While in Italy, we took a two week excursion into Greece. Here too we found fresh produce abounded, recycling a bit less prominent, feral cats everywhere, and again the wonderful Mediterranean diet with no GMO tainted food – Greek Salads and fluffy Greek yogurt strewn with local honey were our favorites. Small family businesses covered the spectrums of our needs – restaurants, stores, hotels, and more. Diminishing our pleasure a bit, we struggled with second-hand smoke; of all the countries, Greece has the highest smokers per capita. Fortunately, inside dining was customarily smoke-free.
One of our fondest memories happened on Serifos Island when we “missed the boat”. Deep in vacation mode, I lost track of time! We loved Serifos so being “stuck” there was just fine, after all, we wanted to give back to this small lovely island and we had noticed a heavily littered beach. We quickly filled our bags, and more bags as there were ample littered plastic bags available to hold more litter. Fortunately we found Greece doesn’t use Styrofoam food containers, so we weren’t bogged down with those tiny photo-degraded particulates. We worked our way around the harbor, finally reaching the most heavily littered section in the corner of the harbor. We noticed an older gentleman working on his boat. We gave him a quick wave, but stayed focused on our task, we were quickly running out of steam.
Finally while hauling our last load to the dumpster, we noticed the same gentleman now home was frantically waving and yelling “hello, hello”. Finally convinced he was calling us to come see him, not shooing us away, we headed his way. Once there, he led us to his water hose to clean up a bit, offered us beer, vino, declined, then water, accepted, then we settled in for a much needed rest and shade. He served us cold water and a snack – syrupy sweet grapes used to make wine. We didn’t share the same language, but with sign language managed to have quite a nice chat. Among our “discussions”, we understood his struggles with waves bringing litter into his corner. As we were leaving, he motioned for me to come. As he opened his door, we saw a huge room of stuff, perhaps from beach gleanings over the years. From a small bottle, he poured four small gems into my hand. He pointed to my fingers and neck, explaining I could turn them into jewelry. Fish eyes or shells? Not sure what, but I felt honored as they are beautiful and obviously precious to him. After thanking him, and exchanging double cheek kisses, we were on our way, feeling truly blessed.
BTW – If you ever have the chance to visit the lovely island of Serifos, we highly recommend Serifos Palace, tell Kyriakos Joan and Sam say hi!