The weather here on Skiathos is so changeable at the moment. Throwing open the shutters first thing, through the lilac haze of dawn I can just see the sun breaking through with a promise of a glorious sunny and warm day ahead. Then, barely a couple of hours later and without warning, high, chilly winds suddenly pick up, skies cloud over and, out of the blue, torrential rains follow.
The sunsets are spectacular!
Hues of purple, lilac and peach make one stop and stare in wonder – till the chill pierces through to the bone as temperatures drop as unexpectedly and as quickly as the sun dips below the horizon. They’re still low enough at night to warrant the lighting of the fire.
There’s a severe warning for the coming weekend so today, anxious to escape the dust and incessant drilling at the villa (where building work is in full swing again) I thought I’d take advantage of a sunny spell and head for the hills.
I’m often asked what I think it is about Skiathos that makes it a destination people return to time after time. I’ve always answered “It’s size!” (amongst other things of course) because while it’s small enough to be intimate it’s just large enough to constantly hold surprises. I’ve been visiting Skiathos for over 30 years and I still come across areas I never knew existed. Today was such a day. On the far western, undeveloped side of the island I found myself following a completely new (to me anyway, though I’ve since learned it was cut through about five years ago) wide dirt track that led to remote untouched beaches I had previously thought all but inaccessible, such as ‘Krifi’ Amos’ (or hidden beach).
Where the spring flowers cling to the very edge of the wind-swept cliffs:
The seas on the nothern side of the island are always that much rougher than the secluded, sheltered bays on the southern side and today, with the huge rollers and breakers, the swell of the surf, and white foam dashing on to rocks, the northern Aegean could easily have been mistaken for the Pacific ocean!
The beaches are particularly beautiful at this time of year, totally deserted with not a single bronzed body, a sun bed or beach umbrella in sight.
Noting in the distance the purple storm clouds gathering over the mountains on the mainland I turned my back on the howling winds and deafening sea as it crashed on the shores and within a few moments inland, found myself in the completely still fertile valleys and forests of the interior where by complete contrast, in a hushed silence broken only by the sound of birdsong and the occasional jangling of bells, the only other signs of life were some goats grazing contentedly on a hillside.
Throughout the valley the vibrant purple flowers of the Judas trees are gradually coming in to bloom and will soon be seen all over the island in their full glory – but by Easter their short-lived display will be over.
And talking about the colour purple, I’ve just noticed my hands! Time to put another log on the fire…….