The “John Dory” fishes in Paros

By on October 17th    /    Cyclades, Islands, People, Taste    /    0 Comments   /   show comments

 

I’ve seen this village on thousands of postcards of island. Yet it is always beautiful. I am writing about village, (in , not in Macedonia) and its photogenic fishing port. We woke up early in the morning to see the plastic architectural beauty of St. Nicholas’s chapel on the edge of the bay.

 

The day shone. Striking colors of the tied boats were reflecting on the still sea water. A small crowd was flocking at the docks: waiting for the boats to come from fishing. “These are all … ” said the disappointed fisherman Dimitris Skiadas , showing us three skipjacks and an octopus , a poor catch for such a large and, filled with nets, fishing caique . ” The trawls, the dolphins and the seals are the biggest problems we have here, in the islands. Only 5 or 6 professional fishermen left in Naoussa… ” he complained .

 

Πάρος, Αλυκή, ψαράδες, Νάουσα

 

The village has quite a few trawls but only Egyptians use to work there. The atmosphere of the old fishing village is still nice even though many of the fishermen’s warehouses are turned into posh fish restaurants and bars.

We drove with my friend Stratos across the southern coast of Paros and in the afternoon we arrived at the port of . Caiques had arrived earlier at the dock and they were unloading their fishes. Idlers and old men with cigarettes in their mouths were observing the wooden trays with the fresh fishes, mumbling to each other.

 

 

Πάρος, Αλυκή, ψαράδες, Νάουσα

 

A young Egyptian fisherman was sitting on the pier, whirling octopuses  with  a rope, trying to soften them into the foam-filled water. The fishermen were wearing green plastic aprons , gum boots and plaid shirts. They unloaded wooden boxes, yelled, quarreled with the clients and the cats that came close to the tasty fishes that the crews were arraying on the pier. Everything was bathed in a nice sweet afternoon light. Orange colored and very warm…

 

 

Πάρος, Αλυκή, ψαράδες, Νάουσα

 

We spend some time shooting pictures. I approached a very large wooden tray with John Dory fishes. Nice shiny and delicious fishes.

“Do you know what all these are ?” an old man asked , watching me taking pictures .

“John Dories ,” I replied. He laughed . ” You mean San Pierre’s fish”.

“Yes … yes … I replied , ” understanding what he said.

“You know their story ?” he asked and before answering he  began to narrate .

“They say that the black dots at their body were the fingers of Jesus Christ . That he touched the fish already caught in the net and since then the fish was marked forever . San Pier is called  by St. Peter. They say that when Saint Peter caught a John Dory he thought it was so ugly and skinny that was no good eating this, so he threw it overboard .  And then his fingers marked the fish forever. Here are the signs, look … “

 

Πάρος, Αλυκή, ψαράδες, Νάουσα

 

He said the story straight off the reel. I knew it however. I knew something else though. I remembered the scientific name of the fish.

Why? Because it’s weird.

“Do you know how the scientists call this fish, the John Dory ? ‘ I asked him .

Silence .

“Zeus faber (i.e Zeus the blacksmith) ,” I said proudly.

Silence .

The old man looked at me with compassion , shook his white-haired head and left without saying a word.

Or rather yelled something from afar. His voice showed a slight annoyance . “What blacksmith and coppersmith are you talking to me my son? It’s a fish, for Christ’s shake . A John Dory, it makes a nice soup … do you understand?”…

I understood .

I bought a large John Dory and I called my friend to join me to the nearby tavern.

That night we ate a “blacksmith soup” for dinner.  Really delicious fish with white tasty light meat. Excellent.

Grandpa was right. And I –the fool – pissed him… 
 

 

 

Πάρος, Αλυκή, ψαράδες, Νάουσα

 

Where am I ?
 
In Paros island, one of the most famous Greek islands. The quickest way to get here is by plane from Athens airport. The most popular way of course is by boat. Modern speedboats leave from the ports of Piraeus and Rafina with many routes every day during summertime. You can reach Naoussa and Aliki villages by car, driving on the main road that runs round Paros island .

 

 

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