3 Weeks Picking Horse Sh*t on a Greek Island 😂
Journal Entry 7
First of all, let’s start by saying that Skyros has been AWESOME!
We left the beautiful city of Athens after 5 amazing days and although it was a short trip we’ll remember forever, we weren’t completely gutted, unlike other trips we took in the past.
Yay, we weren’t going home!
We weren’t going back to our normal routines!
We were up for a beautiful adventure!
Although we had no idea what we were getting into, we were hyped for the following three weeks.
So, after hitchhiking from Athens to Chalkida with a Maltese driver, we continued our journey with a bus to the Port of Kymi. From there, we took one of the two daily ferries going to Skyros – without any idea what we’ll find on the other side!
The ferry ride to Skyros took around 90 minutes, and as soon as we stepped foot on land, we were welcomed by a volunteer, so excited himself for us to arrive. We drove for around 15-minutes. At times, we felt like we were going through an uninhabited island since houses are very scarce and honestly, after a week here, we can conclude that there is definitely more goats than people roaming around Skyros! It’s truly one of a kind place! Since arriving at the campsite, we had a little tour (although it was already dark), we set our camp and just headed to dinner after having a quick cold shower.
… but from the next day onwards, we really had the chance to explore and get to know everyone!
How Did We Find The Place in Skyros?
A few months back, we paid a membership on Workaway (which costs just 50 Euro for a whole year!), hoping that it’d help us reduce some of our own costs during our travels. This is actually our first experience using the site and let us tell you, it has been great!
We contacted the farm just a few days before our trip and luckily for us, they confirmed!
So, How Does It Actually Work?
Okay, so here is how it goes on Mouries Farm…
First of all, we get free food – all day long! So, this is actually mandatory for all Workaway hosts to provide some sort of food for workawayers. Luckily for us, our host owns a restaurant, or a taverna as they’re all known around Skyros. This means all volunteers get to eat 3 meals a day – breakfast at 9:00am, lunch at 1:00pm and dinner at 9:00pm – for free.
We’re very lucky in this regard – not only is the food DELICIOUS but the dining experience itself and sharing our food with 15ish other volunteers from all around the globe, has been pretty awesome!
Free accommodation! Let’s be honest, we don’t have the most comfortable place to sleep in (we might need a spa day and a massage after here), but all in all we surely can’t complain as the experience has been amazing! We have been sleeping for the last three weeks in a tent (thank god we brought our sleeping bags with us) right by two horses – Yaya and Elpida! It wouldn’t be a big deal if our first step out of the tent in the morning would be in a pile full of sh*t.
Free showers. We have to mention this separately, just because it’s an experience in itself. We have been taking constant COLD outdoor showers and although we’re kind of (… slowly) getting used to it, they’re no fun ☹. HOWEVER, looking at the stars while showering is kind of amazing!
What Do We Offer Them in Return?
We volunteer! We work 4 hours a day, 6 times a week. It might be tiring because of the heat and the physical work (which we’re not used to – at all!), but we’re learning so much.
You’ll find us working either the morning shift (9am – 1pm) or the evening one (5pm – 9pm), but never both on the same day … and we have one day off every week as well. The job goes something like this…
First things first – We feed the horses and give them water. The farm we live on is divided into nine different sections, each containing a group of Skyrian horses. Every group requires different needs and attention, and for this reason, we have a specific schedule to follow.
We clean the horses and get them ready for riding. Our farm is a non-profit, meaning that all revenue made will be again used around the farm, could it be for food, medicine, refurbishment etc. It offers riding sessions for kids, which helps in earning enough money to maintain the horses’ financial needs. A very important job before putting on the saddle and getting them ready is to clean and pamper the beautiful creatures. Once they’re ready, we’re off to ride.
Gosh, horses poop a lot! As you can imagine, that’s another job of ours. We have to clean poop all around the farm, and sometimes even around roads nearby if we go for a walk with the horses outside.
One last thing before we finish our shift would be to feed again (& give enough water) the working horses. They would definitely deserve it after a two-hour shift!