We don’t visit Greece, we live in Greece!
Having spent the last forty years in Hollywood in the movie and television business on both sides of the camera, we decided to retire. When we first arrived in Skiathos we were on our way to no place in particular and had planned to stay only six months. It was the week they were changing from the drachma to the euro and all we had was dollars and nobody would accept them because the exchange rates hadn’t been established. In Richard’s book, ACT III, he mentions the moment in the second chapter:
“Climbing down the steps of the police station
I couldn’t help but laugh in disbelief. Where had
we landed where without hesitation, without questioning,
without exception, people opened their hearts and wallets
to complete strangers?”
And we’ve never left.
We’ve be to the capital, all over the Peloponnesus, so much to see, Thessalonica, excellent shopping, breathless Meteori, Metsovo, which Richard used as the setting for his novel, Chrysalis, and Richard has been to Mt. Athos and is returning again in January.
There’s nowhere else on earth we’d rather go.
A story that we treasure most is when we stopped in Selegoudi, a small village below Sparta, which is Anthea’s ancestral home. After first thinking it deserted, two dozen relatives appeared and a large table was set for a feast, with each carrying another food or wine. During World War II and the ensuing Civil War, Anthea’s father sent a large box every week to the village containing clothes, canned goods, and toys and candies. Towards the end of the meal, an old man sitting next to Anthea leaned in and whispered “I was married in one of your father’s suits.”
After two weeks in Skiathos we bought a piece of land which we couldn’t resist “…a breathtaking clearing, surrounded by a protected pine forest and populated with hundreds of olive, fig, pear and chestnut trees. The property began on the crest of a high ridge overlooking a valley dotted with farms and olive groves, all dusted with snow, to a several mile slice of the Aegean, beyond which Euboea, the 2nd largest island in Greece, rose out of the sea with blue and purple snowcapped mountains that seemed painted and appeared to roll on forever…and in the spring the entire countryside would be covered with red poppies.” ACT III
A taste we often crave is from a family owned taverna, Amfiliki, in Skiathos, that makes “Shrimps Mediterranean”. Simply shrimps and mushrooms, that is so good, all of our guests crave it and one well traveled guest said “It’s the best food I’ve had anywhere in the world!”
Our favorite souvenir came from a basement studio in Metsovo, and had been carved by one of the village artisans: a twenty-six inch standing figure of a Greek warrior with a mustache and beard, wearing a breast plate and carrying a rifle and sword and smoking a pipe. He also wears a woolen hat.
We don’t visit Greece, we live in Greece, and there’s nowhere else on earth we’d rather go. Now we visit the United States only for weddings and funerals.