Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Above and Beyond

It's been a pretty regular week since the last post on Wednesday 28th September. Once again I was on Halki on Thursday with a few guests from the UK plus two good friends from Austria. My Austrian friends are a couple the husband of which actually grew up here on Rhodes and went to school in Arhangelos, so he's fluent in Greek. He wanted to show his wife of just three years how beautiful Halki was and so they tagged along with my excursion. She wasn't disappointed. 

Arriving on Halki aboard the Nissos Halki

Since the kindness of many folk on Halki is almost legendary, I kind of expected what happened when they ate lunch with me at Lefkosia's taverna. Of course they were willing to pay and we were in no way wanting Mihalis (Lefkosia's son) to not charge them but, once they were ready to settle up he refused point blank to accept anything for their delicious lunch of moussaka (the best in Greece, of course), Tzatziki, Greek salad and a Fix or two since they were friends of "Gianni" [me folks]. As I said, expected but not in a "taking advantage" kind of way, but rather simply in an "I know Mihali" way. 

Incidentally, I've mentioned to quite a number of guests on the Halki excursion of late about the Tarpon Springs (Florida) connection and so here's the link to a post that shows a photo of the now rather battered marble obelisk commemorating the fact that the road up to the old village was built with money from the Halkiot community over there. The post is from October 2013 and contains a lot of great photos of my walk up to the kastro on the mountain above Halki's picturesque harbour at Nymborio. It's worth noting that I am reliably informed that since I did the climb the path from the old abandoned village up to the kastro has now been improved greatly and is clearly demarcated and laid with gravel.

A few of my UK guests also joined us at taverna Lefkosia and one couple, when I asked them at the end of their meal if everything was OK, replied that not only was it OK, but it was excellent. The gentleman said that the staff (all Lefkosia's family of course) had been attentiveness itself and couldn't do enough to ensure that they had a good lunch. When the'd finished eating he'd asked Kiki or Mihalis if they had any ice cream. The answer was "No, I'm afraid not. But what was it in particular you were wanting?" When he replied with his preference they immediately shot off along the quayside to the café-bar there, where they do delicious locally-made ice creams, and came back with their dessert so that they could enjoy it without having to re-locate, since they were in that "Let's not disturb the current exquisite status quo" moment that so many experience when dining al fresco on a Greek island. My guests were delighted, also with the price of their meal as well as the service, and told me that the staff had gone above and beyond what was necessary to make their Halki lunch just perfect. 

The view from Lefkosia's. Come on, would you want to move?

A definite feel-good moment for me too. When you "care for" a group of guests who are on their holidays during a day out, there's an immense feeling of satisfaction when you get the feedback that tells you that they're going to remember this day as a highlight of a very good vacation. 

On an entirely different subject, the Yucca plants in our garden have gone mad flowering this season. One, quite near to the front of the house, has had no less than four flower heads on it, two of which have gone over, but the other two, well...

I'm not a huge fan of white flowers, but these are just magic. Hope you agree.

And, just to finish off this rambling, I took a couple of shots in Old Rhodes Town today, while on my way to another delicious lunch of gigantes and courgette rissoles (kolokithokeftedes) at the Odyssey taverna...

While I'm thinking about restaurant service above and beyond the call of duty, I should mention also that I had two very beautiful young women (college friends) from Lancashire on the excursion today, who were staying in Kolymbia. They followed my recommendation and found their way to the Odyssey where they ordered pizza. They told me that the hotel food (they'd booked last minute, and it was their first visit to Rhodes) wasn't particularly good, but they enjoyed their Odyssey pizza so much that, since they couldn't eat all of it, they asked Adonis (who, along with the other boys waiting table, was a bit smitten TBH) if they could have a "doggy-bag" to take what they couldn't eat away with them. No problem, Adonis whipped their plates away and soon returned to their table with a foil tray, sealed with its cardboard lid, wrapped in a plastic carrier bag, for the girls to take back and feast upon in their room later tonight.

Doesn't it just give you that tingle factor?

And, the final postscript. Returning to Mihalis at Lefkosia's taverna last Thursday. As my Austrian friends and I rose to leave, Milahis asked me, "What are you taking home with you today Gianni, to share with your wife, stuffed tomatoes and peppers, or perhaps dolmades?"

I travelled back with a foil tray full of Lefkosia's delicious "pseftikes dolmades" - which my better half and I enjoyed that very evening. So often I find that the folk on Halki go "above and beyond" in their caring for little old me, too. So often guests on the excursions ask me, "Do you like living here?"


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