Our travels took us to London this past weekend, and to a part of town we weren’t at all familiar with: Angel. Sandwiched between the City Road and Regent’s Canal, our Airbnb place at Theseus Place took us along the calm waters of the canal with its colourfully inhabited barges each time we came and went to Angel tube station, even if the place itself lacked ‘street appeal’. To judge by the posters and books inside, though, the Frenchwoman who owned it was obviously a big Star Wars fan, so we felt the force was with us the whole weekend.
Finally, after four months on Zakynthos, and a month and a half off it, ‘On a Greek Island: A Season in Zakynthos‘ is available as an ebook on Amazon.com. It’s quite a thing to see it there after all these months. What started as an idea back in Brisbane about a year ago and got written during our (nearly) four months in Zakynthos is now a reality. Well, as much of a reality as an ebook can be. It’d still be nice to see it appear as a ‘real’ book, but that can wait.
In part two of our trip around the Peloponnese we went to Polilimnio and the Mani.
It was time to leave the Mani even though we’d only had time to see a tiny part of it. We headed south to Areopoli and through the mountain pass towards Gytheio with a quick swimming stop at Mavrovouni beach along the way. Arriving in Gytheio just before lunch, we planned to eat at one of its famous harbourside fish tavernas. But it was still a little early so we set off to explore Marathonisi, a one-time island, but now connected by a mole to the mainland. There was an intriguing-sounding Museum of the Mani that occupied an 18th-century tower house that we’d hoped to visit, but alas, it was closed. In ancient times this little island was known as ‘Kranae’, and according to Homer it was here that Paris and Helen of Troy spent their first night after running away from Sparta. We chose a taverna for lunch and sat at a waterside table where we could see the little fish feeding on the mossy rocks. After a meal of kalamari, mussels and a rocket salad it was time to get in the car and continue towards Monemvasia. Continue reading
In part one of our trip around the Peloponnese we went to Ancient Messene, Pylos and Methoni Castle.
After two nights it was time to leave ‘sandy Pylos’, as it was called by Homer. We were going to head east across Messinia, go straight through Kalamata, and then drive south down the second finger, the Mani peninsula. The Peloponnese is surprisingly compact to someone used to the vastness of Australia but we quickly found that the correlation between the kilometres we drove and the time taken to drive them had a less than linear correlation. Main roads can be tortuously windy with secondary roads lapsing into a single lane in places. Add to that the presence of two potential pukers in the back seat and our progress was slow. Continue reading
We’ve recently returned from a week’s driving tour around the Peloponnese – a holiday within a holiday, if you will. We’d been in Zakynthos for two and a half months by mid-June, and once the boys finished school it seemed like a great time to head off for a bit of exploring. Continue reading
One day on our previous visit to Zante two years ago we noticed workmen clearing up a large amount of sand on Solomós Square, the main square in Zákynthos town. We went about our business and thought no more about it. Reading the local paper the next day I found out what the sand had been for: jousting. I read that again: jousting? In Zákynthos? Ναι! Continue reading
Of all the nationalities I could have been if I wasn’t Irish, French would have suited me best. That has nothing to do with my French-sounding surname, which actually comes from a far-flung corner of county Mayo on the west coast of Ireland, but rather from the affinity I’ve pretentiously felt with the language and – oui – the culture since I was young. I did French in school, liked it, did well at it, read some French books, and really got into French cinema, especially if it involved nudity, which it usually did. To this day, my favourite movies include “Le Boucher”, “Diva”, and “Rififi”. Some days here on Zakynthos, I feel like I’m starring in my own Marcel Pagnol adaptation, like the père in “La Gloire de mon Père”.
Okay, this is going to be more of a newsy blog with an update of all the little bits and pieces that we’ve been up to lately. We’ve been here just over five weeks now, and Spring is in full bloom. There was a frenzy of activity in the fields about a week ago with hay being mown and baled, summer vegies planted and olive groves cleared of rampant thistles. It’s slowed down a bit now but there’s always someone in one of the neighbouring fields busy at work doing something agricultural that I can’t always identify.
Our good friend, Yorgo, is a self-sufficiency guru. Not in the modern “let’s escape consumerism and go back to our roots” kind of way but out of tradition, inclination, and to a large part, necessity. A lot of the people around here have never escaped from their “roots” and take pride in growing a lot of their own food. Continue reading
We arrived in Zakynthos by the front door, at the beginning of April, the end of orange season. To fly in, as we sometimes do, is to skulk in through the servants’ entrance. We sailed into Zakynthos harbour this time like pirates, boots up on the gunwale, telescopes out. Continue reading