Kostas family owns several small plots of land on the island and he is turning a two hundred year old olive grove into a new vineyard. The land, location, and soil here is virginal. It is also located right next to a monastery that is known for miracles if you pray here.
The piece of land is ready to plant and we need to measure out the spacing for each vine. We are waiting for Manolis who is an expert wall builder and with this skill set he is also known for accurately measuring out a vineyard using simple string and a marked rope. As we were waiting for Manolis, I visited the church and hiked nearby to a beach that I haven’t been to. The property owner was more than happy to show me where the key was so I can access the private beach. Another cozy cove but I still like the beach next to the farm, χοχλακουρα, more.
I had a feeling that Kostas might be looking for me since I’ve been gone for awhile now. Last I left him he was taking a short nap which he needs; being a farm is hard work! Walking back I saw a group of the local farmers sitting in the shade taking a smoke break. I was able to meet each one and really hang out with the locals. I learned a few new words and drank coffee with them. Everyone here is so kind and the people govern themselves very well. I feel safe and very much at home here.
Manolis finally came and he helped set up how we are going to mark the land to plant to the vines. No machine automation here but good ole muscle and sweating blood to get the job done. Since I am the only person here at the farm to help for a few days before somebody new arrives, it’s going to be a big job.
After coming back from Patmos I think everyone was exhausted. We totally did the walk of shame after spending the night in Patmos unexpectedly so it was great that we all took the day off and rested.
For several days now we have been mostly preparing the garden and vineyard as more of the fruits will be producing. Some crops will be removed for different as the warm weather is coming in. Kostas, Manon, and I continued to till the vineyards, about two hundred and fifty more vines one day and weeding the garden the following days. On an organic farm everything is accounted for. Most of what we do is weeding for the compost and is a food source for the goats. Nothing truly goes to waste here and the trash that the farm produces weekly is equivalent to what we produce a day in the states. Recycling is a big thing in Greece and we have designated bags for paper, metal and plastics that every home and establishment hangs outside on the fence for pickup. There is no big waste bins so its not so smelly around here. In Greece, there is no paper flushing down the toilet instead it’s thrown in a trash can which is interesting. My rule of thumb is fold like it like a diaper because no one wants to see your s*** (pun totally intended).
I’ve been cooking a lot for our dinners and most lunches. It’s amazing that most of what I make comes from the garden such as lemons, beans, eggplants, peppers, lettuce, romaine, onions, and garlic. I’ve been making vegetarian soups and we have salad with every meal. I had thought that we would be able to have tzatziki all the time but we are eating according to season and what we are producing at the farm. We also get fresh spinach from Alecko’s farm and it is the best tasting spinach I’ve ever had. My challenge everyday is cooking within resource and I can get pretty creative with lemons now. When life gives you lemons you don’t always have to make lemonade.
It’s been so stormy here in Lipsi which makes the internet slow and the 2K walk, each way, not fun.
Finally my first day off and we are heading off to another island to explore. Of the Dodecanese islands, Patmos has religious significance; St. John received a vision from Jesus to write the Book of Revelations in now what is known as the Cave of the Apocalypse.
The island itself is beautiful, twice the size of Lipsi. As you arrive to the marina in Patmos, you see beautiful white homes on such a lush green mountain side overlooking the bluest of blues Aegean Sea. Our boat passed a small islet with just one home on it and a farm. What paradise is this that you can live on a small islet all for yourself and swim to main island if needed? As you enter into the marina you notice the windmills and the highest peak in Patmos is crowned with what looks like a castle and a small town surrounding it. Just absolutely breathtaking and the adventurer in me is screaming!
It was great to have Kostas show us around Patmos. We visited the cave of St. John which had a very strong and dark spiritual aura. Soon after we zipped up to the mysterious town of the highest peak, Chora. Chora is about fifteen hundred years old and has maintained it’s traditional and tranquil integrity. I enjoyed feeling the nostalgia of this old town, walking through the narrow cobbled stoned streets, admiring the thousand year old buildings still standing and still with so much life. Later in the evening we returned to Chora to have drinks in an old bar of this old town where I sipped on Greek brandy and soaked up this moment.
The castle on top of the peak is the Monastery of St. John the Theologian. Many monks live here and we were able to explore the monastery. I found my way to the rooftop and took in the beautiful view with my eyes, soul, and camera. We then visited all of the beautiful spots of Patmos, from beaches to the highest point of the island for a full spectacular view. Kostas then took us to a beach with a boulder on the shore. Legends say that this is a comet so I had to climb it.
We decided to catch the late boat which never came and ended up staying in Patmos overnight and took the next day off to rest and daydream about our adventure in Patmos.