Patmos is renowned for the Apocalypse of St. John. It’s a popular tourist destination for religious groups and cruise ships alike. I found my Saint, but his name was Panagos. He was located in the little village of Kambos, just opposite the church, and he offered me aubergine stuffed with feta and fresh tomatoes, for 9 euros. I’m glad I found him and had a food revelation instead of an apocalypse…besides, St. John’s cave—alas—was full of workmen drilling, sawing and scaffolding when I went. I doubt this is the apocalypse St. John envisaged, or maybe it was.
Panagos’s taverna is popular at lunchtimes with tourists, on their way to one of Patmos’s many beaches—locals also frequent it, all year.
My female Saint was Elina, owner of the Porto Scoutari Hotel where I was kindly hosted for the duration of my visit.
Every morning, irrespective of the time she had gone to bed the previous night (sometimes at 5am because she was personally welcoming arriving guests from an early ferry), she would be there at 8am at breakfast, speaking to every table individually and taking time to listen, ask them personal questions and making one feel as if you had made a friend for life. She took me under her wing, in my guise as Rough Guide co-author. People—sometimes—can’t do enough for you on these islands.
The shepherd would wave to me every morning as I watched the sun rise from my balcony. It reminded me of an encounter with one of my students years ago:
He was a particularly stroppy seventeen year old and had no intention of learning English.
What do you want to be when you leave school?
Well, that’s a really worthwhile and rewarding career. Imagine if you helped some tourist and had to speak English to them?
(I had to think on my feet)
Well I’ll become a shepherd instead. At least I won’t have to talk to anyone
he smirked back.
At the time I just had to shrug (I think I suggested he could always talk to the goats in English)—looking at the times we live in now, and this rural scene, you know what? Maybe my student had the right idea all along.
All opinions expressed here are my own.