Parvas traditional café - Nikoletta Kolida
The coffee-shop and the life of Dimitris Yiannakos aka Parvas in Hora, the main town of Amorgos, inspired the film “Parvas, Agoni Grammi” by Gerasimos Rigas. (The title refers to the location of Amorgos as a destination on the irregular, unprofitable shipping line that serves remote islands.) Its subject is simple: the life of the aged owner of the café, Parvas, on Amorgos. We see the daily repetition of the same routines year after year: making coffee, exchanging a few words with the customers, endless silences, digging his field, watering the vegetables, coming-and-goings to the café, all carried out with a metaphysical stoicism, fortitude and endurance. We watch him inhis Sisyphean efforts to cultivate his infertile land, on the one hand, and, on the other,to earn a meagre wage together with his wife from the coffee-shop. These are the efforts of forgotten folk cut off from ‘civilization’ by an unprofitable shipping line, who nevertheless manage to lead a satisfying life with the little they have.
I shall never forget the evening I spent there shortly before Parvas was carried off by the ‘big C’. A merry-maker, drinker, singer and good lute-player, he sang ‘mantinada’ couplets with his companions:
Do not kill me, o sky
do not cover me with earth
now that I feel alive
I wish to live for longer.
After Parvas’ death, his daughter kept the coffee-shop for a while, but did not do well. Many of his friends from abroad never set foot on the island again. For them, Parvas was the whole of Amorgos.
Parvas departed this life on 29 June 2006. Precisely six years later, 29 June 2012, Christos and Nike took over the café from Parvas’ wife. They were respectful of the premises, keeping all the old furnishings and the photograph-memories that remind us of the good old days, Parvas’ personality and the frenetic goings-on at the café. They also kept the old menu and the generous portions of the days when it was still a taverna, dishes like the famous fried potatoes and keftedes (meat balls) as well as other home cooked classics.
Mainly, however, they have preserved the café’s spirit of place as the haunt of the older folk of Hora, who meet there to chat about their lives, which makes it, at the same time, a scene of interest for visitors.