I’ve been away these past three weeks; to change the routine, looking for the elusive Summer, I headed South. Summer was eagerly awaiting to meet me at the airport, in Athens. True to our yearly appointment, it has never failed me so far. We kissed and hugged and Summer didn’t waste any time in sketching out the plan it had prepared for us this year… We started with a walk in downtown Athens.
Athens can be a beauty or a beast, depending on whether you are looking at her sexy side.
Escaping the blinding Attic light I entered into a dark, thickly carpeted room in the Onassis Cultural Centre. There, in the cool darkness, Robert Wilson exhibits his Video Portraits until 7 July. A mix of artists, musicians, celebrities and animals on large-scale, HD plasma flat-screen monitors. Still life or real life, again depending on how (long) you look at them. Mr Wilson himself was there that same evening, presenting and discussing a number of his works. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that tickets for the lecture were sold-out (although the theatre described this as a three-hour performance, so I’m not sure what most of the people were expecting). So, everyone was there (except me)… had to leave very early next day on a boat trip to my very own slice of heaven…
… which is Antiparos. There, amongst many other things, I got to see a cave. It was awesome and bigger on the inside with stalagmites and stalactites, formed over millions of years. Here is tiny me, hopelessly trying to capture eternity. A bat greeted its guests. She was fussy and timid. Finally, unsure of what to do with us, she disappeared into the dark depths of her dome.
Later on, we hopped on a little wooden boat that brought us to a deserted beach. It was empty apart from two more couples because it was early in season. Later, I’m told, there would be crowds. Our captain offered the lucky six of us homemade wine and watermelon and brought us to the sea caves. We swam. The water was cool. Blue. Clear. Blue.
Teaming with life: little fish, big fish, multicoloured fish, sea urchins…. one afternoon I even saw a starfish and got really exited as I don’t happen upon starfish often! I had some of those for dinner, well, little fish mainly, and washed them down with a glass of chilled ouzo…
I met friends I hadn’t seen for ten years and got introduced to a legend, a veteran of greek theatre and cinema. He generously shared countless little juicy stories of old times. We laughed. We contemplated. We drank more homemade wine and ate lovingly prepared, healthy food. Local produce, grown in the sun. We savoured the colours. The taste. The goodness.
On 11 June, I shared the shock and awe with my entire country, suddenly standing in front of the Dark Screen. No signal. ERT, our Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation was dead, killed by the coalition government as part of spending cuts, an essential measure to help meet the country’s debt bailout obligations. Apparently. Plans were already underway to re-open a smaller, independent, healthy public broadcaster but the fact was lost in the argument. The government shook and rattled under the general condemnation, within the country and beyond. The coalition has already undergone groundbreaking changes.
This photo was taken last year. I thought it was funny then…
But enough with politics… What would summer be without a party? Not nearly as fun, so this year I went to a virtual one. It was really crazy, masterminded by the ladies behind the fashion label MasonBentley, to celebrate together the launch of their first capsule collection. British fashion at its best. Elegance and wearability and a dash of vintage. Timeless. I had the greatest time and met some wonderful fellow
nutters bloggers! I wished for one of their gorgeous summer dresses to materialize miraculously through the bloggosphere for my next evening out but had to do with one of my own vintage treasures instead.
On a cultural note, as part of the Athens & Epidaurus Festival 2013, Dimitris Papaioannou, the single most important choreographer and performer in contemporary Greece was staging his latest work, Primal Matter. I’m thankful to the stars that the performance dates coincided with our stay in Athens!
I enjoyed some quality family time and got to squeeze its two youngest additions: the cutest baby monsters that are my niece and nephew; then patted my sister’s back in encouragement and, with a sigh of relief I’m not ashamed to admit, went on to my lazy holiday routine….
… had a lot of iced coffees in favourite spots, watching the world go by or fiddling with my tablet trying to comment on wordpress posts; finally I became an expert… do I detect some knowing and amused smirks?
Greece has always been by favourite place on Earth for summer holidays because it spoils one for choice. According to EOT (Hellenic Tourism Organisation) ”Greek sovereign land includes 6,000 islands and islets scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, of which only 227 islands are inhabited”. If you include some of the most breathtakingly beautiful must-see places in the mainland, the list is endless.
I feel life is always sweeter when I go back to essential basics… all one needs is a remote island, a cool afternoon, fresh sea breeze, local food and good company. And some wine. Simple, non?
I didn’t miss Brussels but I always come back, if only so I can start dreaming of my next little summer heaven, all over again. Brussels greeted us enveloped in her best humid, cloudy veil. Dressed for the occasion, she was wearing a bespoke dark grey evening gown, by her favourite fashion house, 11-degrees-Celsius. Très cool mais pas du tout original!
Which gives me the perfect excuse to keep writing more about my corner in the sun, wouldn’t you agree? This journal will go *mainly* through a Greek phase in the coming days; in the meantime I just wanted to say hi and have a quick chat over a double Greek coffee. Or Turkish, again depending on which side you are looking from. Same difference. Naturally…
Larry Bendoski – Source