Fruit and vegetables from Turkey

The islanders have a special kind of relationship with their neighbors across the water. This is plain to see on board one of the caiques that make the trip over to Kas every morning. One of these boats is the Panormitis, which is bringing back not only a load of fresh food but a diesel engine. «We don’t only go shopping for food, we also take over any equipment that needs repair. There are lots of jobs that are cheaper to do in Kas,» says Giorgos Nittis. Shopkeepers in Kas know their Greek customers, some of them very well. The traffic goes in both directions. Turkish caiques bring over day-trippers to the island. Often they are foreign residents who need to leave and re-enter Turkey in order to renew their residence permits – these visits go on throughout the winter. Teacher for every child Relations are friendly enough, although there are still traces of a different history. High up on a hill overlooking Kas is an old church that has been converted into a mosque. The old mosque on Kastellorizo, although closed, has recently been restored. Kastellorizo’s church, Aghios Constantinos, comes under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. It was built in 1867 next to the island’s school, once known as the Sandrapeio School after one of the island’s benefactors, Loukas Sandrapes. It now houses a kindergarten with five pupils, a primary school with 20 and a high school with 14 children. There are a large number of teachers. «There is almost one teacher for every child. I wonder how we’ll get used to going back to classes with 20 or 25,» says Nasia Papadopoulou, who is in her second year teaching on the island. Slow pace The small island community has its own routine. Every afternoon people wander down to the tavernas and cafes in the port, where most of the commercial activity takes place. They sit around, chatting and socializing. Some start a card game that often goes on till the early hours. Newcomers soon get used to the slow pace of life. Some of them like it; others get depressed. Yet as they all say, with the coming of spring, everything is forgotten as the pace of life – along with the population – picks up once more. This is one of a series of articles on Greece’s border settlements that appeared in the April 7-8 issue, the result of months of research by staff and associates of K, Kathimerini’s Sunday magazine.