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A lighthouse called Armenistis

Once upon a time there was a lighthouse called Armenistis. The truth is that usually the lighthouses in my mind are combined with a sense of melancholy…It is perhaps because of the solitary and usually remote location. Or maybe that in most movies are accompanied by sad stories and nostalgic notes…who knows… I have come across a few lighthouses so far, mainly on our trips to island areas. Most times i have not even noticed them since when we met them we were inside a boat.

But there is a lighthouse that we talk about almost every day during summer season here in Mykonos. Armenistis lighthouse in recent years consists an attraction for thousands of tourists. It is the lighthouse of Mykonos and the name of, Armenistis. The reason of being a place to visit? Of course, the panoramic view of the endless blue, where a number of islands (complex of Cyclades) are visible. Some of those Tinos, Syros, Delos, Andros, Paros, Naxos. Especially during the sunset time the colours of the sky are magical!

The lighthouse is located in the western part of the island, on the hill of ‘vourvoulakas’ as it is typically called, and means ‘vampire’. Tradition states that the parents invented this name to prevent young children from visiting the lighthouse. Main reason was the dangerous location with the tall and steep cliffs.  Armenistis was built in 1891 and the occasion was the sinking of an English steamer in 1887 that cost the lives of 11 people. The lighthouse was built with the prospect of accommodating entire families since there were inside rooms with kitchen and toilet inside. Lighthouse guards from all over Greece, as well as from Mykonos served at the lighthouse. In 1982 the lighthouse was electrified and in 1985 the last lighthouse keeper locked its door.

The lighthouse, however, hides stories until today, very well hidded in its octagonal shape.  One of them became famous and is very emotional. During the war the lighthouse was used by Germans as an observatory. At the end of the war and while the German soldier who was staying at the lighthouse was preparing to leave, he was arrested by a group of young Mykonian boys. The leader of the group was the later mayor of Mykonos Costas Zouganelis. During his term, he received a letter…was written from the German soldier and was asking to find the young boy who saved his life from death by arresting him. The lighhouse was the occasion to start a strong friendship between them that lasted for years. Strong stories that hit deep in the heart like angry waves on the huge gray rocks of Vourvoulakas hill.

We hope and wish that any cultural authority is responsible to take care of the issue, and start the repair of the lighthouse. We owe it to the history of the island since lighthouse is an integral part of it, as equivalent to the thousands of visitors every summer, as well as to the memories of children voices that resound on its deserted walls.

This year we have the chance to visit this location often since Joanna takes English lessons in a house nearby. Some days ago, as we were returning back home Joanna asked me for her favourite dessert and i believe this is one of the best you would have ever tasted… Tiramisu! a dessert with a taste so sweet and so bitter! just like my mood starring the lighthouse that afternoon…

The recipe for the most delicious Tiramisu comes from our aunt Jenny (a genius cooker) and if you are like me and you would like to avoid raw eggs this is your recipe! So easy to prepare and with a taste from heaven!

Ingredients

  • 1 package of landyfingers biscuits (200gr)

For cream:

  • 250gr mascarpone
  • 250gr whipped cream
  • 1 cup sugar (200gr)
  • 2tsp of coffee espresso or instant coffee
  • 2tsp of cognac

In the electric mixer beat all the above ingredients for the cream until the mixture to be fluffy and airy (approximately 5 -8minutes)

Meanwhile in a medium bowl add 1 cup milk, 2 tbs coffee (espresso or instant), 1 tbs of cognac and deep partialy the biscuites very quickly (2 seconds for each side).

In a tin of your preference measurments put a layer of biscuits in the bottom. Continue with a layer of the half cream and follow with biscuits. At the end, lay on the cream and leave in the fridge for 4 hours at least.

For serving sprinkle with your favourite cacao powder!

*a good quality of cacao makes always the difference.

Enjoy!

Always for you,

Athina

 

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