Want to get to know a Greek island? The people, their habits? Come in winter. Winter on Patmos is Mediterranean which means mild, between 9 C and 16 C. It invites you to enjoy the warmth of your traditional house next to the hypnotic crackling of wood in your fireplace. At the same time it invites you to put on an overcoat and explore the quiet walks and paths. Your cheeks and nose will feel the gentle piercing just enough to make them redder that usual from their encounter with life. In winter you adopt the rhythms of the locals. Everyone recognizes you as a guest, but you quickly become a friend. People have the time to share their stories with you in the few taverns, restaurants, bars and cafes that remain open. They will recognize your presence, nod their head, say a warm “hello, how are you? ”. The Patmian people are discreet. They’ll open up only as much as you want them to.

The winter on Patmos is ideal for some quiet, reflection, relaxing nature walks, family gatherings, wine and stories around the stone fireplace. In the Eirini Traditional Houses refuge you open the windows and the room and mind fills with the sea. Calm or wild, it soothes the worries, sharpens the senses and stimulates the imagination. There are very few places in the world where you can still hear the hissing song of the wind trying to get in and meet you in your house. Along with Christos you can go fishing, diving, and do mountain excursions to the surrounding islands. In winter the nature of Patmos is so sweet and imposing that without trying too hard it tames all your illusory everyday problems. This creates space and time to get in touch with your soul.

During the month of December, preparations for Christmas celebrations are dominant on Patmos, acquiring here on the island, away from the bustling city, their true dimension and meaning. The devout atmosphere of the festivities, along with the beauty of nature, will fascinate you. Christos and Irene will respect your privacy. At the same time though, they will ensure that you have a family that will care enough to make you Christmas sweets with traditional recipes , jams ,”melomakarona” , “kourampiedes” , honeyed “xerotiana”, cookies , traditional New Year’s pie “vasilopita” . On Patmos, in any house you enter, you’re going to be treated with some jam and a glass of water, fragrant with patmian rosewater.

And maybe they will even treat you with the famous “klimatostafyla”, or “apokampana” as they say in Patmos, the last grapes of the vine, which are reserved for December. You will also drink the patmian wine which has always been present on the table, during holidays, but also weekdays, especially in the past years. Long ago, people knew how to rejoice no matter how poor they were. On any celebration they would make a feast, and especially so on Christmas, New Year and the Epiphany. You will often be able enjoy the “Irene” refuge’s family celebrations , organized spontaneously with appetizers -mainly fish Christos catches- and during this season there is plenty of guitar playing and singing with friends.

In January and February, the coldest and most rainy winter days alternate with warmer and sunnier. During the halcyon days we can enjoy the serene sea and the brightest moon that warms and illuminates the frosty nights in January. Because, as they say in Patmos, “January moon, despite the hour, looks like daylight.”