Living on Patmos is a blessing

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Someone who knows me, even a little, probably already knows that my favourite destination in Greece is Patmos, of course. My parents are the owners of Petra Hotel & Suites so I have been going to Patmos every summer since the age of two. I read somewhere that living on Patmos is a blessing and I couldn’t agree more! It is a unique destination with a special quality which many perceive but none can pin down precisely: Patmos emanates a quintessential aura which is at once mystic and peaceful, captivating its visitor. And it gets to me every time I visit and discover a new aspect of the island!

Patmos emanates a quintessential aura which is at once mystic and peaceful, captivating its visitor.

Although the incident I recount below happened over a year ago, I consider it to be relevant to the present. During my last visit to the island for 2014, Patmos had almost calmed down from the hordes of tourists, and the locals had slowly started to recover their more relaxed, everyday pace.

It was Saturday evening and I‘d gone to the “Givaeri” tavern to enjoy the toothsome delicacies accompanied by live island music one can find in this particular establishment after the end of the summer season rush (ergo I was present at an authentic night of entertainment for the locals rather than a “staged spectacle” for tourists). So, imagine a restaurant filled mainly with people who knew each other, as if we were one great big group of friends.

Spirits, assisted by music and wine which always help the externalization of feelings, were high. At some point a local approached our table, hugged me and said in an emotional tone: “nobody can take away what we are living now, no recession will deprive us of this!” For certain, our country still needs a lot of changes and reforms. However, the Greek authenticity and soul should most definitely remain unchanged!

As you understand, when one goes to the same place every year, it becomes increasingly difficult to summon up one’s original levels of enthusiasm for any of the landscapes there. However, quite the opposite happened to me this year. During a photo shoot, I found myself once more on the big volcanic rock of Kalikatsou, otherwise known as Petra.

Small clouds had formed on the clear, translucent horizon and, without me realizing, my partner took a picture of me from behind while I was standing at the mouth of a small cave, gazing at the sea. The photo is truly unique; no matter how many times I look at it, even to this day, I have difficulty believing that this unparalleled landscape is the same one I’ve climbed over so many times but has never before presented itself to me as it is in this picture.

Actually, the feelings evoked by this particular landscape have inspired me so much that my partners and I decided that this is the photo that will from now on reflect the TrueGreece brand!

My favourite food on Patmos is fresh mullet which I really adore and can’t get enough of! Served with vegetables from local gardens, either at Leonidas, with the peaceful landscape and the incredible view of the sea, or at Lampi, right next to the waves, the mullet is unrivalled. I’ve been to these particular taverns hundreds of times and always make sure I also order their speciality, saganaki.

Unfortunately, I am not the souvenir buying type. Every time I visit a place I am not interested in buying a souvenir to look at after some time and remember where I went. I like living in the present and taking mental photos of moments, keeping them in my memory.

Perhaps you could say that these unique memories are my “special souvenir”. However, what I would not take, and unfortunately many others do, is even one colourful volcanic pebble from the beach of Lampi. The beauty of this impressive beach is ever waning because of the thoughtless mentality of certain visitors who remove pebbles to take as souvenirs.

A place I would definitely like to visit, and one that is in my immediate plans to do so, is the Zagorohoria. Have I surprised you? Perhaps you were thinking that I’ve already visited them or you expected me to come up with an island or a more ‘sophisticated’ destination. But no. Our well-known Greek mainland, somewhat inexplicably and mistakenly neglected by those marketing Greece internationally, has a unique beauty and charm of its own.

We all know, either from personal experience or through various photographs, these wonderful small villages situated in Epirus, above Ioannina. As I have read, the word “Zagori” comes from Slavic and means “behind the mountains.” The picturesque Zagorohoria are famed for their special natural beauty combined with their distinctive architecture and long history. Therefore, I urge you to visit them, if you haven’t already, and perhaps we will meet there in the winter!