistria monastery,21st September,

A cloudy day today, after immense storms during the night.
I was woken around 2AM by the thunder and lightning. I went out onto the balcony of our room to marvel at nature. WOW! This was one hell of a storm! Even though I was well under the balcony, I was still getting wet with splashes from the deluge pouring down. They don't 'do' gutters much here, as they don't usually need them. Tonight, they really needed them. Water was flooding some parts of the hotel (we were OK), and even coming through a couple of the corridor skylights! The poor owner said he'd lived there 38 years, and never seen this much rain in such a short time.

You can see short videos of the storm from our balcony, click Here HERE HERE HERE and HERE

At breakfast, the rain still hadn't abated.
This was our patio view. Click HERE

We now had the car, so decided to drive to the end of the main road, bus stop 18 - Koukanaries. The rain had stopped, but there were heavy clouds all around.
We sat on the mostly deserted beach, and watched the storm approaching!
Click HERE to see the lightning striking out at sea.

Not much of a photo' day, but we still enjoyed the show (and got to read some of our holiday books). We watched from our car as the car park at Koukanaries filled with water, eventually to calf depth. How do I know? Well, a gallant guy gave his wife a piggy-back to the bus stop, and that's where the water came to on his legs! The people already at the stop gave him a big round of applause. The rain came with a vengeance. So much so, that the imminent scheduled bus didn't turn up for over an hour! When it did, the dozen or so people at the stop had to walk down to road to get on - there was no WAY the driver was going to take his bus into what looked like a swimming pool!

When the storm calmed, we drove off to bus stop 18, parked up, and did another restaurant on the bucket list. This one was called 'Orsa'. Although opposite another one that was rated, the salt and pepper, we decided either would be good.
Again, super food, this time our first beef stifado.

We thought, with the weather as it was, we'd just do a bit of exploring in the car. Now, apart from the one main road on Skiathos, a lot of the others are 'interesting'! After the sat nav tried to send us up a flight of steps, I turned it off, and we resorted to map reading. Twisting and turning, we managed to get quite high up. Here's a view over the airport and Skopelos.

This was one place we were hoping to find, Platanos restaurant.
The entrance is very welcoming.

Some great objects in the courtyard, these shells are some of the biggest I've ever seen.

A nice old anchor (and there was a propeller there too).

Of course, we weren't hungry after the Orsa feast, so we just had a coffee and                                                        took in the panoramic views.

We pressed on, stopping at this chapel. 
Why wouldn't you? These places are dotted around the island, and look simple enough, but inside........

Amazing! And just open to the public. I can't imagine how they'd fare in the UK.

Each one. no expense spared. Just look at that lovely chandelier and floor.
Icons and paintings of saints all over the place.

Intricate murals too.
Saint George seemed to be a favourite, here and in others we'd visited.

This sign pointed to another 'must do', as described by previous visitors and friends, the Evagelistria monastery. We parked the car, and decided to walk to the monastery.

What a lovely, simple and surprisingly new-looking building. We were expecting an antiquity.

This is where the jaw-dropping starts!
This place is incredible, it really is. From the dozens of cats around the place, to the herb gardens, the intricate stonework, you really just HAVE to be there to take it all in.

This part was out of bounds - it was the monks living quarters.

What a peaceful place to walk and think. You can't help but feel reverent when here. Look how well this land is tended.

The shrimp plant, as it's known. Sue told me, and I can see why.

The terraces of fresh herbs.

Cats relaxing in the courtyard.

I saw into a room where there was what looked like a senior monk. He was talking to a couple in hushed tones. We went in gingerly, feeling as if we were almost desecrating the place by just being there. I can't explain why, it just felt like that.
We saw a younger monk by the door, fingering his prayer beads, and looking deep in meditation. He looked up briefly and smiled.
The older monk had, by now, finished talking to the other couple, who left. 
He engaged us, and was really, really friendly. He exuded calm. We liked him right away. I asked if it was OK to take pictures inside, and he said yes, but no flash on the paintings. No problem.
We looked up at this stunning ceiling. To see it is to wonder! HOW was it done? So many styles, and tiny bricks. Was one of the monks a master builder?

I asked the old monk. He said no, it was all done by a group of the brothers. Where did they acquire such skills, I asked? He told me they built it on the ground again and again, until it was perfect. They then transferred their knowledge to the roof, and this was the result.
I have NEVER seen anything like it before!

We left, astounded. Back to normality, as these kittens briefly raised their heads from their afternoon nap to see what we were up to.

Back in Skiathos town, we parked up and walked into town along the harbour road, with views over the harbour. 
 That sky still looks VERY angry, doesn't it?

We ate at 'Portabello'. This time we had the moussaka, another traditional Greek dish. Again, tasty to the max! Their garlic bread was great - something we're specialists on!

We again strolled back down Papadiamanti street, taking in the ambiance of the place.
Then, a few spots of rain started to fall. Then a LOT of rain. We ducked under the canopy of a creperie. Of course, it would have been rude not to have one - so we did. Sue loves them, I'm not as fussed, but I must admit, it was lovely. The rain came really hard again, and the shop opposite the creperie was selling small umbrellas for five euros. Someone joked they were only three euros when it wasn't raining ;-)
By the time we left, the rain had eased a little, so we didn't get really wet. Not as it mattered. It was warm, we'd had a great day, and we still had a large portion of our holiday left.
What's not to like? :-)

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