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This past April Irishman Ralph Lavelle went to Zakynthos on an extended break with his family and finally got a chance to explore Zante (as Zakynthos is also known) in depth. It’s a place they love – his wife Tina’s parents are from there – but one which they never got to spend much time in on previous occasions.
Experiencing springtime and Easter on ‘Il fiore di Levante’ for the first time, over the next four months Ralph brought his Greek up to official ‘not bad at all now’ standard, joined a traditional mandolin and guitar group, and shared in the growing anxiety everyone felt that Greece might be forced to leave the Eurozone before too long.
In June, when the kids had finally finished school, they took the morning ferry off the island, piled into a car, and saw some truly spectacular sights on a tour of the Peloponnese. Back on Zante one week later, there was just about time for the local village paniyiri before their short time was up.
In this book, Ralph talks about books, movies, the state of the island, and ponders two aspects of Zante – its culture and traditions, and its reliance on mass tourism. The beautiful, underappreciated (by most visitors to Zante, certainly) Greek language gets a look in too. This is a warm-hearted account of a glorious season spent on this Mediterranean jewel, during a turbulent few months for Greece.