In some ways the Easter celebrations in Greece are a suitable metaphor for the Greek spring. In England, the new season seems to wake up with a smoker's cough and takes two or three cups of coffee to get going. Here, spring leaps out of bed with enthusiasm in an explosion of colour. The sun wakes up plants and wildlife. The air is filled with birdsong and the buzzing of insects, especially the bees from all the hives that are kept nearby. And the nightingales have arrived. Unlike the summer, when a hot sun means siesta, at this time of year it gets people going and the sounds of strimmers and chainsaws are everywhere, set to the backdrop of young men showing off on their motorbikes.
Easter has the same feel to it, it is the most important festival in Greece. The weekend starts with a doleful procession on Good Friday, whilst people fast in the local restuarants by eating vast quantities of luxurious and expensive seafood. Then, at midnight on Saturday, the resurrection is declared and firecrackers and thunderflashes are let off; I like the ones that are dropped down the drains, giving a loud, hollow clang. The fast is broken and the meat eating begins. Sunday is the time for whole roast lamb on the spit and noisy outdoor partying. With all that food the hangover is not prodigious, but the brain is vacant, especially as I found a litre plastic bottle of the local tsipouro desperate to be liberated from our host's kitchen.
For the last two days the weather cooled as if it had sympathy for everyone's need for a rest from over indulgence. The sun is still warm and the days bright and so, earlier today, it was perfect to walk up the old donkey path to the village of Lafkos, a steady climb with stunning views.
A profusion of wild flowers.
And the chapel by the spring half way up.
Despite being a night person, I will take the early morning exuberance of the Greek spring any day. It is the nearest you can get to perfection.