Ode to a Grecian Yearn

Greece window

Room with a View

One of our family’s favourite places in the entire world to holiday is Greece.

I started going when I lived in London in the 80′s.  My husband and I honeymooned there, and over the years we’ve returned many times with our two boys.

We are extremely blessed to have wonderful old friends there who graciously share their slice of heaven on earth with us during the summer.

I will readily admit I’m not nearly clever enough to comprehend what has happened with the Greek economy. I haven’t spent any time in Athens in several years, other than to pass through the airport, so I can’t speak to what the atmosphere is like there now.  All I can say is with the perfect weather, azure skies and sea, food one dreams about for the rest of the year and lovely, hospitable people, Greece simply can’t be beat as one of the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe.

greece, Slim Paley

And I wasn’t kidding when I said it was a little slice of heaven…

fried fish & french fries

and the food… O M G

Greece

Can you hear the song of the cicadas??

“Welcome back, Relax. Welcome back, Relax” (I speak Cicadian)

Their constant refrain, an audible perfume that instantly awakens your sense memory.

real Greek salad

I adore Greek salad, and it’s never quite the same anywhere else.

Except perhaps Vancouver, with their large Greek community, they know you never, ever add lettuce.

 (substitute “quelle horreur!” in Greek here)

Blue window shutters

It’s not an exaggeration to say there isn’t a smidgeon of their property that isn’t utterly divine. The family patriarch has a passion for design and attention to detail that knows no bounds. Every time we come home from visiting I am so filled with inspiration.

It gets my husband very worried.

But it’s not just the ambience…

fried aubergine

 Did I mention the food yet?

fresh mango sorbetMy friend helps herself to a serving of their house-made mango sorbet.

Do ya think they know our boys like sorbet?!

FYI, no dieting in Greece. It’s against the law.

Besides, everything is fresh, fresh, fresh so who cares about caloric intake?

~

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Just a quick aside-how do women in Europe get away with wearing lashings of jewelry with their bathing suits and look so chic?

Something I’ve yet to master. Mine gets burning hot, covered in sunscreen and looks like I’m trying way too hard.

But I digress…

Don’t get the wrong impression-it’s not all about food, drink, lazing about and angsting over my aquatic jewelry quotient.

Some of us manage to get pretty damn sporty.

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Younger Son wake boarding in Porto Heli (where Aman Resorts has just opened the “Amanzoe”-though we didn’t go see it)

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My ridonkulously adorable god daughter heating up the courts with her style.

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Older Son’s girlfriend “C” or, as she is now known  “The Donkey Whisperer” working her magic.

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Younger Son getting some “air” on the soccer pitch

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There are grapes to be picked for making wine…

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Books to be devoured daily by The Boyfriend of The Donkey Whisperer

cocktail bar, Greece

Cocktails to be mixed.

the cats in Greece

But I won’t be disingenuous, there’s a mighty high degree of relaxing going on in Greece.

Just as it should be on one’s hols.

Breakfast table Greece

The outdoor breakfast table before the first hungry morning shift ambles in.

Chicken coop

Breakfast eggs hot off the …ah… super fresh

Greek yoghurt & fresh fruits

and that Greek yoghurt, honey & figs right off the trees with a great cappuccino

Blue table setting Greece, Slim Paley

Seriously.

HEAVEN!

fresh greek salad

I’ll have a little glass of chilled retsina with that please

wine grapes, Greece

pink bouganvilea

Even the bougainvillea looks so much brighter in Greece than in California.

greek pastries with honey

Home-made pastries for desert.

Remember…worrying about calories-a Felony in Greece

sail boat in Greece

Sometimes we can even bring ourselves to leave our friend’s property, and tool about the islands

This pretty sailboat was in a bay we stopped in for lunch one day.

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Where of course I had to order my regular. And those teeny, tiny little fish sprinkled with salt and lemon that you munch like french fries.

Gone before I could get a pic.

Port of Hydra, Greece

Pulling into the port of Hydra in the late afternoon.

Squid hanging in Greek Tavern

Fresh squid/octopus? (difference??) hanging outside a tavern on the island of Spetses

traditional old Greek restaurant kitchen

Another one of our favourite spots to eat is a centuries old house in the hills where the proprietors, a lovely couple, make the food in their house kitchen and serve it outside on their porch.

very old kitchen in Greece

So charming and authentic. Is this not what traveling to distant lands is all about?

Not a Starbucks in sight.

Sunset in the Greek Islands

And to cap off the day with a cocktail while the sun slinks behind neighboring isles…

Negroni cocktail, Greece

It just doesn’t get any better than that.

cats in Greece

But why do the summer holidays always have to sneak by in the blink of an eye??

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I hope YOU are enjoying a languorous  August!

Happy Days xx SP

~

59 thoughts on “Ode to a Grecian Yearn

  1. After viewing this post, I am leaving for Greece ASAP. Probably will never return. Slim you make everything look so beautiful, delicious and inviting. I adore your blog – keeps the beauty of life alive in my memory banks.

  2. Dear Slim You have brought back so many memories for me and I must call my Greek friend in San Diego! She has a home about two blocks from the Corinthian Seas. I’ve been to many of the Islands including Hydra, our home base it at her very relaxing home! The food: yes, the Greek Salad, the fresh squid, the lemon chicken, cherries and figs tight off the trees…My Greek friend who owns a restaurant in San Diego will go right back to the kitchen w the owner and tell them exactly what we wanted to eat at times!

    Thank you for this glorious post!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Featuring: Designer Barry Dixon

  3. Slim, agree with every single word you wrote. We have been in Athens the last 3 weeks and it is devine as well (you have to look past the grit but still so enjoyable) Now we are in Monemvasia. A photographer’s dream. If you haven’t made it there yet, you should give it ago on your next trip to Hellas!

  4. Love Greece and the warmth of the people.. Travels there are stamped in memory. Dancing and eating in a family run restaurant with friends, family and ship’s crew (know where the good food is) on Patmos…ah! Just beautiful holiday with your family..send more..love it
    Lynn Ziglar

  5. Darling, you capture the essence of everything you do. That table awaiting everyone for breakfast is a delightful way to begin the day isn’t it? Love your thoughts and your fab pics. Gimme more more more……

  6. Oh my, you bring back such sweet memories of magical times. The food!!! The azure sea!! The big open hearts of the Greek people!! The ancient stones under our feet!! Air that kisses the senses!! Like you, I live on the happily ever after Santa Barbara Coast, but sometimes, the ancient sirens beckon…

  7. I have to agree. I vacationed through Greece a few months ago and the countryside is fabulous. It is one of my favorite places, besides from Rome and Capri. And I would agree. The food was amazing. I couldn’t stand eating in an American restaurant after being in Italy and Greece.

  8. Hey, Slim…
    I’ve been wondering how that gluten free diet is working out??
    My GF-crazed girlfriend has now added Paleo restrictions to her already grueling food requirements! No grains or diary, apparently! Oye’! I just can’t do all of this–it ruins life and makes me sad!
    xx

    • Hi Melissa
      I’m going to be completely honest and admit I don’t feel any differently, after more than 3 weeks of eating a gluten-free “diet”. I don’t think I’ve lost any weight either (I don’t own accurate scales. Thank God) I do, however, think I’m sleeping deeper-if that makes any sense. That being said, I haven’t found it difficult at all! SO, I’m going to continue for a few more weeks and see what happens. :-)
      PS. There’s no gluten in wine, right???

      • Ha ha! No gluten in wine or vodka or tequila or rum…(I think). That pretty much covers the Margarita, Cosmo, Martini, Mohito front, I believe. There is gluten in beer which I occasionally enjoy but they do sell GF beer. I could do it easily, too, however I’m usually starving when I am in a restaurant waiting for my meal and start picking at the bread!Must stop that!! And I’m guessing there is gluten in the processed crap they put on popcorn at the theatre so I’ll be popping my own like I once did a 100 years ago with an air popper when I was truly neurotic! Now I’m trying to add the Paleo diet to my regime which is truly impossible!
        PS. I think you know my east coast friend, Jill (C)! Small world. Xx

  9. Slim, Photos don’t get any better than yours! It’s like we are with you…so amazing!
    Really enjoyed the food pics…drool on my computer keyboard now. I also love Greek salad..
    didn’t know that the real deal does not have lettuce…I used to pick around it anyways.
    The water shots especially are magnificent. You are so talented!!!
    Thanks for sharing your slice of heaven with us.

  10. I want to go to there! Exquisite post….. as always! Such a wonderful family holiday.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Kim

  11. I just read your post in bed.
    I can’t get out now… Something tells me there are no fresh figs with yogurt and honey waiting for me downstairs!
    Spent two weeks in June.
    I so understand… Thanks for the journey back.
    Love

  12. No words can substitute for the thrill of traveling with you vicariously…You are blessed and you bless us with your seriously perfect adventures. Now I am VERY serious about traveling to Greece. Thank you , as always,
    Chris
    PS. THe donkey whisperer’s boyfriend is…OMG!

  13. I love it! you captured it perfectly, as always. YES! to the Greek salad with no lettuce! (As opposed to the states where they call anything they add feta to “Greek”). I haven’t been back in years, but I am planning on next year for sure. I think there are few places better in the world than Greece in the summer!!

  14. OMG i’m jealous, I traveled to Greece over 20 years ago and although I had an amazing time, my accommodations weren’t quite as spectacular as yours were.

    I do however have a Greek restaurant about half a block away from my place, and every day at about 4 p.m comes a waft of fried saganaki and grilled souvlaki …….love it!

  15. “Ella” Slim, Lovely post, on my way to Mykonos on Saturday can’t wait! Yes the bougainvillea looks fluorescent in Greece. Btw I know that gorgeous sailing boat , my lucky sister had a few days on it after her wedding. Heaven x

  16. Reminiscent of my still favorite of all trips …… Santorini …..and the hard working
    donkeys who take you to the top !! ALL this looks divine cept hard time eating anything with a face on it.
    Fabulous ..

  17. Slim,
    I feel like I’ve just visited Greece. Oh my, that salad and the fries with the little fish, wow. What a wonderful summer holiday.
    Karen

  18. You had me at Hydra. My word. The lighting even appears different there. And those food photos should be rated MA ~ they’re sinful in the best possible way. Photos of beautiful food and faces. The ‘children’ are all gorgeous. Favorite photo might be the shot of the drink in front of the setting sun. Sigh.

  19. WOW! These are A++++++ pics Slim! Heaven is right! This is one of your very most beautifulliest posts ever! I’m scratching my head–whatup with Greece and their 65% youth unemployment? Thinking they should hire you as their mistress of travel and food! Hoping your next stop is another fav of mine, Sun Valley!

  20. Slim…I loved the story these pictures told. A perfect summer, nothing less nothing more. Wow what a beautiful post..you have me craving a sailboat ride, a big giant bowl of mango sorbet and of course a bite of that yummy looking Greek salad! The food looks out of this world and of course the natural beauty is astounding. What fun!!! Thanks for sharing all the beautiful highlights..looks like a very special time and yes I agree summer has gone by way way too fast:(

  21. Now the look of those Greek salads! mouth watering. All the fresh veggies and fruit.
    Scrumpdillyish :-)
    Beautiful shots, my favourite being the one with the blue glassware, dappled sunlight, and the ocean in the background. That is such a lovely photo.
    All of the wonderful sites and you can almost hear the sounds.. a real treat to start my day!
    Thanks!

  22. i think my bucket list, based on all your posts, has now officially become a bathtub list. A bucket just won’t cut it. Sooo beautiful! It seems the blues and whites of Greece are like nowhere else – must be the light. Thank you for the inspiration.

    • Too cute! Love your idea of upgrading to a bathtub list!! Truly, a bucket ain’t gonna hold all the
      Slim Paley recommended entries I have either!!

  23. Those are such gorgeous photos and definitely makes one want to go! Thank you so much! I would love to know if you have found a good Greek yogurt here in the states? So I could kinda sorta duplicate that yougurt and fig dish??

  24. My aunt lived in Greece for a long time. She came back with an accent and changed her named from Shirley to Sheree. Best of all, she brought us some of those dolls you pictured.

  25. Greetings from South Australia, love your blog…. fabulous. Can I just ask you where you stayed …. the breakfast setting was glorious … always looking for lovely places to book into. Many thanks, Irene.

  26. How gorgeous. I want the sorbet and the god daughter is divine playing tennis. Have you seen before Midnight with Julie Delphy? It’s set in Grecce and reminds me of your snaps x

  27. Der Slim
    Looks heavenly and brings back happy memories of two separate visits to Greece and the islands. A friend then living in Athens invited us to visit and use her home as a base for jaunts to different islands and road trips to Meteora and Delphi. We specially loved Hydra, Santorini and Crete. On Crete the locals still love Aussies because of the Australian soldiers who escaped capture during WWII and joined the Greek partisans in the hills fighting a guerrilla war against the invaders. Once tavern owners discovered we were Australians they’d bring us complimentary coffees and ice-creams or glasses of retsina One place even brought us a carafe of raki. It was our last day there and we’d planned on visiting a museum along the quayside at Chania but on trying to get up, discovered we were legless, much to the amused joy of our hosts. Luckily we weren’t driving. A wonderful holiday – blue skies, blue seas, bright geraniums and bougainvillea on the dazzling white walls, amazing food, the bouzouki music. The olives were the best I’ve ever tasted! Best wishes, Pamela

  28. I agree whole heartedly. I lived there in the early 70′s for 4 years no government termoil at that time.Beautiful country amazing food and wonderful people. Will return one day.Lived just 20 minutes from Glyfada square so much fun.

    • Thank you so much Audrey. Yes, we are very worried for our beautiful Sun Valley. We’re sending our prayers and endless thanks to all the fire fighters there right now.

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