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  Nr. 9 - November 1998
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Farewell Siggi

by Petros Metaxas, November 1998
It is twenty years ago that Siggi Kohler, with her friend Ruth, moved to Paros to realize their dream - to create the most beautiful restaurant in the Aegean! A place where people could meet, be merry, communicate and enjoy wonderful food.

They started with the Tria Asteria, the Three Stars, far away from the center of Naoussa, a place that nobody with a sense of business would choose. But they took it, turned an ugly impersonal building into a warm and beautiful place, completely ready with tables and chairs, tablecloths and napkins, candlesticks and then they applied for a license.

Little they knew about the monster called Greek Bureaucracy. They were refused the license because the height of the restaurant was eight centimeters too low! But they persisted. They tore up the new floor, excavated the required depth, re-laid the marble and, after a whole year was lost, opened their place. People loved it. Their customers, like myself, all became their friends, but financial success did not come. After seven years they gave up. They went back to Germany, trying again for a new life.

But the dream prevailed. They came back, opened their new place, this time in the center of the village, and called it Lalula, after a German fairytale, since they were dreaming as only children can do. But again, not much success. Ruth gave up and left. Siggi continued herself, alone, with her struggle against bureaucratic price regulations and dealing with a string of crazy cooks. But the place became beautiful, for her clients, her friends and her cats.

Siggi was a great cat lover, and remained so even after a pair of tomcats peed down from the pergola into a proper English diner’s soup! She found homes all over Europe for more than twenty of her adopted stray pets.

Siggi kept her dream, year after year, making the place more and more beautiful and earning less and less money. This year she celebrated the tenth anniversary of her beloved Lalula. There was an exquisite cake with ten candles and her friends celebrated with her for the last time. A few days later, Siggi was killed in a car accident on her way to a friend’s wedding. Her car skidded on the wet road and plunged down over the steep embankment.

Siggi was buried here in Naoussa, her last home. Many friends, many people from the village gave her her last escort, holding candles during the service and following her to the cemetery. This show of love was the only consolation to her close friends. It meant that she succeeded, that she realized her dream, and the people around her were finally aware of it.

We hope that her restaurant is going to continue its existence and that Lalula, Siggi’s dream, is still going to give happiness to people for years to come. We hope that her dream will continue.
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