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Ted's working holiday in GreecePrint
Deep in the autumn Ted sneaked away for some late sunshine, catching a lift across Europe to Greece! The journey started in Yorkshire and took Ted through the Eurotunnel for the first time to an overnight stay at Ingolstadt in Bavaria. As well as being the setting for the novel Frankenstein it is also the home of Audi cars, so Ted felt quite comfortable with his German ride.
Arriving in Venice they’d already travelled 1500km across the continent and then took a 34 hour ferry crossing to Patras. After a further 3 hour drive along the south of the Corinth Sea they finally arrived in Pireaus for their last leg. This is the busy port of Athens. Amongst all the bustle of the ferries they embarked on a short crossing to the Island of Aegina.
Ted did not envisage what was ahead after this gruelling trip as he was to be pressed into some proper seasonal work. It was the time of year when the olives in the garden were harvested and days consisted of early starts and strenuous physical activity. The olives are hand stripped, using plastic forks that are dragged through the branches.
For the higher olives ladders are needed as mature trees grow to about 12 feet high. It can take a couple of days to strip one tree, with the olives dropping onto large sheets, they are then sorted and stripped of their twigs.
Anne and George collect around 250 kilos of olives from the trees in their garden and this year there was a bumper crop! Ted was busy counting the baskets of olives before they were taken to the local olive press. After 5 days of waiting their turn all the hard work paid off when the crop produced 33 litres of lovely virgin olive oil.
Later that evening Ted was spotted enjoying a well deserved ouzo at a taverna on the waterfront. The waterfront is buzzing all year round with cafes and tavernas.
Time to relax
Flotillas of yachts and sizeable motor launches moor in the harbour from early spring to late autumn. A number of large ferries and Flying Dolphins (hydrofoils) arrive daily from Athens and other islands in the Saronic Gulf, bringing locals, holidaymakers, cars, lorries and all the supplies for the island. His relaxation was short lived though as the next job was to pick pomegranates, lots and lots of them.
Fortunately for him Anne and George don’t have any pistachio trees as Aegina is the biggest producer of pistachio nuts in Greece and there are groves of pistachio trees all over the island. They are harvested in late September and there is a pistachio festival to celebrate the harvest!
Fans of TV chefs may remember Jamie Oliver producing the perfect Greek salad on one of the Aegina waterfront fruit and vegetable boats.