Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Home Again

There’s a mound of letters on the kitchen table, a string of messages on the answerphone, two suitcases stuffed full of clothes to be washed, and a camera bursting with memories of Skiathos. 

Outside, and after two weeks of unremitting Greek sunshine there’s the forgotten sound of rain and the unwelcome sight of grey British skies. Looking to the bottom of the garden I can see the barbecue cover plastered over the berberis - no need to enquire of recent weather then? So instead I’ll spend an hour or two updating the blog and then worry about other normalities of life. 

There was WiFi at The Ostria but with a wedding to attend, and a burning desire to explore beautiful Skiathos once more after a visit in 2007, the best I could manage on the Internet was a couple of sessions with clumsy big fingers over a tiny Asus netbook. So apologies to message leavers and blog followers, I will catch up with you all as soon as poss. 

Hotel Ostria is tucked away in a secluded spot some 50 yards from the main coastal road which runs through Agia Paraskevi, a little tourist spot some five miles from the hustle and bustle of Skiathos Town. The resort has a fine beach, lovely surrounding countryside and most importantly, more than enough tavernas to satisfy a 14 night stay. Skiathos Town is a Euro 1.60 bus ride away for the obligatory shopping trips or to board a ferry or tourist boat to neighbouring islands. Angela Merkel is not popular in Skiathos where tee shirts or advertising boards bearing legends deride the German Chancellor. 

 Skiathos Town

Skiathos Town

 Boat Trip Skiathos 

At this point I give an unashamed plug to The Hotel Ostria run by the wonderful Matthinou family, together with my recommendation that should anyone wish to visit Skiathos there cannot be a finer, more welcoming and peaceful place to stay. “Arrive as a guest, leave as a friend” seems to be the family’s working mantra. In a lovely hillside setting and with less than 30 rooms this small hotel has beautifully spacious grounds with vegetable plots, varied fruit trees and vines, the origin of much of the food which is served. Makis is justly proud of his fine Aubergines. 

Makis at Hotel Ostria

Apart from the resident Hooded Crows and House Sparrows the first bird I saw here was a juvenile Red-backed Shrike which frequented the hedgerow leading down to Makis’ vegetable plot. There was an eclectic mix of species in the grounds of the hotel or along the nearby lanes, both Red-rumped Swallows and Barn Swallows hawked the swimming pool and on cooler mornings, Common Swifts or Alpine Swifts above plus regular parties of Bee Eaters. Spotted Flycatchers were daily inhabitants of the hotel's grounds.

The commonest small bird around the hotel, and possibly the island was the humble Great Tit, perhaps due to the species ability to exploit the countless nesting cavities in the millions of olive trees which cover the island. 

Red-backed Shrike

Bee Eaters

Spotted Flycatcher

 House Sparrow

Great Tit

Red-rumped Swallow - Photo credit: Perry van Munster • Photography / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA 

Back to normal soon for Another Bird Blog with more Skiathos pictures, new book reviews and local news.

So don't forget to ‘click the pics’ and remember, you read it here first. And I'm linking today to Stewart's Gallery .


Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Phil Welcome back. Lovely reading your blog adn finding out that you had a great time in a great hotel. Lovely photos especially the Bee Eaters. NO get on with the washing etc and I look forwad to seeing what other treasure you found on your hoildays.

Gunilla Bäck said...

Looks like a wonderful place. I like the bee eaters. I'm looking forward to seeing more photos from your trip.

Russell Jenkins said...

Some nice birds amongst all that serenity, Phil. The sky reminds me of home. Glad you had a great trip.

Kay L. Davies said...

I wouldn't be blogging much if I were in a place like that, Phil, bursting with beauty and birds.
The bee eaters, of course, impress those of us who live in the wild, wild west and see nothing more exotic than a red-winged blackbird.
Glad you had such a good time. The hotel does sound wonderful.

Kenneth C Schneider said...

It was obviously a wonderful trip. Like you, I hate all the unpacking after returning home.

Carol L McKenna said...

Fantastic bird shots and Greece shots are great and so inviting ~ carol, xo

Karen said...

A holiday in Greece! how wonderful. Great bird shots, love the Bee Eaters!

Gail Dixon (La.Belle) said...

Welcome home! What a beautiful place to visit and you even got some gorgeous shots of the local birds. Very, very nice!

grammie g said...

Hey Phil Well glad your home safe and freezing your butt of, well after being in the lovely warm weather you will be complaining soon : ))

You know I think there must not be a place in the world where there isn't a House Sparrow ... I know you have a shortage of them there, but Walmart here has so many that there flying around inside the store !!

Lovely birds from your lovely trip , now it is back to beating the bushes to find those birdies!!

Gracie : )

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, welcome back! I hope you enjoyed the wedding and Greece looks wonderful. The hotel, birds and scenery all wonderful sights. One of my favorite birds are the bee-eaters. They are gorgeous. Greece is on my bucket list of places to visit. Thanks for sharing some of your trip!

Christian Perrin said...

A lovely selection of Mediterranean birds! We have the 'Rainbow' Bee-eater in Australia, but that European species seems more colourful if you ask me.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Red Rumped Swallow, that is a new one for me, and quite a love too. Your stay sounds like it was picture perfect in every way possible. We shall leave in 2 weeks for 21 days and I so hope our journey is as kind to us. The image shares Phil, should be seen on a travel brochure...gorgeous. Glad you all had a grand time~

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