My new favourite destination is Messinia!
I have travelled to Greece so many times and I have seen so many amazing places but there are always new places to discover and marvel at. In my younger days my favourite place was Mykonos and I would go back year after year on my annual three-week trips to Greece.
Over the past 10 years or so, I have visited other islands and places in mainland Greece and the Peloponnese. One of my recent favourites has been Messinia and the Costa Navarino resort. First the resort is just incredible but that part of Greece is so beautiful that I tell people it’s a combination of Tuscany, for the beautiful countryside, and Hawaii for the natural beauty of the beaches.
I love it so much that it has become my go-to destination. As if the beaches and countryside of Messinia were not enough, there are ancient sites like Nestor’s tomb and Ancient Messini plus many small seaside towns that are worth exploring such as Koroni, Methoni and Pylos. On my recent trip to Costa Navarino we rented a car and drove around Messinia to explore. On our return every day as we approached the resort, we kept noticing a farmer who was drying his grapes so they could become raisins. One day I decided to stop and ask if I could take some pictures and we struck up an hour- long conversation about what he was doing, the area and life in general. When I got up to leave he offered me a big bag of the delicious Messinian raisins from his field and they served as our snack all day long for the rest of the trip.
There are so many moments in my mind from all the places I have been to in Greece that stand out but the ones that stands out the most are at the Acropolis. Every time I go there I am so moved that it brings tears to my eyes. From the walk up to the Propylaia to the first glimpse at close quarters of the Parthenon to the view at the edge of the Acropolis, it is so moving that I feel it for days afterwards. I do not try to analyse it and ask what is it that makes me feel this way. I just accept it and I am very thankful that there is one thing in this world that makes me feel like that without asking for anything in return.
My favourite Greek delicacy is the crunchy and delicious loukoumades topped with honey and cinnamon. These delicious little balls of fried dough can be found in most parts of Greece but the best ones I have ever had were in Chios near the main square. Although these were the best, I went on a loukoumades crawl in Athens and have found several places that serve loukoumades that are quite good.
My favourite things to bring home from Greece are herbs and spices like oregano, mint and various wild herbs that you can use to make tea. These are the same herbs that people in Ikaria use to make their tea and that is one of the reasons Ikarians are so healthy and live a very long life.
There are a number of islands I would like to visit: Milos, Astypalaia, Skiathos and Santorini. Santorini is on the top of my list because I have only visited it for a few hours while on a cruise of the Greek islands when I was 16. I also want to explore Athens and get to know it better.
Athens is so amazing and not only because of the Acropolis. It has a wonderful vibe to it and there are so many things you can do there.
If you love beaches, the Athenian Riviera is only a short car ride away from the city centre. If you love food, Athens is your city. If you love to people watch then anywhere you go in Athens you will find a square with cafes where you can sit, relax, sip your coffee while also drinking in the unique atmosphere as the Athenians go about their daily lives.