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Greece or bust

By on June 7, 2014
Dimitri C. Michalakis

Dimitri C. Michalakis

My neighbor is Irish and his wife is German and they both lived in Europe (she is German-born) and can’t wait to go to Greece again. “The best time of my life,” he says. “I went there every holiday when I lived in Europe and it was like no place else. I’m not Greek, but I sure would love to be.” His wife says it was “the most spectacular” time of her life when she visited. “The sunsets were out of this world, and the water, and the people, for sure—they are so alive!”

I last went to Greece three years ago and I still have dreams about it: about waking up in our hotel in Athens and taking a shower with the window open a crack and showing the Acropolis (and eating in the restaurant of our hotel and seeing the Acropolis). And visiting the Acropolis, an ocean of ancient calm with the breeze stirring the leaves of the olive trees and seeing all of Athens at our feet. Or visiting Plaka and eating the most delicious food in the world—let alone most delicious Greek food.

Or visiting my native island of Chios as the ship docked in the harbor and then driving a rental car to our hotel just off the beach—a beach with water the color of blue opal and a sky with a sun like poured Attiki honey—and a breeze filled seemingly with all the flowers on the island—plus the souvlaki roasting on some nearby skewer.

My Thio Stelio dropped in on us during breakfast at the hotel and took us for another breakfast in the platia of the town where we ate another breakfast of loukoumoudes—while he kibitzed with all the other tables around us in what became a communal meal in the sparkle and shade under the trees. Before we finished breakfast and then my aunt and uncle took us to lunch down the road by the old windmills and a couple of old beached fishing boats and we sat under the vine trellises and my aunt and uncle ordered practically everything on the menu. “What do you want?” said the proprietor. “We want everything,” my uncle said. “So you’ll have everything,” the proprietor said with a wink and we ate for a third time that morning. But we couldn’t resist, and then we had a desert of yogurt with honey and walnuts (“To soothe your stomach—so you can eat again,” said the proprietor with another wink)—before my aunt and uncle invited us to dinner at their house on the face of the mountain range that overlooks the town of Chios.

At night as we sat on my uncle’s terrace and looked up at the sky like a blue opal, with the stars and the moon arranged on it, and below we looked at the lights in the harbor and the ship we had taken that morning wearing a necklace of lights as it made the return trip, my wife and my kids looked at each other like we had landed in Paradise and we never wanted to leave (except to get home and go on a diet).

Enjoy your next trip.

About Dimitri C. Michalakis

Dimitri C. Michalakis is Editor in Chief on NEO Magazine.