As I conjure up how I want to feel, I conjure Greece, the feeling of summer, and the sensations that linger. To travel, we need not go somewhere with our body. We can go there with our mind, with our senses, with words, a sound, a song, or a story shared with a good friend.
To me, Greece is all of these things. A place bursting with wild, salt, and aliveness. Sensations that lodge beautifully in your cells, so that you can call them up whenever you need to. Today, we go on an imaginary trip to some real places we can’t wait to get back to.
Wild starts at the ferry in Athens. Taking our place on the upper deck, in the sun, because it’s been a long time since we’ve had the feeling of warm sun and cool air mingling together on the deck of a boat. We become lighter as the fixed reference points of land melt into the fluidity of the sea. The air shimmers with possibility.
Wild continues as we jump in a jeep and cast off through the Greek mountainside. Winding, winding, impossibly perched over the Aegean, on the long road to where we are going (the video bumps are part of the fun!). They say the best things can be found at the end of long dirt roads. Our dirt road rests at the entrance of Onar, eight cottages tucked into a forest by the sea that can only be reached by boat. There is a chef, your own house, an exquisite private cove. You begin the artful act of creating space, shedding everything unnecessary.
A kindred sense to wild is salt. We head to a secret beach that is saltier than its Aegean surroundings. There is the feeling of buoyancy and ease. Once you start swimming, you can’t stop. The sun closes as you wade out.
Bells as prominent as mountains
It can’t all be about beach. Well, it can, but it’s good and well worth it to do more — Greece is earth mother, first and foremost. We roll up to the Bazeos Tower and climb to the bell tower that has been part of the landscape since the 16th century. The bells we hear are not those bells, but the ones of the shepherdess crossing the fields, and she knows the name of each sheep by the sound of their bell. Their sound is as prominent as mountains, layered in the immediately visible and the very distant. This will lodge in my heart as a most favorite sound of Greece.
The taste of summer
Fresh feta from the mountains, olives cured in mama’s kitchen, olive oil from centuries-old trees. This is why Greek salads here are different. One can never have too many. I’ve tried! Today’s location: Taverna Paradiso, Naxos.
Magic. The invisible sense. Beauty runs through it. We take a long walk
Our journey starts with a small fishing boat. By taking this small boat, we bypass the ferry and the crowds. It’s just me and the captain bobbing in the sea, suspended between leaving and arriving. This is the feeling I want to remember, sea gazing, gently forward.
My top three in Greece, for when we can meet again
Koufonisia: Of the thousands of Greek Islands to choose from, this is my #1. First, for existence of Eros Keros. A beautifully built boutique hotel that’s more your your own Greek house than it is hotel, except for the fact that your every need is luxuriously taken care of. Second, there are no cars allowed on the island, except for locals. Shuffle around wonderfully without precision by boat taxi.
Eros Keros: It’s specialness cannot be overstated. If you go, say Patricia sent you.
Linger versus hop: The magic of Greece lies in slowing down and experiencing it fully. Think not how many islands can I do, but how can i melt into where I am. Late dinners by the sea, night swims, staying salty all day, not having anywhere you need to be.