A Vacation from Myself- Memories of Hydra

The English word vacation comes from the Latin vacans, the present active participle of vaco, which can mean, depending on the context, to be free, to be at leisure, or to be empty. Since Hungarian straightforwardly uses the same word, ‘szabadság’ both for freedom and vacation, and in Romanian you will say ‘îmi iau liber’,…

So What’s the Deal with Spetses

Loukas the taxi driver was interested in my long term plans in Greece. Surely, I was going to the islands, not just staying in Athens. Yes, I was. Which island? Oh! But you MUST go to Spetses. This was the automatic reaction every time I revealed my dirty little plan to just stay on Hydra….

Our Lady of the Hot Mess- Brief Impressions of Athens

Having heard that my boyfriend was Turkish, Loukas, the Athenian taxi driver, looked straight into my eyes, took a deep breath under his mask, and imparted what he felt was a fundamental truth: Greeks and Turks are alike, and would get along just fine, if it wasn’t for meddling politicians. We need to look at…

Greek Cats and Pandemic Travel Musings

There’s no running from the truth. This post, as most of the Internet, was born from cat pictures. I nevertheless felt that the Zakynthian bestiary could not be topped. Perhaps I could go for a more serious topic. Like that moment when you extricate yourself from a ’50 pictures that prove cats are liquid’ collection…

All Them Lovely Beaches- Where to Swim and be Reborn on Hydra

At seven in the morning in early September, the light over Hydra is more of an impression than reality, a fluid veil of burnt orange sneaking over the hills. The port is hidden from the rising sun, like a pearl inside its shell, by the barren, burnished cliffs that run across the island, like the…

Looking for Leonard-A Pilgrimage to Hydra

Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah is one of the most misunderstood and misused songs ever written. Just recently, it was played during a rally by Donald Trump’s campaign team. It has a special charm with purportedly religious people, because they misinterpret the hallelujah. Understandably, Cohen’s estate put out a few words making it clear that they had…

Best of 2017 Travels

Sightseeing. The year began with an Arctic snap, which meant the Balaton was almost completely frozen over, and thus just in the perfect state for my tastes- its summery outing as a sea instead of a sea will stay forever alien to someone who grew up with an actual sea- it’s dark yes, and filled…

Six Cats of Zakynthos

Breakfast Cat, feline in residence of Argasi’s Family Inn hotel and bar. General traits: dignified demeanour, underlined by a gracious but insistent limp: I am wounded, help me, minion. Will materialize out of nothing like a Hellenic Cheshire cat at the first clink of a plate in the morning. Food of preference: bacon, ideally dislodged…

Life is a Beach- Zakynthian Holiday Part Two

I found it very odd that the promotional plastic bags of Zakynthos (every even moderately touristy location should obviously have its own promotional bags) affectionately call it the Island of Culture. Perhaps it’s the already mentioned ubiquitous presence of Dionysios Solomos permeating the island air, for otherwise Zakynthos is probably one of the least cultural…