How many times has it happened to you to leave a place and remember it for a long time?It’s maybe its unique items that decorate it. It may be the air it exudes or the aroma that emerges. It can be the kindness and the way you have been served. Or it might just be something you can’t identify, but it’s there and it’s what makes the difference.This difference is supported and built by Andrea Kriemler, through every object she hosts in Karybu, a place that came to stay in the country of Tinos.
With deep love for objects and their creators, we find in her place unique kinds of art, jewellery, housewares and many more. Each one carefully selected. Each item has a story that affects our daily lives and Andrea Kriemler is willing to share it with you. A “foreigner” who does business in the heart of Tinos, certainly has so much to tell us and we have not been able to resist the temptation to meet her and learn more about her and her plans. Ladies and gentlemen, Andrea Kriemler!
Andrea Kriemler: The Lady of Karybu
TΙΝΟSabout: Tell us a little bit about your life. Where were you born, what were your dreams as a child and where do we find you today?
Andrea Kriemler: I’m Swiss and I grew up in Basel, where I studied, worked and I’m still in Basel – when I’m not in Tinos or traveling. I hardly had any big dreams – I really enjoyed furnishing and rearranging my dollhouse, painting or playing with friends. I loved a bit of adventure and luckily, I had a brother with whom we thought about all kinds of activities and also implemented a few of them. Today I am where I want to be and I am very grateful for that. I feel it is a great privilege to be able to live and work in Greece.
T.ab: When was the first time you arrived at the port of Tinos and what were your first thoughts then?
An.KR: I came to Tinos for the first time 39 years ago in October – I was just 13 years old, then. My mom was already on the island. My father traveled with us (my 2 brothers and me) through Italy and from there we took the ferry to Patras. Everything was very exciting: the ferry, the people, the language, the arrival in the port. When we arrived – that was in the afternoon – everything was closed and deserted. We were looking for a place to wait for Mom and just imagine: We ended up in the current KARYBU boutique building. That’s where I actually spent my first hours on Tinos, that used to be Georgis Place and I remember it very well. At first we were alone until around 4 or 5 o’clock when numerous men came, drank, danced and even had supper there. I was the only female in the bar. I was fascinated by the beautiful architecture, the hustle and bustle and the loud music and I still remember exactly how Georgis Place was decorated.
The Life of Andrea Kriemler
T.ab: What was it that you found in Tinos and does not exist anywhere else in the world?
An.KR: Tinos was a blessing for us. My mom bought a small, old house in Triantaros during our first vacation. From then on we had a second home.For me, Tinos meant serenity, humanity and nature. During the day we spent hours snorkeling, having picnic and playing by the sea. There were no people on the beach and in the late afternoon when the starfish came – that was always a big highlight. Immediately after arriving on the island, my younger brother and I set up our night quarters on the roof and slept under the stars. Back then there was no street lighting – the sky was just incredible, the stars within reach.
And we loved the people in the village! The mayor and Michalis on their mules, the women who all looked after us (they washed the laundry in the wash house for my brothers – I had to do it myself ). Then we were allowed to get milk from the farmer’s wife and absolutely great was the baker in the village! Fresh bread every morning. We were even allowed to bake pizza in his oven.
But that was all some time ago and yet it is the same moments that touch me and that are so strong that I keep falling in love with Greece. It’s the light, the moods, the wind, the sea, nature, the people, the food, the celebrations. Today it is also the incredible variety of culture, music, art, tradition and modern development. I have developed a great affinity for Athens and I would like to get to know a lot more about Greece.
Andrea Kriemler wardrobe
Greece offers an unbelievable quality in so many fields that it is almost impossible to find anywhere else in this density.
T.ab: How easy or difficult is it to do business in our country?
An.KR: You mention it: it is difficult and easy at the same time. There have been a few moments when I didn’t know what to do next, and somehow there are always solutions. It’s all just a little more “extreme” – in both directions.
T.ab: From your own point of view, what would you like to have in Tinos and you don’t have it?Would you change anything on the island?
An.KR: I would like that the island remains authentic, that there is a simple everyday life and that the infrastructure – especially the beautiful villages and all the walls – remains intact. I hope the island doesn’t turn into a summer vacation resort and a ghost town in winter – there are plenty of examples. But that also means that the young people of Tinos need a perspective on the island as finding interesting work, having good schools, medical care, etc.
I believe that it is possible.
Many are still focused on summer tourism. I would try to extend the season and even promote it for the whole year. The winter months are incredibly beautiful in Tinos! It’s green, from February to March full of flowers, ideal for hiking, relaxing, the view is unbeatable and the evening atmosphere is simply fantastic.
Andrea Kriemler: Thinking about the future
So you can create jobs for the whole year and people can settle down in Tinos. It would also be nice if one could start one or the other small production on the island (I’m thinking of handicrafts, agricultural products, but also IT services, e-shop, etc.),
That is also the reason why KARYBU has been open all year round for a few years now. If there is a small offer in winter such as a few taverns, cafés, shops, maybe a few concerts etc., then more visitors will come, which in turn means work – not only for the hotels and restaurants, but also in other fields.
T.ab: Your place, the Karybu, is really a gem on our island. Would you like to tell us the philosophy behind it?
An.KR: Many Thanks! The Karybu concept is a combination of what I didn’t find in Tinos and what I believe in, what I like and what I want to represent (buy less, buy better ).
T.ab: In your next steps, where will we find you? Do you perhaps have any other plans regarding your actions in relation to our country?
An.KR: Regarding KARYBU, the subject is deepening and stability. I would be very happy if KARYBU continues to be a business in the future that can offer qualified year-round services and that is only possible if we maintain our position on the market, perform well and the customers are satisfied.
But there are actually new plans that are already in the implementation phase; a small, fine resort with 7 houses that will remain open in winter. It is a family project. We equip the houses with chimneys and underfloor heating, there is a heated pool as well as a sauna and fresh vegetables from the organic garden. We will be partly open this season – in full operation it will be from next year on. If you like to have a look at it: it is called “Residence Vourni”.