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An Impression of Alexandrathes
By Sibyl Haynes

I am the grand daughter of Theodoros Cassimatis who was born in Alexandrades, Kythira, before the turn of the last century. In 2002 I had the good fortune to spend one week in the house in which he was born. Living there at the the time was the eighty something wife of my grandfather's brother. Her son lives in another newer house next-door and she was living in the old house alone. I was with a koumbara friend of mine and my one-year-old son and we stayed there together for three days. Then my friend left and I got to spend another five days there like a local, speaking Greek with some visiting family members who had been to Australia and back and met my mother (who left Australia and had her family in America.) I was starting to really learn the language I felt, but, in fact, it still eludes me. Anyway, to describe my wonderful week in Alexandrades:

The food was very good because it reminded me of my mother's cooking. Many of the vegetables were brought over every other day from the perivoli down the road. I had fun walking with the elderly woman and helping her in the garden - something I had never done before. She was missing her two front teeth and had a very cute face. By the end of the week she smiled and said "poli s'agapo" which meant a lot to me because I never had a grandmother.

I remember the smell of the grassy flat hills of that place. It was June and there were many yellow butterflies and white wild cats who could somehow subsist on bread. There are only about 15 houses in Alexandrades. They are all white-washed and have beautiful rough-hewn doors. Bathrooms are outside and rudimentary - there is no place for exaggerated make-up or get-ups. There is a sense of sun and time. The days are long and healthy. People go from house to house, but some people are not particularly friends of other people.

The sad part of this story is that they wound up convinced I had come there to try to take their house but that was not true.

I was in Kythira for one week this year (2007) in September and I visited them but I, my six-year-old and my friend (another one) stayed at "Camping Kapsali" which was also wonderful, but a house is nicer.