A Skyros Holidays facilitator for many years, Kate Daniels writes here about her experience of life on Skyros island in Greece. Kate combines a background in theatre and jazz singing with being a family therapist, consultant and teacher at the Tavistock Institute.
Kate will be running her course 'Walk Tall, Feel Fabulous' at The Grange in the Isle of Wight from 18 to 20 May.
It is 2.30 in the afternoon. I am having a late lunch outside a bar in Linaria – the tiny port of Skyros island in Greece. I am alone. A beautiful and gracious young waiter has brought me my meal and disappeared. I have cut a lemon and squeezed the juice over my fish. Tomatoes soak plump and shiny in green virgin olive oil.
Everything has closed for the afternoon. Nothing stirs. The square is gleaming white in the sunshine. The sea shimmers. The stillness is almost palpable. If I reach out I can touch it, but I don’t want to move. My very breath will unsettle the air. If I close my eyes I can perhaps click a shutter and capture this peace...
Far away, somewhere, I know there is drama and crisis. Somewhere I know it feels as though the world has gone mad. The centre cannot hold... Not here. Here it feels safe. This ancient island is enduring and timeless. The azure sea enfolds its shores protecting it from human squalls on the mainland and beyond.
Day follows day in a happy routine indifferent to the blustering of the world.
Tomorrow old Stamatis will lead his donkey to the olive grove. Elderly ladies in black skirts will sweep and wash their steps as they do every morning while the kittens chase soapy bubbles among the cobbles of the lanes.
Vasso will emerge from the kitchen with great platters of food which we will devour, gossiping idly in the shade of the grapevine.
In the evening, we will sit on the terrace with a glass of wine and watch the sun settle over the hills. Christos will open his bar to serve glasses of golden Greek liqueur, and we will dance under the stars.
The slow, gentle rhythm of life on Skyros Island will continue and I, who have travelled from the chaos of a London airport, will step to its pace.
So too my fellow travellers, those Skyros Centre participants who have come here to shed the demands of their worlds beyond the Aegean, to play and learn, swim and lie in the sun, laugh, relax and make friends. Feel nurtured.
Skyros is such a place of tranquillity and healing in the midst of all the raging storms around us. Come and see.
Skyros Holidays, 'the first and still the best' alternative holiday (The Guardian) offers holidays with a wide range of courses including yoga, writing, life skills, windsurfing, sailing, art, music and much more. Do as much or as little as you want. Relax and enjoy the good food and great company.