Alexia Amvrazi

BY Alexia Amvrazi

| Apr 26, 2016

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The Out-of-Towners: Sylvia Jagtman

For the love of travel, adventure and olive oil, Sylvia Jagtman has made Samos island her home and for years has enjoyed introducing foreign visitors from around the world to her adopted land.

Name
Sylvia Jagtman

Profession
Marketing & Communication professional, Experienced Guide & olive oil expert

Life status
Happy wife, mother and entrepreneur living on Samos.

Where in the world I am from
I was born near The Hague in the flat & wet land of the Netherlands. I grew up in the east, near the German border where I cruised over rural landscapes on horseback. The vibrant green fields, innumerable rivers and dykes are imprinted in my brain forever.

Rate your homeland v Greece?
Both counties have great features… on opposite sides of the spectrum! The Netherlands are defined by organization, Greece by chaos. Dutch people are liberal, to the point and efficient, Greek people are more traditional, tend to take the long road and are more considerate. The Netherlands are flat and green, it rains a lot. Greece has an unbelievably versatile nature and great climate. But as we all know, opposites attract!

I came here because…
I took a sabbatical to write a novel, seeking a totally new setting and far better climate. Six months later my book was complete and I was a changed person. I kept coming back for more, and when I met my partner I knew I had to stay.

I’ve fallen in love with…
Iakovos, as well as the island of Samos and its wild, fertile nature.

It makes me mad that
this beautiful country and its common people are faced with so many problems all at once and there’s so little done by national and international authorities to really help the situation. The opinion in the EU of Greece, the Greek crisis and the refugee crisis is shallow and short-sighted and I spend many hours trying to explain the reality of things to ignorant people.

The most Greek thing that fits into my hand?
A handful of olives. When I started caring for our olive groves, I realized what a perfect gift of nature this small fruit is. It taught me the essence of things which I use now in my every thought and move.

If I knew then what I know now…
I have never regretted my move to Samos. It made my life an ongoing adventure and gave me the chance to grow into the person I am today.

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MY FAVORITE PLACE TO:

eat:
Fresh fish at Triandafyllos in Paleo Kastro and tasty biological homemade food at Bakchos in Vourliotes, both on Samos.

watch the sun set:
One of the most beautiful sunsets on Samos is at Hippies at Potami Beach.

party all night:
I’m not a party animal. Does spending time with friends at a souma kazani in fall, which lasts all night and ends in a feast, count?

swim:
I am blessed with a lot of options on Samos, since there are many great beaches around the island. I like to take quick swims at Pontios Beach in Pythagorion, since it is close to home and has a very laid back atmosphere.

shop:
I don’t shop a lot, but if I do, I like wandering Athens’ center, from Kolonaki to Plaka and the Monastiraki flea market. I also get really excited by all the fresh products and buzz at the Varvakios Agora.

watch the world go by:
At Meteoron on the way to Koumaradei. On clear days, you have great views here over the south valley of Samos, the coast of Asia Minor and the Dodecanese.

read peacefully:
In bed. That’s the only place where I can read undisturbed.

connect with Greek culture:
On Samos I think one of the most beautifully preserved remains of ancient history is the Tunnel of Eupalinos in Pythagorion. One of the first water tunnels built over 2500 years ago and an architectural wonder.

work out:
I run around all day!

escape:
To the monastery of Panagia Spiliani on the mountain over Pythagorion on Samos, a tranquil place which has a mesmerizing cave with a tiny chapel inside.

feel like a local:
I feel truly local when I am waiting for my olive run to finish at the mill, roasting freshly baked bread and dipping it slowly into the newly pressed olive oil.