Monday, February 7, 2011

Going to Greece

We’re off to Paros – not Paris as in French metropolis, but Paros, beguiling Cycladic island in Greece. Always, Gundi and I have been drawn to islands. All those years ago we lapped up and (ever since) gushed over Bali, travelled through Java, blissed out on Tioman, sojourned on Ometepe, and visited close family on the open Pacific shore of Vancouver Island. We have dreamed of Majorca, Sicily, the Seychelles, but now we are taking the plunge to satisfy the yen to spend slow time on a Greek island. In fact, we are going to get greedy and take in adjacent Naxos as well.

Having been on but one cruise in my life – some forty years ago as a teenager on a school-arranged Mediterranean tour taking in Venice, Corfu, Athens, Crete, Tunis, Naples, Rome, and Pisa – I am impatient for that moment when island landfall appears on the horizon and we approach a bustling port. Paros drew us with its picturesque little harbour at Naoussa, white marble, lively towns, navigable size, hilly terrain, high villages, beaches and coves, mellow and friendly reputation.

We will plonk ourselves down in Naoussa for a few days, explore the town, nearby beach rock formations at Kolymbithres. We’ll then head up in the hills to the quaint village of Lefkes. We’ll go walking from there on the ancient Byzantine Road through the villages of Prodromos and Marpissa, on to the little fishing harbour at Piso Livadi. We will inhale the heady scent of wild sage and thyme, blooming wildflowers. Sometime after that, we’ll head over to Naxos on the ferry to take in a very fertile island dotted with traditional whitewashed villages, impressive mountain landscapes, fishing harbours, Byzantine churches. On the way I will be getting Gundi to read the draft manuscript of my book, about living and growing here on the land in eastern Canada. It is tentatively titled Leafy Greens in the Rolling Hills.

It will be so refreshing to take in off-season island culture, character, food and drink, to inhale the soul of a locality. Most of all, I just want to lap up the heritage and the land and look out over the dark blue Aegean.