July 1, 2020
We are back on the island for the summer season, a summer like no other. Sadly, the Corona crisis is still circling the globe, with spikes and surges keeping most people from traveling, but we are determined to make the best of it. No, let me rephrase that. We will turn this huge upset upside down and make Wild Fig a place of peace and refuge from the virus. We are open for business and because of our remote location we have even managed to get have a few bookings, but we also intend to enjoy these lean months on Zakynthos Island with the empty beaches and roads, the closed tavernas and villagers greeting you with hopeful stares. Everyone has been poised and ready to re-open, but the tourists are slow in coming. We see a few cars with Romanian license plates at Porto Vromi, and in town we are stopped on the street by bored tour guides, thinking we are the tourists! It’s so strange to swim in places that at this time last year were packed with bodies, slathering on sunscreen, or to drive for over ten minutes and not see another vehicle or scooter zooming past you at break-neck speed. I’ve even bought a Vespa and figure this is the perfect time to learn how to ride, so many miles of deserted roads. Another blog on that later!
Kosta and I have welcomed another couple from the Work Away program to live with us and help out on the property, Arianna and Martin. Arianna is from Italy and Martin from Slovakia, they met in Thessaloniki during an Erasmus program (study abroad for Europeans) and then moved to Athens to take a job in one of those enormous call centers that subcontract to companies like Apple. They spent the Covid-19 lockdown actually working, glued to a computer screen for hours, so they were desperate to get out of the city and spend time in nature.
What surprised them was how mountainous our area is, how wild. “I can hear the nature here, crickets, crickets and more crickets,” Martin says. Arianna shared “It’s like a little world, all its own,” nothing else around. And no one else for sure. So here we are, the four of us, washing windows, putting up sun umbrellas, picking enormous zucchinis from our garden, because they just keep growing. In fact, there are so many zucchinis we are eating them with every meal and I am amazed at how tasty they are, and how I don’t grow tired of the soft, delicate taste.
Today I think I will make Zucchini bread, a food that bears special meaning for me, since it was something I used to eat after school with my best friend, Rainey. Her mother made the dark, thick bread sweetened with honey and our teen-age appetites devoured thick slices while we talked about boys, swooned over Peter Frampton or Paul Molitor (the handsome shortstop who played for the Milwaukee Brewers) and pondered our future. I spent many hours on her old blue couch in the family room with Rainey, fleeing a difficult home life, and the smell of this bread brings immediate relief. Arianna is a much better baker than I am, so the two of us will attempt to bring back this memory. Below is the recipe, and we invite you to bake and break bread with us, in honor of your best friend, someone you miss or who helped make you whole in a difficult time. https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017522-olive-oil-zucchini-bread
As Zora Neale Hurston once wrote, “there are years that ask questions and there are years that answer them…” This is a year of both I think, and consuming zucchini bread might just help us all get through it.