It’s fantastic when you read about peoples revelations and discovery that bodies aren’t shameful they’re just bodies. Well done Kate 🙂
Good evening and welcome to fantastic Greek fine dining Καλησπέρα και καλωσορίστε στο φανταστικό ελληνικό φαγητό
So here we are after a 20 minute walk into town. In my opinion the best restaurant in Skiathos – Taverna Alexandros run by Magda Mavrogialis and her family. Don’t take my word for it Trip Advisor have the low down Alexandros Taverna reviews Address is Εκκλησία Τριών Ιεραρχών, (Church of the Father Son and Holy Ghost) Skiathos 370 02, Google Maps code Greece, 5F6Q+R3 Skiathos, Greece. Tel +30 2427 022431
I was introduced to this restaurant by Flora and Terry. We met port side and had an aperitif at one of the bar/restaurants that has nice armchairs where you can sip your Gin and Tonics and Ouzos and watch people go by. Of course, nicely showered, coiffured and dressed in our going out togs you would think that we wouldn’t recognise each other since there would be few reference points but we did. Thats the thing about naturism, you talk to each other and focus on what is being said and people’s faces. Naturists tend to be much more attentive and engaging than other folks. So no we didn’t have that jokey sorry I didn’t recognise you with your clothes on moment.
The Greeks are a generous nation and even though you only ordered drinks they brought us little bowls of nuts and crisps at no charge. We sat in the comfy armchairs under the string of overhead lights, sipped our Gins and watched the waiters hustle the main tourist trade. Suddenly being a breed apart felt comfortable and natural. OK I was with Flora and Terry and they were practically locals, but we weren’t being hustled and it was relaxing to chat about the day with no thought of the outside world and just discover our commonalities. That six degrees of separation conversation where you find out your are both related to Louis XIV or have an aunt that lives in Cambridge; not that we have either in common.
After a bit of chit chat and some people watching, oh and Terry getting up every 5 minutes to talk to someone else that knew him – people of all nationalities, Dutch, Greek Norwegian, Phillipino and Welsh. Whatever Terry was you couldn’t say he wasn’t gregarious. We headed off along the harbour side up to the “Steps” Now the Steps are the main evening attraction, people meeting place and general hang out place. Cocktail bars, Wine bars, Beers and Margaritas on one side whilst the steps themselves are covered with brightly coloured cushions and little hand made tables all at low level right up to the old fence that prevents you falling down the cliff onto the lower harbour side. It’s a favourite place to sit and take in the warm evening air and watch the twinkling lights of the boats below and the occasional fishing boat coming in from their days hard work. It’s also a magic place to watch the European Cup Football but thats a story for another time.
Up the steps to the Church square where children run around playing and squealing until the small hours then a quick left and right up the small alleyways to the small open area where Alexandros is located. You can’t be mistaken as there’s a very old mulberry tree, white painted trunk as is traditional, in the middle of the square, strung out with lots of fairy lights.
We are met by Magda and she introduces us to her brother Mikalis in the kitchen, Grandma and Alex the waiter. We have a nice table in front of the old stone house opposite the restaurant which gives a view up the street and more particularly the spot where Dimitris and Kristof will sing and play the bouzouki and guitar later. Dimitris Palantzas is Magda’s husband and they own Mustang Car Rentals, but his real passion is playing the bouzouki, see the video clip below.
The chairs are traditional upright rustic chairs but we’re with regulars Flora and Terry and within a moment out come the cushions 🙂 The tables are small and square with red and white check under cloths and white linen table cloths. Each table comes with its own wooden levelling system; a couple of wedges which you can adjust when the table starts to rock.
With no fuss a plate of lovely fresh crusty bread arrives with a small dipping bowl of gorgeous Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. You can order imported wines or beer with your meal but Magda is very proud of the local produce and rightly so; they and other restauranteurs make their own wine or get it from the farmers on the hills around Skiathos town. We had a carafe of the house wine and as expected it’s a chilled light rose and very palatable, just what you need to accompany a delicious meal on a balmy evening.
Who doesn’t start a meal in Greece without a Greek Salad? It was lovely; large black Kalamata olives, lots of sweet tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, onion, feta cheese seasoned with salt and oregano (a large fat flat slice which we broke up into chunks and mixed into the salad), and dressed with home pressed olive oil. All the while Dimitris and Kristof serenading the diners as they do every night.
For mains we had the Kingfish that had been caught that morning. The Fish was a beautiful sight, glistening and colourful, hung up in the restaurant by the tail, easily 1.8 metres long being prepared into succulent steaks. The steaks were lightly pan fried in butter and came with a Mustard cream and caper sauce and sliced potatoes cooked in milk. It was filling and yummy.
Mains finished and feeling replete, no room for dessert, but in true Greek style waiter Alex came out with complimentary Brandy digestifs. A very pleasant surprise but an even better surprise was when Magda quickly followed Alex out with a large plate of complimentary cherries and Greek yoghurt. How could we refuse? Just had to squeeze that yummy dessert in. Now properly full to bursting it was a late night waddle back through the narrow whitewashed lanes, across the now deadly quiet periferiakos skiathou and up the lane to Camelia studios. The walk was twice as long on the way home but well needed.
Slept well that night…………..see you in the next episode.
So based on what you have read so far would you want to collaborate with me to promote naturism to the less enlightened world? Read more: Hoarse Whispers
A new religion?
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don’t know if I can do it
Oh no, I’ve said too much
I haven’t said enough
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try
That’s me, third from the left on Little Banana Beach.
Every so often, usually tide dependent, the daily round the island tourist boat trip would bring the boat in so close to the beach that it was actually unsafe to be in the water. There would be whooping, hollering and jeering and loads and loads of photographs from the packed boat and so what better way than to recognise their interest but saluting the sun and moon, especially the moon.
It was a fun thing to do for the people on the beach and for the people in the boat. I often wondered how curious or jealous of our freedom the boat people might be. It was also a bit weird to be a local tourist attraction. But the overriding thing for me was that for once in my life it didn’t worry me that people were seeing me naked. In fact I was sort of revelling in the fact I was naked and having fun with it.
The boat puttered off into the distance and the beach returned to its peaceful quiet sanctuary. The really great thing about Little Banana was that everyone respected each other’s space and the calm of the place. So there were no radios, no raised voices, no rowdy behaviour and contrary to popular belief no sexual antics. Even the smokers tended to drift to one end of the beach.
For me it felt like being in the right place at the right time for a change. I had been stressed, exhausted and felt broken, but fate had led me to a little piece of paradise where people didn’t care whose suits I wore, how much I earned, what job I did or whether I was gay, straight, blue, Martian or Asian. By the way I hate the word Caucasian, what the hell does it mean ? My skin is pale like most northern Europeans and I have freckles? Thats just it, Naturism enables you to dispense with labels. To the people on the beach I was just me, no baggage, no preconceived ideas, just enjoying the freedom of lying in the sun with the breeze gently riffling the downy hair on my skin.
Looking back I can see that the freedom of not having to wear clothes and not being stressed about my appearance gave me the opportunity to focus on clearing my mind and relaxing for the first time in years. I guess these days people would call that feeling mindfulness but back then it was just zoned out bliss.
As I said, due to the tide, the Moon salute didn’t happen every day. It was amusing the first time the round the island boat came in but on the fifth time that week it became a bit tedious. Could it be that our genitalia were so attractive and different from theirs that they had to see? So the irony that they never ever stopped. They could have beached the prow of the boat just like in every other bay they stopped at, but no, no one ever came ashore to find out what the attraction was. Their loss I suppose.
When everything is taken into consideration, the round the island boat trip was just a 10 minute minor distraction in day of leisurely relaxation. It became a peculiar sort of timestamp to the day because if you heard the boat horn, the boat was chugging round the headland and you knew it was 2:30pm and the boat was 2 minutes away.
Image courtesy of Skiathosisland.com
At the end of the day, they came for titillation, they got it and went away. I had a nice lazy day with very likeable people and at around 4.30pm I packed up my bits and bobs for the trip home. Up with a pair of shorts, on with a loosely buttoned shirt and swung my little blue rucksack over my shoulder, said my cheerios and ambled back up the hill and down into the Olive grove to the scooter. The scooter was old but reliable. Up the rutted track back onto the metalled lane and a slight downhill to the asphalt at Koukounaries. It’s sixteen kilometres from one end of the island to the other so the ride home was just over half an hour. But even at 5pm riding the scooter was like sitting on vibrating boneshaking dandyhorse into the strongest hottest hairdryer headwind; well it was cooling from 43C that day.
I was now looking forward to a long shower, to shed the sunscreen and salt, a bit of a lie down/snooze and some scrummy Greek food. The walk in to town from Nikos’s apartment was about 20 minutes. But that’s a story for another day.
For now I had become a disciple of the naked religion.
So, I’d eaten my Greek supper, watched the sun go down and slept a fitful sleep to be woken up by the local cockerel crowing at 4am and the dogs barking the dawn,
Up early, what to do? Breakfast done and coffee brewed and it was still only 5:00am. It was too early to go to the beach so maybe some exploring, well I did have a scooter and it was quiet. I prepared a couple of sandwiches from the leftover bread and some ham and cheese and packed them in the little rucksack which handily fitted in the under seat storage with just enough room for my towel shorts and suntan cream.
Nothing left to do but go for it and explore the island. I jumped on the moped and was off, wobbily around the periferiakos skiathou and then taking a right turn up the nearest road out of town. Up the hill and on to a ridge road where you could look back over the town, see the airport runway and Skopelos in the distance. The air was cool, clear and crisp and as I rode along I could smell the wild herbs, thyme and garlic and the fresh pine of the forest. The tarmac pretty soon petered out and I was on the stone metalled roads riding through wild pine forests, meandering along in the Skiathos countryside whilst most of the island was still asleep.
At some point, without a map, I decided discretion was the better part of valour and turned left in the hope it would bring me back to civilisation and I wouldn’t be lost. I puttered along in the cool morning air dropping down from the hills and ended up in the village of Troulos and back on the tarmac. It was still only 6.30am so nothing else to do but to follow the road to the end and see where it led me. On past the lake round to Koukounaries and ended up more or less at the end off the road at Banana Beach.
By now people were starting to stir and the bar staff were making their way down the track to Banana beach. I’d heard that Banana beach was more lively than the other beaches which supposedly were more family and older person orientated. I wandered down from the Olive grove onto the beach past the bar and onto the lovely gold sand. Shoes off, sand between my toes I went left along the beach and explored the shoreline. Not a long walk so turned about face and wandered back along the beach to the far end. The tide, what little there is of it in the Mediterranean, was out and there was an obvious opportunity to clamber over the small rock outcrop and discover another beach.
Once again, no one on the beach but an inviting to paddle aimlessly to the other end called to me. Now not being a fan of crowds, even this early in the morning it looked a likely spot to spend the day. Water lapping gently at the shore, narrow strip of sand, a little bit of potential shade from the trees and bushes overhanging the small cliff and so I got my towel out and and claimed my place.
I stripped off my shirt and shorts and lay down in the cool sun, a bit of an oxymoron but the shadow was just disappearing off the sand and the temperature was still cool. Ten minutes went by, I’d arranged my book, my clothes, set up a shady spot for my bag with my crusty sandwich and still there was no one around. Hmmm it seemed odd to be on the beach at this time of the morning. Most other holidays had been hotel or villa based and been somewhat regimented and conventional. This was altogether more relaxing and freeing.
It was so quiet I literally dared myself to skinny dip! Something I had never ever done anywhere before. Off came my swimming togs and within 5 steps I was in the sea. Surprisingly, even though the weather had been tremendously hot, the sea was freezing. I waded purposefully into the water a full 10 yards until I was at, well you know, that point when the cold starts to cause the usual retraction. Nothing for it, you just had to dive forward and take the hit. Oh my god the shock. But hell, the feeling of freedom as you gently breast stroked out to the diving rock was fabulous.
The cold salty water made your skin scintillate, all the hairs on your body erect but quivering lazily with the current. The water so clear you could see 10 feet to the bottom. I was quite relaxed, wallowing gently feeling the sun warming my face and then as I turned to face the shore it dawned on me that suddenly there were people on the beach. Lots of people, lots of people busying themselves setting up their pitches, adjusting their brollies, laying towels on their sun beds and chattering.
I was the only one in the water, the only one daft enough to be in the freezing early morning, unwarmed up, flat calm, glistening ocean. A millisecond of panic set in before I realised that hang on, everyone was naked. I had unwittingly landed on the Naturist sanctuary that is Spartacus Beach or Little Banana as everyone now knows it.
Nevertheless, not ever having been naked in public before, having been in the cold water for near on half an hour, I had the usual male hang up of would everybody be looking at me, would they all be judging the size of my penis, would people stare, was there anybody that would recognise me. Luckily my towel was almost at the far end of the beach and I was approximately half way along opposite the taverna.
I leisurely sidestroked my way back to the far end of the beach (no not a euphemism, it is really a swimming stroke) and literally slunk out of the water like a hunchback. I did the usual thing of pretending to inspect the sand intently for some unspecified treasure. No one lifted their head, no one looked at me, no one stared, I was invisible until a very plummy Surrey voice from behind me said “are you looking for Pearls?” I stuttered “pardon” “are you looking for Skiathos Pearls?”
“There are Pearls here on this beach?” “Oh yes” said Terry, “probably the best in the Mediterranean” And so started a long friendship with Terry and his wife Flora. Flora explained that Skiathos pearls were so named due to the fact they were pearlescent on one side and on the flat side the had a very beautiful spiral pattern and because they were so small they were very hard to find.
So there I was talking to a complete stranger stark naked like I’d known him all my life. Apparently the usual suspects turn up on Skiathos about the same time every year and there was a whole community of British people that very passionately looked after each other, the beach, the island and the inhabitants especially the locals. Terry and Flora explained they cared deeply for the place as it represented a place of calm, an escape from all the stresses in the world and they are very protective of it. So they knew Yanni the sun bed guy and Nikos at the taverna like old friends and they had heaps of contacts in the town.
Terry and Flora introduced me to practically everyone on the beach. They were old hands and knew everyone no matter their nationality, gender, creed or orientation. The really humbling thing that came across was that there was no discrimination, no class or station in life, no judging based upon appearance, a real and genuine acceptance of the person you were.
Yes I did spend the rest of that day on my own contemplating that huge shift in my perception of the world and my perception of me as changed person. Suddenly, as I baked gently in the Grecian sun my cares and stresses were evaporating and I realised I had joined a huge family of people that would care for and protect me.
Here endeth the first day as a born again Naturist.
Love this image and yes it will be me in time. Why hoarse whispering, well having been a naturist for nearly 20 years now, sadly it’s still not a thing you can broadcast if you want to remain in the mainstream.
I came to Naturism after a particularly busy year where I was effectively frazzled and burnt out. So burnt out in fact I booked the first ticket out of Gatwick airport going anywhere. I ended up flying to Athens and then the following morning on a small aircraft to a beautiful Greek island Σκιάθος (Skiathos).
The journey across from Athens to Skiathos was noisy and nerve wracking, the single engined plane vibrating all the way. I stumbled out into the warm morning sunshine tired but happy to be away from work. I went through passport control/customs and picked up my bags. It was the first time in my life that I had just booked a flight with no holiday accommodation booked. I wandered aimlessly out of the airport doors and thought what now?
Within seconds I was confronted /affronted by a dusty dark haired unshaven greek guy in a holey singlet, dirty shorts and flip flops, driving the dirtiest clapped out Opel Astra I had ever seen. “You need a room?” “You come see my room, I rent you a room, its very nice” I politely declined and he said “No you come with me I have a lovely room you won’t regret it” I politely declined again and said I’m getting a taxi to the Tourist information office and with that a smart chap with a Mercedes taxi pitched up and said something which I took to be unpleasant in Greek and ushered me to his taxi put my rucksack in his boot and told me he would be a few minutes but not to worry.
I sat and waited and waited, then finally my smart taxi driver arrived back with three other people, put their suitcases in the boot and tied it down with bungees. I wasn’t used to this, normally when I jumped in a cab it was my cab, they took me to where I wanted to go and when we arrived I paid them. Normally, if I wanted to share I asked other people if they’d like a ride, but hey this was Greece what did I know. So we set off from the airport into town – not that I knew, but a short journey of about 10 minutes. We turned onto the waterfront and about halfway along the cab stopped and said he couldn’t take me to the Tourist Information office because it was up a pedestrian precinct and this was the nearest he could get!
Tired and hungry I paid my share and jumped out of the cab to be confronted by Nikos, the guy in the singlet and dirty shorts with the filthy Opel Astra. He said “You need a room?” “You come see my room, I rent you a room, its very nice” I politely declined and he said “No you come with me I have a lovely room you won’t regret it” I politely declined again and said I’m going to the Tourist information office in Papadiamantes Street. Nikos said “No No No you must see my room”. “You come with me” grabbing my arm and dragging me towards the Astra. “If you don’t like the room I will bring you back into town and take you specially to the Tourist Information Office” I was too tired to argue and that was the start of many very happy holidays in Skiathos.
Nikos took me to his white painted villa on the edge of town with three apartments up above his. We went up the concrete steps with beautiful pink bougainvillea trailing over the balustrading to a spartan studio apartment with double doors onto a balcony overlooking the town. It had a small kitchenette, a shower room and a double bed to collapse into. It was perfect and cost pennies compared to the nearest hotels.
Nikos said “what do you think? is it ok? do you want me to take you to the Tourist Office?” I looked up, smiled and said thank you it’s perfect. Nikos said “good good good you’ll be very happy” I crashed out and few hours later Nikos knocked on the door and woke me up saying “come with me, I take you to my friend, I get you a good deal on a scooter, you gonna need to get about” and so I jumped in the dirty Astra and off we went into to town. We met his friend and there was some chatter and arm waving and the next thing I know I’m trying on helmets. Nikos did get me a good deal. Most scooter hire was €19-€20 a day and mine was €14 a day including insurance and excess.
I guess never judge a book by its cover, Nikos was a diamond. He left and I had the usual tutoring etc and when I rode back up to the apartment Nikos was at the cafe on the ring road with his friends drinking very black black coffee playing backgammon.
On the way I stopped at the supermarket, picked up some tomatoes, salad greens, olives, olive oil, vinegar, fetta cheese, crusty bread and a bottle of the local vino and went back to my balcony for supper and spent the evening reading and watching the shadows creeping up the peninsula on the other side of the airport until it was dark. The end of a long first day in Skiathos and my Grecian baptism.
μέχρι την επόμενη φορά (until next time) Antio
The Journey Begins
Thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
Why am I writing this now? Well, I guess because I’ve got a little time on my hands and for a while now I’ve wanted to record who I am to some extent. More specifically as a mechanism to understand myself and the meaning of my life. Not necessarily in a true existential manner, but maybe to validate my belief in personally making a difference to the world and making peoples lives better.
This might just be a record of the influences that have shaped me as a person. The first influence I’ve chosen is the impact of shedding my clothes has had on me.
Obviously my real name isn’t Gamygyn but as a naturist you learn to protect yourself in the mainstream. The Demon Gamygyn is a Fallen Angel and fourth of the 72 Spirits of Solomon. In Hell, Gamygyn is a duke with 30 Legions of Demons. He appears in the form of a small horse and then changes into a human. His voice is hoarse and whispering.
Anyway, a small horse is the absolute definition of my family name. In the middle ages these small horses were the Ferraris of the equine world. A fallen Angel is my alter ego because a long time ago, I initially wanted to be anonymous on a dating website for fear of being badly hurt again. I used a moniker angelgabriel which sort of became a touchstone for me. It was based upon a photograph I had taken on a weekend away on the Gower peninsula with my son and my nephew. An opportune photograph taken when God shone a shaft of light through the gloom on Angel Gabriel watching over the souls laid in the St Cenydd graveyard. Ever since then I’ve had an affinity with angels.
© gamygyn the owner of this blog
I used angelgabriel on the dating website, although I’m sure it put off more than it engaged, and I used it for art work I started to publish online. Sadly as with most things internet my email address got hacked and I lost the account and name. Happily I didn’t lose any friends or money so no worries. I had to pick a new alter ego and landed on Gamygyn because of the equine connection with my family name and the fallen angel.
My ancestry and my real name prevails on all things horses in the French Royal Court. So there you have it, my nom de plume. I am GAMYGYN.
Continuez à lire mes amis angéliques (read on my angelic friends).