Sifnos: There isn’t a more grounding sight!
I was born and grew up in Athens, but I moved to London when I was 18, and have had one foot in each city ever since. I have the classic love/hate relationship with Athens; it’s like a friend that I’ve outgrown, but remain attached to because we share a common past. It drives me crazy, but I love it still. But the place that feels more like home to me in Greece is Sifnos, a small island in the West Cyclades, where I’ve spent almost every summer of my life.
I noticed recently that when I fly back to Athens from London, and the city comes into view just as the plane is about to land, I don’t feel very much; there is no sense of homecoming in that moment. But I get that feeling when I catch the first glimpse of Sifnos from the boat; it does something to me that no other place can.
It does something to me that no other place can.
Having grown up in Greece, I often take its beauty for granted or fail to notice it completely. But there are moments that take me by surprise and I see it as if for the first time. An unexpected glimpse of the Parthenon as I walk down a busy street in Athens on my way somewhere. Or the city itself, all lit up, as seen from the top of the Acropolis Hill on an August night. Or the view of the mountains from my house in Sifnos: there isn’t a more grounding sight than that.
I always crave for lamb chops and fries. In vast quantities. No contest. I was vegetarian for two years once, and then I came to Greece on holiday, and the lamb chops got me. I thought about it for all of thirty seconds before the first one was in my mouth.
When I leave I take with me nostalgia, ceramics from Sifnos, honey, moustokouloura [biscuits flavoured with grape must].
Next stop, Sifnos!