All posts filed under: travel

enchantment and a glass of wine

BY NICO MANESSIS In another life, one of my features was a profile of Santorini’s unique vineyard in The Greek Wine Guide, 1996 Edition. This jewel of an island vineyard was then promising, yet unknown to foreign markets. It was obvious that these penetrating, before chilling chambers, angular, bone-dry wines would create a cult following, spearheading modern Greek wine out of relative anonymity. Such an improbable, windswept vineyard was too much of a good story not to become a darling by switched-on merchants and sommeliers looking for something different. It seems like yesterday (summer 1995) that the late George Venetsanos took me to his Venetsanos winery, perched on the caldera’s rim, to discuss details of how master builder Tzorzis Saliveros and he set out in 1947, and completed in 1949, this one-of-a-kind gravity-fed winery. One still marvels at the inclined floor so water would self-drain. At the Venetian-era know-how steps where transported goods, solid or liquid, would remain shoulder horizontal. In the winery’s belly, the two giant pear-shaped water cisterns are awe-inspiring to look down into …

lush living in the peloponnese

WITHIN just over two hours drive from Athens, we zip past the seaside town of Akrata and start ascending the curvy mountain roads, past villages that it takes just minutes to drive in and out of. The landscape is breathtaking, with a massive, imposing mountain wall on one side, cobalt blue sea on another, and lush vegetation growing all around. With our windows rolled down on this gloriously warm, early May day, the sweet smells of grass and leaves wet by flowing spring water, bright aromatic flowers and pungent herbs, pour through our windows in an intoxicating wave. As we reach the 3000 year-old village of Seliana, we follow detailed directions until we come to a picturesque old church with a large plain tree and swings next to it, then spotting Re-Green’s unassuming entrance – a stone-built, square Mycenaean-style archway (a reference to the finds excavated on the land there). As we park we are greeted by Flery Fotiadou, who runs the place with her partner Christos Alexiou, and who waves us in with a dazzling smile. “Are you hungry?” she calls out, “we’ve just started lunch!” …

gather ye writers…on andros

BY GUEST WRITER DIANA FARR LOUIS For the past 13 years the Aegean Arts Circle has been a constant fixture on the island of Andros. Undaunted by Greece’s ups and downs, Amalia Melis, Greek-American writer and artist from New York, keeps bringing award-winning authors there to help less experienced writers polish their skills and find their voice. Every summer a select group generates a unique environment of trust, dedication and focus that produces fine, publishable prose and lasting inspiration. As a measure of the success of these workshops, some people return again and again for that buzz of intense excitement that occurs when creative juices start flowing and words spill out onto page or screen with a force and confidence you had only dreamed of. Amalia’s recipe of morning meetings with exercises and critiques of a single participant’s chosen text, a poolside lunch or swim, free afternoons, and a delicious dinner under the stars rarely fails to elicit your best writing while fostering friendships in the process. I know. I’ve attended three Aegean Arts Circle …

the notebook (greek edition)

MIRIAM Beard wrote: “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” Richard Clark, an English writer and journalist who has dedicated a lot of his life on writing about Greece, would tend to strongly agree with that thought, as he feels that the country has created some profound changes in him. He first visited Greece in 1982, when he went to live in Heraklion on Crete to work as a teacher. Since leaving the island to work for the BBC in London, he has returned on many occasions, now visiting the islands at least three times a year. He has written six books, Crete – A Notebook (two editions), Corfu – A Notebook, Rhodes – A Notebook, The Greek Islands – A Notebook and Richard Clark’s Greek Islands Anthology a Greek translation of his Crete book will be out later this year. Richard is married and has two grown up children and lives in Kent in the UK. How Greek are you? As far as …

a cretan odyssey

BY NICO MANESSIS The setting: the Venetian Grand Arsenal overlooking the port of Chania. A beautifully restored 15th-century dockyard, it is possibly the finest venue for a wine tasting in Greece. The 8th Oinotika was a well-organized, enlightening show. Large, airy room, cool temperature. A civilized flow of tasters that allowed wine scribes to do our business. Genuine engagement, good questions. Generous bonhomie and humour, encouraging the high amount of 30somethings attending. This was also an opportunity to meet the most obscure addresses, especially from the far-flung western reaches of this continent of an island. On a west to east axis, highlights that stood out include: Pnevmatikaki Kritopelagitis 2014 White: An intriguing blend of Vilana and Romeiko, with fruity earthiness. Manousakis Mourvedre 2012: Perfumed, civilized, smooth tannins. Dourakis Euphoria: A dessert wine from sun-dried Romeiko, orange wine minus all the funky stuff. Bergamot scented, silky. Alexakis Athiri Dandelion: Textured, vineyard-driven minerality. Maragakis 8th Art Vidiano 2014: One of the show’s brightest stars. White flowers bursting with pit stone fruit. Douloufakis Kotsifali 2012 : Boldly scented, thought …

celebrating ecotourism in greece

MAINLAND Greece’s stunningly varied, rich and awesomely voluptious natural allure is still not as widely recognised or appreciated internationally as its famous island beaches, welcoming peoples and succulent cuisine. Tourists, over the last decade, have begun to realise and rejoice that there is a great deal more to do during a Greek holiday than bask in the sun and drink ouzo, and that vacationing in Greece doesn’t need to be a summer plan. German tourists were probably the first to start visiting Greece on camping and hiking holidays since the ’70s, and one can still see them today parked in their camper van overloooking some scenic mountain or rugged beach, only today they are joined by visitors of all nationalities doing the same thing. By now Greece has set up enough infrastructure around the country to welcome demanding holidaymakers who seek professional quality experience in their guides, equipment, accommodations and facilities when coming here to climb mountains, go rafting and kayaking, paragliding, skiing and horseback riding to name but a few activities to be enjoyed here year round and in …

a chat with ‘lonesome jorge’

AS A child living in an isolated country town in Australia, Jorge Sotirios  was often fascinated by daring explorers who went to far flung places like ‘The Amazon’, ‘The Galapagos’ and ‘The Moon’. In his humorous, colourful and well received first novel, Lonesome George, C’est Moi! he managed to travel to all three. My Greek Review caught up with the author for an Athens-Sydney conversation. Sotirios has been closely following the Greek situation over the years, coming over from Australia for intense research and exploratory travel through the dense Greek socio-political jungle. He is currently preparing his new novel Graffiti Over Marble which relates to the past, present and future of crisis-struck Greece. My Greek Review: What has most inspired your love of travel? Jorge Sotirios: The truth is my uncles in Greece went around the world as officers on cruise ships, so their tales of ‘other places’ inspired me (they loved New Zealand the most strangely, but that happens when romance is a given). As a travel journalist I’ve been fortunate to spend ample time in South …

visual flight through elliniko airport

PHOTOS AND TEXT BY GIORGIO BOULASIDIS These photographs are the kind of images that can be shown without any captions, because it doesn’t matter what the subject depicted in them once was, What matters is what it is today, as it’s caught through the camera’s narrow lens. All these objects — from flight boards, waiting areas, doors, offices, ventilators and every kind of place that once served the thousands upon thousands of world passengers, staff and crews on a daily basis  — have by now mutated into abstract sculptures and landscapes, formed and deformed by fire and time. Elliniko was the first and main airport of Greece for around 50 years. It received fame and admiration and offered most of us our first flight experience, thus becoming seeped in our excitement and fears. .   And now it is burnt, locked up and filthy, continuing to be a sitting and transit area but by today for every kind of bird, creatures that seem to appreciate its history far more than humankind. Giorgio Boulasidis has been a passionate photographer since his teenage years. For …

at one with tajikistan

IN 2014, Greek filmmakers Myrto Papadopoulos and Angelos Tsaousis wrapped up their documentary film “The New Plastic Road” (2014), which examines the rapid economic and social change among isolated communities in Tajikistan’s mountainous Pamirs zone. They felt a calling to make the film following thorough research on pertinent, modern-day topics in world affairs, which led them to an article titled “The New Silk Road” in Time magazine. The filmmakers wanted to talk about an international subject that not many people have dealt with, so the article hit the spot, relating the story of a country that is being reborn after the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union and after a thunderous seven-year Civil War in the 90s. The relatively unknown country remains the poorest in Central Asia, but has more recently been attracting many big investors from around the world  and its geographical position may just have something to do with that (Tajikistan shares land borders with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and China). Excited and passionate about the unique and timely topic, Tsaousis and Papadopoulos headed out to Tajikistan and began a cinematic journey involving numerous road trips to …

Q&A: matt barrett, greece travel guru

Matt Barrett is a legend amongst travellers and wannabe visitors to Greece. His website Greece Travel Guide, has been offering readers valuable insider advice, quirky information and an in-depth understanding of Greece through the eyes of an American Grecophile since 1996. His writing and content is coloured with a warm, friendly and humorous personal touch, is completely unpretentious and seriously useful. Shortly after he had started his website I wrote a piece about Matt for The Athens News titled ‘Matt Barrett For Mayor of Athens‘ (in which he shared some of his story), and the insanely brilliant idea of him running the Greek capital continues to linger in my mind (and in that of thousands of his fans) today. I have written and continue to write for Matt and am honoured to host his answers to our Q&A here on My Greek Review, which has definitely been inspired by all the great things that Matt is providing to readers throughout the years and continues to offer today. His last answer here says it all… How Greek are you? My grandfather and grandmother on my father’s side came …