We arrived home at 3 am last Thursday after a wonderful 45 days in the Greek cyclades and have decided we're committed to slow travel. It was great to have four or five days on each of the nine islands we visited to explore, relax, or just hang out. By the end of October the tourist season is winding down and therefore less choice in accommodation and restaurants, but also fewer tourists. We were very fortunate with the weather (which was equivalent to a pleasant NS summer) and had only one morning and two evenings of rain (all within the final week). Spent regular time on the beaches, walked a lot (good thing as we ate a lot) met wonderful people, saw a multitude of historic sites, travelled with locals on buses, ferries and even rented dune buggies twice. Just generally enjoyed ourselves to the max. I overheard the shore captain describing the vacation to a seafood industry colleague and he said "neither of us try to be anyone other than who we are and the Greeks appreciate that, so it went well" which kind of sums it up. So I offer the following photos (in non chronological order) as additional documentation of a wonderful (and highly recommended) vacation:
|windmill on Paros|
|Church of 100 Doors front - Paros|
|4th century Church - back|
|Archeological Museum - Paros|
|Kalotaritissa Beach - Donors|
|Ferry in Koufonissi|
|Beach - Schinoussa|
|Sunset-Villa Meltimi, Iraklia|
|Kitties even on the beaches|
|Goats in Apollona, Naxos|
|Swimming with fishes Folegandros|
|St Nicklaus Beach, Folegandros|
|Aglia Beach, Folegandros|
|Roman catacombs, Milos|
|Blue Star ferry from Pireaus|
|Sunset - Notas Studios, Schinoussa|
|Ferry terminal, Paros|
|Paros by dune buggy|
|Monastery - Paros|
|Exquisite churches everywhere|
To extend our Mediterranean cuisine, I made fassolada (Greek bean stew) which our hostess in Kimolos had made us for lunch one day and it's delicious. The recipe which I found on Greek website called Kopiaste will be included as a meatless dish going forward:
|Fassolada - yum!|
Fassolada (Greek Beans Stew)
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
- 250 grams (8.8 oz) navy or other white beans
- ½ cup of olive oil
- 1 big onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped (optional)
- 3 carrots, sliced is rounds and halved
- 1 big potato, cut into cubes
- 3 – 4 celery stalks, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 5 fresh tomatoes or 1 can of whole tomatoes with sauce, blended with 1can tomato paste
- Freshly grated black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 organic vegetable bouillon
- 2 cups water
- Soak the beans in water overnight.
- Drain the water and place the beans in a pot with fresh water. Boil for a while and remove any froth which arises. Drain once again.
- In a pot heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, spices and mix. Add the tomato, blended with the tomato paste and the vegetable bouillon dissolved in hot water. Add more water if needed to cover it and make it soupy.
- At this point you can either continue cooking it on the stove top or transfer it to a “gastra” (similar to Dutch oven) and continue baking it in the oven. Bake for two hours in a preheated oven to 200oC (400oF). After half an hour, stir the stew and discard the bay leaves, cover again with the lid and continue cooking until done.
- If you wish to continue cooking it on the stove top, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until soft, for about an hour and a half, mixing regularly. Add more water if necessary.
- After about an hour, remove lid and cook uncovered until the sauce thickens, stirring regularly
Next plan will be for cooking up gigantes or giant beans (a type of large runner beans) which are baked in the oven. Even brought some of the seeds home so the gentleman farmer can grow a crop next summer.
Had the grandson over for the day on Sunday and he's grown a couple of inches and put on about 10 lbs. since I'd seen him in July. I have missed seeing him the past three months - travelling is fine but missing grandchildren is a problem. So grown up now, reading extremely well, great math skills and just as amusing - the yarns, the yarns just as his father shared at that age. He was questioning me about how old I was when he was born and I told him, then he asked about my year of birth which I named as 1956. He was amazed and said "Nanak, did kids have to carry water from the well in a bucket back then?" I was speechless and sent him to his grandfather for the answer. Just because I can remember a hand pump in the kitchen as a child….
On Monday morning we headed to the physiotherapist for a double appointment, or as northern patients often describe "kind of like….but not". So kind of like a date….. but not. Since we both got adjusted and taped, the life partner suggested we buy a bottle of wine in a couple of days and take turns ripping the tape off each other.
The intent of the shore captain upon return home has been duck hunting, but today was the first morning he managed to get out in the boat. Everything from having to apply for his migratory game permit online (now that was a performance!) to getting up two mornings in a row to look at the weather but not going (and then sighing and muttering upon hearing shooting later) readying the boat and gear multiple times and finally bringing home one coot today. Bit more of a challenge than flocks of large snow geese at low levels this spring, think he's been spoiled.
Managed to get a few minutes to visit with the buddy I'll be cruising with shortly. This is the 10th anniversary of the first trip we enjoyed and we are planning to 'surprise' SuperMario, someone my friend spent a fair bit of time with that first cruise - he's a guy who spends 50 weeks of the year on Royal Caribbean ships, having just recently celebrated his 7000th day at sea on the Enchantment of the Seas. According to the media photos he hasn't aged as well as my friend , guess that's what living on cruise ships for years does to you. Hoping to snap a few photos of the 'oh hello there' event when we connect. Surprise!
This time of year always brings lots of angst with the approaching lobster season and intensity increased this fall as the Department of Fisheries & Oceans changed regulations last month involving the leasing of licenses - trust agreements (whereby a captain fishes a license for another in a leased arrangement) are no longer permitted if the captain already owns one license - a common occurrence as these years, stacked licenses are how a living is made. This is supposedly to remove the corporate takeover of the industry but in reality most of these arrangements (some for many years) are within family enterprises (as with the shore captain and boy captain) and must be changed with the license sold/permanently transferred. Although this may have been the intent (eventually) it has caused much immediate scrambling between fishermen, fishery associations, bankers and lawyers with raised voices, pacing and gesturing. Ultimately, there will be little change to the number of licenses and who fishes them which is the supposed intent. Sigh.
The shore captain has offered first week mentoring to a captain who has obtained a lobster license this year and was pleased to have been asked. Having been involved with the lobster industry for decades, he wasn't looking fondly at missing the adrenaline rush. I however, am thrilled to be travelling and thus miss the lead up to and first day excitement / frenzy. Luck or good planning on my part? I'll take it.
Tomorrow we're off on a bit of a road trip as we head to the city for a routine oncology appointment, overnight to visit with the granddaughter who is now walking and discovering many new things, pick up a 7th birthday gift (a globe has been settled on) for the grandson, squeeze in an afternoon visit with a friend in the area, drop the shore captain off at the airport early on Saturday (he's flying out to visit with the oldest daughter where they'll attend a hockey game in Montreal that night and a football game on Sunday before he heads back Monday morning) while I travel to Cape Breton to visit with a buddy in her new apartment and pick up mister on the Monday return. A busy four days.
Nice to have some time in the beautiful area of the world we live in, enjoy the grandkids a bit, putter on projects and generally enjoy life for a couple of months. Not winter mind you but….that's another update to fill in those details.