jump to navigation

Ancient Greece or Modern Greece? > Part II August 13, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Athens 2004 Olympics.

Nine ways to savour Greece now

There is a vividness about Greece, in the food piled colourfully on blue and white tablecloths, in the innkeepers who belt rembetika ballads into the salty night air, in the British orgies and, above all else, in the art that such vividness inspires. Classic, modern, beautiful, hideous, in person or on your couch next week, the only question: Where to begin devouring?

1) ‘In August, we go to the islands’

In the islands, you should find a cave. Bring a pocket knife, eat tomato, cucumber and tangy feta by the slab. Spend an entire afternoon in a kafeneio watching old men play tavli (backgammon). Fill a bottle from a barrel of village wine. Drink from it liberally. Pick wild mountain flowers. Give them to an old lady clad in black. Light candles and poke around little churches that overlook the sea. Sleep on the deck of a big ferry when the moon is full.

2) In feast

August 15 is Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary and there will be infinite opportunities to catch regional festivals and special taverna menus.

3) In cyberspace

Part oral history, part scrapbook, part postmodern atlas, kythera-family.net is crammed with a motley mix of stories, photographs, maps, oral histories, biographies, archives, songs, poems, recipes and home remedies. If only the physical Kythera was this real.

4) On DVD

Voyage to Kythera is the 1984 Theo Angelopoulos film about the destination Greeks never quite reach. Also: Z (Costas Gravas, 1969) and Jules Dassin’s Never On Sunday (1960). And Kato Apo ta Asteria (Under the Stars) won Christos Georgiou the “Best New Feature Film” award at the Montreal World Film Festival. It’s a deeply conceived and visually stunning examination of the Cyprus problem, which has shared front-page space alongside the Olympic countdown for most of this year.

5) In a little village on the sea

Filoxenia Apartments in the Kytherian port of Agia Pelagia are as Greek as the beaten path gets. For more information, visit http://www.filoxenia-apartments.gr or call 27360 33800. Down the street, don’t miss a meal at Kaleris (27360 33461) where talented young chef Giani Prineas has returned from Athens to update traditional Kytherian dishes.

6) In orgy

Malia Holidays Hotel is in the heart of Crete’s gin belt. Leave the play foam in your suitcase, and spend a night watching one of Greece’s most compelling scenes. Call 2810 811004 or visit maliaholidays.net/main.htm.

7) In the mind of a maniac

The Nikos Kazantzakis Museum is 20 kilometres south of Crete’s capital Iraklion in the village of Myrtia. It’s an homage to the author of Zorba the Greek (1946), Christ Recrucified (1948) and Report to Greco (published posthumously in 1961).

8) In your stereo

Leonard Cohen’s second album, Songs From A Room, was written on Hydra. Ideal background music as you peruse the essays in Travelers’ Tales new Greece edition (travelerstales.com).

9) In your hometown

Pay a visit to the little Greek shop on the corner. Pick up a kilo of kalamata olives, a bag of stuffed vine leaves and a slice of baklava for the opening ceremonies. (If the olives are not kalamata, find another little Greek shop on the corner.)

%d bloggers like this: