Äkta vara - The real thing
Text: Cenneth Sparby Photo: Ulf Berglund
" Beautiful beaches, of course, but also fresh fish, black olives, golden honey. We discover the Greek Zakynthos by bicycle and walking, and stay on farms with lemon orchards and almond trees... "
7-8 Sept 2008
Här lever Maria som i filmen "Mamma Mia" (Maria lives the "Mamma Mia" - life) by Robert Andersson (text) and Nikos Vardakastanis (photo)
" [...] Dionysis had his own family property with olive groves on Zakynthos island but grew up in Athens. He came back to stay on the island in the beginning of the 1980´s and he made a living on picking olives and other jobs here and there. When Maria decided to stay they needed to increase their income.
–I left my studies in philosophy and literature at Stockholm University but was thinking to continue studying “on distance” later on. But then we built our first summerhouse to rent, says Maria.
To say they were pioneers is no exaggeration.
–When we started there was only one telephone in our village. It was 1985 and tourism had just started to develop here on the island. There was no community water system or waste management and we had no car then, says Maria and reminds us that it is different now with phone, fax and internet.
But their marketing concept, to put classified ads in newspapers and magazines in Sweden, Germany and England, worked well, and slowly they started to build more houses. Today they can host 40 guests and in one of the buildings you will find the reception and a library.
–We have no plans to build more houses. This is just the right size for us and our guests. [...] "
Blaue Grotten auf der grünen Insel.
Blue caves on the green island by Thomas Böhm
Stay in an olive grove.
…”Our base is Porto Roma at the most southeast tip of Skopos. Vi stay in a, for our family with three children, perfect house at Daphnes Apartments surrounded by bay-trees and the large olive grove. Daphnes is built and run by Swedish Maria and Athenian Dionysis since 1987. All what we need is within walking distance: the beach, partly sandy partly with pebbles and rocks and a cosy beach bar, the little supermarket, a couple of friendly taverns, a coffee shop with music and another one with a billiard table. The dreamlike “turtle beach” is a 20 minute walk away. All places are reached thru pretty paths. Every morning there is a bus to the town of Zakynthos.”
23 August 2004
Grekiskt ö-liv fritt från charter (Greek island-life without mass tourism.) by Claes Nordenskiöld
" [...] A Swedish woman, married to a Greek man, is since 20 years running a little holiday paradise away from charterflights and big hotels in the island Zakynthos.
Zante, which the island often is called, belongs to the Ionian islands on the west coast of Greece, not far from southern Italy.
At the southeast cape of the island have Maria Renhuldt and Dionysis Tsilimigras built Daphnes - eleven houses and apartments in traditional Greek style and a very personal service. The buildings are situated in an olive grove, surrounded by laurel trees, which are called daphnes in Greek [...] "
Zakynthos sköldpaddornas paradis (Zakynthos the sea turtle paradise) by Siv and Key L Nilson
" [...] In the middle of the olive grove is Daphnes - a group of small villas and apartments - to where guests come back year after year to spend a couple of peaceful weeks. One of Zakynthos' best kept secrets as we see it - a real pearl along the road! [...] "
30 March 1996, by Cenneth Sparby
" [...] Maria Renhuldt, or Tsilimigras as she now is called, is living since ten years in Zakynthos. She lives in an idyllic rural area in the village Vassilikos together with her husband Dionysis and their two children. Their own olive grove, the holiday homes they rent to tourists and seminars in Greek cooking keep Maria and Dionysis busy all year around. Their houses are situated just a kilometer from Gerakas beach where the giant Loggerhead sea turtles nest in the summer.
Still, after all these years, Greek food and cooking makes Maria happy.
- It is fantastic how tasty vegetables and fruits are here. Everything grows so fast. We have fresh fruit and vegetables from our garden all seasons; mandarins, oranges, lemons, apricots, cherries, tomatos, almonds and herbs.
As she goes on telling with passion about food and cooking being such an important part of Greek culture and history she brings in the last starter for tonights dinner; garlic dip or skordalia as it is called in Greek. [...] "