If you visit Greece, you’ll find there are quite a few villages named “Skala” or “Skala (followed by another name).” In Greek, the word “skala” means “ladder” or “staircase.”
I am told that in centuries past, Greeks would often build a village in the mountains or some distance from the sea where they could watch out for pirates or sailor bandits that might want to attack and pillage coastal settlements. Then, there would be a smaller settlement down below or at the sea, where the villagers would keep their fishing boats, or have access to the sea while mostly living some distance away.
So in this way, the settlement at the sea was referred to as the “ladder” or “staircase” to the main village. You can see this frequently including places like Thassos – we stayed near “Skala Potamias,” the port of the village of Potamias, located at a higher elevation and a few km away up the mountain.
This past weekend, I drove to a village about 20 km by road west of Atalanti (pronounced as Ata-la-dee) but also had some business to do with an individual in Atalanti. His choice of meeting place was the Portokali Kafe (Portokali by the way, is the Greek word for the fruit we call an orange), located in Skala just a few minutes drive from Atalanti. It was a nice little place with a great view of all the goings-on at the beach, and very good coffee!
Close by was the very small port, that is named Skala Atalantis – and some boats were tied up here. It’s a very shallow area so it will only accommodate small craft.
But I like ships and boats and there is something about imagining the places they’ve been or the cargo they’ve transported – like John Masefields poem, Cargoes, of course without the stately Spanish galleons, ivory cargoes or dirty British coasters here.
In Skala Atalantis, the boats are mostly small fishing boats or pleasure craft. So I snapped a few photos. Personally, I like the one at the top of this post the best – The Matina – a small fishing boat.
There were also several “motor boats” tied up together:
This sailing vessel moored at the dock:
And another fishing vessel named the “Tolmeros” – which apparently means, “the bold one.”
It was late in the evening, and as we looked inland to the west, the sun was setting over high hills that sweep down to the sea: