In the meantime, we’ve had people staying in our rooms in Olympos and others coming to the taverna at Ayios Minas beach. It’s not too busy, just like having friends over – from various parts of Europe. Lella and Pierangelo left their car at the main road and walked the few kilometres down the track to the beach in the late afternoon, and sat by the sea for a while. They came to drink some wine and decided to stay for an early dinner. They devoured their salad, saying bellissimo.
The man with the beautiful smile, Pierangelo from central Portugal, ate calamari stuffed with brown rice and spinach – Minas’ fantastic new recipe – and Lella, from Milano, ate lamb chops. Then Lella sang happy birthday to M in a voice that was astonishingly operatic.
‘Darling, let me tell you something,’ said M to Lella. ‘It’s not really my birthday. I told you it was my birthday because I wanted to buy you a drink.’
M sang a Greek song for her and they sang Beatles songs together and we laughed and danced, and finally we hugged and kissed and M drove the couple up to their car, Lella insisting she was sorry that she’d interrupted his birthday (which wasn't his birthday). I remembered what’s special about running a taverna here; when you meet people like Pierangelo and Lella, people you’d like to be friends with.
A truck came up behind us and stopped at the little chapel of Ayia Marina (confusing as there’s another Ayia Marina a little northwest of there). We also passed markings for another footpath. I finally checked my map, and saw we were heading to the mostly abandoned settlement of Asia. When we reached the end of the road, amid old stone houses and threshing circles was the truck. An old lady in a white dress and black headscarf was waving her arms around and shouting in an effort to scare some goats out of the barn into a pen, from which they were being wrangled into the truck. The goats were being uncooperative.