Snakes and Celebrations in Tinos

 I started this week off by challenging my fears! One of the things I didn’t get to do in Tinos while I was here in the summer was visit Monastiria. It’s an abandoned village that one of the hiking trails passes through. I was warned off before because of snakes in the hot weather.

The old Greek name for Tinos was Island of the Snakes. Because there isn’t a lot of footfall around the ruins, the snakes kind of take over in the summer. When I was getting close to coming back to Tinos, I started getting really anxious about snakes! I’m ok with seeing grass snakes; it’s quite cool because they’re not something I’m used to seeing often.

But I was worried about accidentally disturbing a viper. I get a bit caught up in the nature around me and taking pictures, and sometimes I don’t look closely enough at where I’m stepping! Anyway, I choose a freezing cold day where no self-respecting snake would venture out of their lair.

And everything was fine. The path was really overgrown in some places, but you could see where others had worn a new path. In the end, it was less than 10 minutes from the main road too, so if required, help was nearby.

I’m so glad I went. It was interesting to look at all the old buildings and alleyways. The only thing still in good repair is a rather resplendent church.

The Unique Churches of Greece

While I was out and about, I came across some other churches. I’m kinda obsessed with them. I stop about ten times a day to take pictures of churches. While I’m spiritual, I’m not religious. I just love the buildings and the sanctity you feel when inside.

Some are very beautiful and perfect. But my favourites are the rugged ones carved out of the rock. Or the ones that look like someone’s lovingly built them with their bare hands.

Even the simplest buildings seem to be ornately decorated inside. Either with really old frescoes painted on the walls. Or with elaborate icons placed deliberately on an altar.

Greek Independence Day

The religious theme is running all the way through this post! Friday was Greek Independence Day. (Greece celebrates the first day of fighting that ultimately led to their independence from Turkey/the Ottoman Empire.)

The same day is also the Feast of the Annunciation, commemorating the day Angel Gabriel told Mary she was to be the mother of Jesus. It’s a big deal in Tinos because the main Marian shrine of Greece is Our Lady of Tinos.

On Thursday, the school children paraded through the streets in traditional costumes. The Tinian band played for them, and some military were in attendance. Cannons were being fired at the port, and it was all very colourful and noisy!

On Friday, there were various events, including the icon of Mary being carried through the town. Later everyone eats cod with skordalia, which is like cold mashed potato with lots of garlic. The feast day makes a break in the fasting for Lent. Traditionally, people didn’t have much, if any, olive oil while fasting. On the 25th March, they could get their strength back up by eating fish and oil.

Spring Arrives, Finally

On Thursday, the weather took a turn for the better. We went from 3 degrees on Monday to 18 degrees at the weekend. Seeing the blue sky and warm sun was so welcome, and I managed to get out and do some more walking.

I visited a couple of beaches that I wanted to include in my Tinos Guide. This cool carving of Aeolus, god of wind, was on the rocks at Kavalourko Beach.

Livada Beach was like walking amongst dinosaur eggs! And then I nearly got blown away walking to Livada lighthouse.

Finish With a Sweet

I ended the week with some traditional Tinian sweets. Lots of honey and lashings of Raki went into them, I’m sure. (That’s not paper casings in the first image, the cakes are actually folded.)

Published Posts This Week

For more pictures of beautiful Tinos, take a look at this week’s posts about the hike up Exomvourgo Hill and some of the lovely traditional villages on the island.

See you next week from another island…

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Suzie Young

Suzie writes informative posts for solo, nervous or first-time travellers to Greece, Turkey and other countries on her 50-before-50 bucket list. She became a Greek resident in 2020 and intends to visit every inhabited island (13 down!).

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