Makis, the monastery, & scrambled eggs
Invisible to the bare eye are the stories that are hidden throughout this aristocratic Island. Dishes that conceal an anecdote or a tale, statues that symbolise its rich maritime history, monasteries that delve into the spiritual and philanthropic. Everything on this island masks a story. Andros, the majestic island that has not yet surrendered to mass tourism, offers genuine, rustic Greek Island experiences; experiences that will leave your palate begging for more and the nature lover in you imploring for one more walk.
We met our self-appointed ‘tour guide,’ Maki, when we were desperately seeking a battery charger (yes, we FORGOT to bring one). After asking every single local we encountered in the town of Chora, the unanimous answer was Maki, the Island photographer. We found, the highly animated, garden of information, Maki and not only did he save us from NOT having any photos from the trip we came to take photos for but he also took it upon himself to be our tour guide. Moral of this paragraph: As soon as you set foot on a Greek Island, find yourself a local. Befriend him or her.
Our first ‘attraction’ was Saint Eirini’s Monastery. Driving along the winding road, through the mountainous terrain, we’d get glimpses of the magnificent Aegean Sea down below. The monastery itself is surrounded by a stone complex of separate buildings and has a ‘turbulent’ 230 year history. It’s been deserted, sold, deserted again. In 2007 it was bought and beautifully restored by Lefteris Polemis, a prominent captain and ship-owner. You will not see nuns and monks at Saint Eirini; just Mrs. Chrysanthi and Mrs. Soula who take meticulous care of the complex.
As we approach, standing outside of a small door, both ladies are trying to see who we are. As soon as they realise it is Maki that is walking towards them, with big smiles and open arms, they practically push us into their spotless little kitchen. “Maki, what do you want to eat. Girls??” Are Mrs. Soula’s first words. “No. No thank you. We’re good.” We all say. She takes out the sausage, eggs, lard, parsley and pan regardless. “Come with me to the garden to get tomatoes.” She looks at me and Chryssa. We go. As she picks the tomatoes, she tells us that she wants to add Skype to her phone so she can talk to her grandchildren.
We can say TWO things with certainty. 1) We have never felt more welcome and 2) It was THE BEST ‘*Strapatsada’ we’ve ever had. Ever.
*A type of scrambled eggs whose basic ingredients, other than eggs, are tomatoes. Mrs. Soula added local sausage, lard, & parsley.