Every Saturday morning in Voula’s neighborhood they have an outdoor market. Clothes shoes, fruits and vegies, all kind of meat, eggs, fish, plants, olives, things for the kitchen, beauty supplies, accessories, and much more are all for sale at very inexpensive prices at these markets. The atmosphere is filled with local farmers, and small business owners, calling out their prices and what they have to offer. It is where you can buy a T-shirt made in China that says, “Model Express Fun Times with Heaven Reality Now”, a pair of sunglasses, nail polish, fresh organic strawberries, a flashlight, octopus, and potatoes all in one place at bargain prices. We think the t-shirts get made somewhere in China where they have an english dictionary and they randomly choose words to put on the t-shirts, and then send them to the gypsies in Greece, who come the markets and sell them. We find it all very entertaining.
The girls really enjoyed seeing all the fashionable clothes and wanted it all. They were buying pants for $7 and skirts for $10. The only issue was a fitting room. The way they try clothes here at these markets, is you go behind the booth where you are not in plain view, stand in a cardboard box, take your shoes off, and try the pants on over whatever you are wearing and hope they fit. Dafni did this a few times and so did Dimitra. It worked out ok, with only one mishap. Dafni bought a pair of pants that are a little too small for her and a little too big for Dimitra AND it still had the magnetic tag drilled thru the pants. Voula said they were probably stolen from a shop and that is why. So now we have hot $7 pants that don’t fit and have a plug. Voula said she will exchange them next week. Look out Gypsies, here comes VOULA!
After the market, we packed up. Voula got some fishing poles and we went to Kosta’s business to pick him up. We were headed 20 miles away to the beach in Agiokampos where Voula has a friend also named Voula, who owns a hotel on the beach. Kosta gave a us a little tour of his business when we arrived. He and his brother own a scaffolding business that is hired to put up scaffolding on buildings when people are constructing. He has some property with a lot of equipment, an office in a trailor, some other outbuildings and a miniature church. The church is like a cathedral that is about 10 feet by 10 feet, equipped with a full 360 radius of icons of all the saints of their family, an alter with candles to light, and a dome with an ornate painting of Jesus above your head as you stand in the middle. In the back of Kosta’s property is a full fledged mini farm. He has 5 guard dogs which he told us are Greek breed dogs and they all have 6 toes. He has several egg laying chickens, one very studly rooster, serveral rabbits raised for stew, and a beautiful very well kept garden, brimming with tomato plants, zucchini, cucumber, eggplant, a full range of herbs and spices. It was very interesting and really enjoyed seeing it all.
We drove thru miles of farmland and rolling hills of fruit orchards before we arrived at the beach and Voula’s friend Voula’s hotel. It is the middle of cherry harvest right now and this family that owns the hotel also owns a cherry orchard. John, Dino and Kosta went to the orchard to watch them harvest the cherries. Every where we turned at this hotel were buckets and bowls of delicious tree ripe, organic cherries. It was cherry heaven! I mentioned to the Voulas that we should make cherry pie. They were immediately interested and wanted to know what cherry pie was. Within minutes Hotel Voula, collected cherry pitting supplies, gloves, bobby pins for our pitting tool and put the other Voula, me and the kids to work pitting a mountain of cherries. She grabbed a piece of paper, Dimitra and Dafni and was off to the store to buy ingredients. After some thought and no sign of a pie pan anywhere, only casserole dishes, I ditched the plan of a cherry pie and was thinking cobbler. It just so happened I had a giant container of oatmeal brought from the states so I could make my aunt some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
After we got the ingredients together, my friend Voula and I got to the task of making cobbler in the kitchenette of our hotel room using the miniature oven I thought mistakenly was the microwave. As we mixed everything around and did our best, Voula and looked at each other laughing and said , “now, why are we cooking this?” I told her I was sorry I mentioned the cherry pie and got her into this mess. As I looked at the foreign symbols on the oven trying to figure out how to set it at 350 and what that is in celsius, I had a minor panic attack, thinking of how my American pride of the land known for Cheverlet and cherry pie was most definitely in jeopardy, and this cobbler masquerading as cherry pie might not turn out. I think the oven is a convection oven and the cobbler was going into a very thick metal pan. I prayed the bottom of the cobbler would brown. I really began to worry when 20 minutes into the baking we started smelling something that smelled like dirty feet. I kept accusing the poor kids of having smelly feet, when Voula informed me it was just the butter! So I don’t know what the deal is with the butter here, but it obviously is much richer than our butter, if it smells like cheese when baked. The pressure mounted when the upstairs balcony was filled with guests including a famous Greek soccer player all anticipating the famous American dessert. Opa!
My friend Voula, is so sweet. She kept reassuring me every time she went in to check on the cobbler, that it smelled delicious. I had hopes. Finally after a dinner of Hotel Voula’s delicious homemade pizza at 11pm, we dished up dessert. Before I tried my piece I heard murmurs of approval coming from the balcony. Yea! success! It seemed like everyone enjoyed it. Actually when I tasted it I thought it was the best cherry cobbler I have every had. I don’t think it had to do with me though. I think it was mostly because of the fresh tree ripe, organic cherries, and the cheesy, feet smelling butter. In fact as I write this, I think I could have another piece!