Greece in May – part I

It’s a gray morning in Milan, I have a free day and I am trying to find a ray of light but it seems impossible.

I am still tanned from my recent Greek holiday for the Greek Easter. This time my destination was Kos Island, in the Dodecanese. It was my first time there as I must admit I am not a big fan of islands. Not because they are not worthy or not beautiful enough, only because I have this – call it stubborn – idea that the “authentic” Greek is far from the mainstream destinations. I have opted for Kos this time for these reasons: it was end of April so the touristic season has not started yet, it was a special offer for only 30€ round trip per person (great deal no?!) and I have never been in the Dodecanese so it was a perfect location to celebrate Easter.

So on a cold and dark Monday morning I have called the cab and at 6 am I was at the Bologna airport ready with my ticket and my ID, thrilled to feel “home” again. Who doesn’t know me can’t understand how much I love Greece: the food, the deep blue of the sea, waking up early to see the sunrise, and of course the people  – I do fall in love with Greek people, the way they smile and how they talk!. So as I am on a plane 8or on a ferry) and I am approaching the mainland I start crying, I feel like Ulysses returning home every time I am back. The best is when I see Athens (which will always be my city) and I will immediately start crying, sorry but if someone will ever travel with me will notice this, really I cannot control my tears.

So again this time I start crying when I have spotted the island, the blue of the Aegean sea, the waves crushing on the mainland. Kos is a surprising place. It is going through great difficulties lately due to the continue arrival of immigrants from the Middle East (as it is only 4 km from the Turkish coast of Bodrum) but the Greek filoxenia – the word used for hospitality – as never lacked. You can find crystal clear beaches like Tigaki beach, nice restaurants on the hills like in the Zià village – perfect to see the sunset in a romantic taverna with a terrace while drinking red wine, but you can also find history and the heritage of the past dominations from Turkey, Italy and many others. Do not forget to visit the Asklipeion the great archeological site where the “father” of medicine Hipocrates hold his classes. You can walk and find a church and a mosque in the same square or you can find clear signs of the Italian presence in the 40s.

The food has been influenced from all this cultures that co existed on the island and especially from the Turkish cuisine thanks to the close distance from the Turkish coast. Many shops are owned by Turkish families like the mini gastro-shop Gusto owned by a very friendly man from Istanbul that left the city (Costantinopoli as he calls it) and opened this nice mini shop selling a mix of Greek and Turkish delicatessen, from raki to mastiha liquor to pasturma and turkish coffee with mastiha.

In the next post I will show you my experience with local food, and my visit in Turkey in the city of Bodrum!

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