I wrote this post many days ago, and never posted it. It's all old news now, but thought you might enjoy reading about the first half of our experience on the beautiful island of Skopelos...
Settling into Skopelos has been wonderful. I feel like we may be getting spoiled by choosing this island as our first stopping point. The host of this workaway is Heather, who has been lovely, as she would say, and each day has brought new things for us to see and experience. In addition to trail clearing, Heather also does hiking tours around the island and has invited us to go along with her. Hiking has allowed us to see more of the island and to learn more of its history, both ancient and recent.
On Tuesday we did our first hike, which was from one end of the island to the other (the short, narrow part) and ended at the beach. The hike turned into a tasting tour as the fruit on the trees are ripe this time of year.
We started off by finding some ripe blackberries growing along the trail, and all of a sudden we smelled some figs. Sure enough, there was a tree with ripe figs growing low enough for us to pick a few and try them. Shortly after that we came across a plum tree, then a peach tree with one perfect peach growing, and then Jay found a vine with some ripened grapes.
Finally, we crossed through a field where there was a walnut tree growing and we smashed a couple walnuts to get to the ripe meat. Jay and a woman in the group were the foragers, and kept us supplied with the delicious fruit. It made the hike much more fun and we all marveled at the luck we had with finding all this bounty.
It was very hot, and we were all relieved to finally reach the beach after a mostly uphill and finally long downhill climb lasting about 3.5 hours. After a refreshing dip in the sea, and a short rest, we returned back to Skopelos town.
That evening, we greeted the next workawayers who joined us. Two adorable Italian young men fit right into our group. Wednesday we all crammed into the jeep and rode up to the trail to do some more clearing. During our allotted 5 hours of work (including travel time) we uncovered more border stones, cleared a great deal of plant growth from the trail, making it more hike-able, and found stone steps that were part of the old trail. We fought away wasps, and endured scratches from the sharp needles and thorns of the vegetation that covered the trails. We worked on the trail until the sun overwhelmed us, and then moved on to a part of the trail that was still shaded.
Fabio found one of these gigantic spiders that hide in the dirt and screamed, “Ooh la la!” which made me and Heather hysterical. Finally, when we were absolutely exhausted, Heather called it quits and we gathered up all the tools and made our way back up the trail to the jeep.
One of the women in the town wants to help Heather with her project, and so made us a lunch, which we ate upon arriving at the beach.
Swimming in the cool Aegean Sea was so refreshing and relaxing and we spent the rest of the afternoon there. Ironically, despite all the wasps at the worksite, Jay got stung while sitting at a restaurant, and Fabio and Cristian showed us how to make a poultice of eucalyptus leaves, lavender and sage and I put it on Jay’s leg which was swollen from the nasty sting.
Today we did another hike where we met another group of really nice and friendly people.
This group was from the Netherlands and Sweden. We had a nice time getting to know them and after the hike all sat down and had a cold drink together.
Back at the hotel, Jay is having a nice nap.Tomorrow is another work day. It will already be Friday and we are leaving on Monday.