This is the second in series of posts about island life about our not-quite-tourist experience as we spend three weeks in Karpathos. Click here for the first one.
When we lived in Zurich, we got used to dealing with Swiss opening hours. With a few exceptions, everything was closed on Sundays and public holidays. To further complicate life, stores often closed early on Saturdays and the day before public holidays. And it was not unheard of for small shops to also be closed on Mondays. My favorite Zurich yarn store, I’m talking about you!
In Greece, and in particular, in Karpathos, we have to deal with what Mr. Mad Cow and I call “siesta hours”. Most businesses shut down during the hottest point of the day and then theoretically reopen at 6 for a couple more hours but sometimes it’s more like 6:30 or 7. I say that because several times Mr. MC has left the house at 5:55 to do a shopping chore (the green grocer, the hardware store, etc) only to find they have not opened up again. The one place that seems to reliably open again at 6 is the closest pharmacy, which you can see below closed during the midday.
Some things, like the island farm stand is only open in the morning. Or at least, only until the start of siesta hours, and it’s really worth it to make the trip. There is nothing like a locally grown Greek tomato, and the local melons are currently ripe like candy. In fact, the melons are so good, we’ve taken to calling them by their Greek name since they are so otherworldly.
Interestingly, when asked, Mr MC could not come up for a Greek word for siesta, and two visits to online Greek-English dictionaries did not yield better results. The best we could find was the literal tranlation for “afternoon nap”. Mr. MC even found a Spanish-Greek online dictionary and it yielded the same result.
The Vachette has taken to Greek siesta hours with the same level of unpredictability. Even though she no longer takes regular naps, she’s been keeping later hours, just like the local children, and certainly could use them, since she is still getting up at her usual early hour. Today, she refused to take a nap when I wanted to lie down, and then she melted down when I woke up because I had taken a nap without her. She later fell asleep in the car, so we took a bit of a drive on a road we have never been on before and discovered the view featured above.