onsdag 23 april 2014

Poros - a (re)treat for your soul

Even if it has been 2-3 years between our visits to Poros, each time we come back it feels like ”yesterday”. Poros is a charming small island to return to – several times. The relaxed atmosphere and the close distance to Athens is two strong reasons why.

Only 1,5 hours boat trip  from Pireus, makes Poros the perfect spot for those who wants to combine the intensity of the city with the slow life of a small island. To enhance the feeling of beeing at home - away from home, we love to stay in one of the Storoloi houses, which we rent from Marie Louise. For more information: www.storoloi-poros.gr

The irresistable celebrations of the Greek Easter 
This time around we are here during the Greek Easter. If you have never experienced the Greek Easter traditions -you should! Embraced by all Greeks, Easter (Pascha) is the most celebrated feast in Greek culture. Rich in tradition and custom, it is the highlight of the religious calendar.

The easter week is called the Holy Week and the holiest day is Holy Friday. It is a day of strict mourning and fasting. Flags are hung at half-mast and church bells ring all day in a slow mournful tone. On Holy Friday even those who are not religious fast.

Special candles are made for Easter.These candles are used for the Easter midnight service, which is the climax of the Orthodox year. Nearly all Greeks, religious and non-religious, attend this service.
A few minutes before midnight all lights were switched off and the priest appeared at the altar, holding a lit candle. The light represents the glorifying of Christ, who has risen from the dead. The light was then passed on until all the candles were lit.

The midnight service in church ended with fireworks to celebrate that Christ has risen from the dead.
This is the end of the fasting and the beginning of a couple of days of serious feasting!

People eat and party the rest of the night and the eating continues on the Easter Sunday - the day of feasting. Lamb on the spit is rolling all over the town of Poros.... and you feel the smell of barbequed lamb coming from all  restaurants and back yards. The sound of the church bells has been transformed into Greek music, frequently interrupted by firecrackers.

Does the trends reach Poros?
As you probably already understood Poros is not the most happening place in Greece, so if you're looking for action, you should maby go to Mykonos instead. Life moves on in a slow pace and the biggest happening of the day is to watch the cruise ships that arrives with passengers for lunch and then moves o to Hydra and the other islands close by.

Our last visit to Poros was 2 1/2 years ago and we have spent the last couple of days entertaining ourselves with trying to find out if there is any changes at all since then....is there any new trends happening in Poros? Well, except for some establishments that has closed down, we have picked up on a few new "trends" on the Island since 2011:

Interior design has hit the town of Poros
The interior design trend has hit the island and it seems like IKEA has got a break through. There are not only ashtrays, but small pot- and lamp decorations on the tables in the restaurants and bars. The souvenir shops are selling Laura Ashley influenced stuff.
There is even a local shop that is offering everything that you can't find at IKEA (Athens)...

Even the traditional olive-oil-flower-buckets outside the houses and restaurants tend to have been replaced by colourful plastic pots from IKEA.... Hmmm – I’m not convinced. Somehow I prefer the olive-cans.
The traditional blue and white has got competition from pale pastel colours or bright greens and pinks- this might have to do with the interior design trend.

The lack of stray cats and dogs....
On our earlier visits to Poros we were surrounded by all kinds of homeless shabby animals. Where has all the stray cats and dogs disappeared? Most of them are gone and replaced by gentrified, well-kept ‘accessories-dogs’. It seems like Poros animal welfare society has done a good job!

Four wheeled bikes are taking over
The mopeds, repaired with all kinds of spare parts, will soon be a relic from a bygone era. Modern 4-wheel moped-monsters have started to take over the island.
On the other hand, We can understand why these vehicles are more convenient. A moped in Greece is used for all kinds of transportations: everything from carrying luggage, transporting huge cans of olive oil or simply taking the kids to school.

Home delivery
Pizza delivery has been possible for many years but it seems like the delivery service has expanded to all kinds of eatable stuff. Macaroni, burgers, icecream, drinks, a sack of lemons or some cash.

Warm but be prepared for the humidity
Ususally we prefer to come to Poror in early spring or in the autumn. This year it's warm and sunny during daytime but the wind is still a bit chilly at night. It takes time for the houses to get warm because of the limited heating and the humidity from the sea.
If you are planning a visit to Poros in spring time we recommend you to bring something warm to sleep in.

Text & photos by Lilian and Teija

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