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Ain’t no village festival like a Greek island village festival

I write from a noisy, jam-packed café on the waterfront in Spetses. A small island, only an hour or so from Athens by boat. Tonight, in commemoration of  the famous warrior princess Bouboulina, a small boat will symbolically be set on fire in the harbour. As far as I can tell, the entire city of Athens […]

Ambling in Athens

On a recent trip to Athens, we had the good fortune to book a tour through those lovely and wise folk at Context. Their learned docent Smaro met us at our wee boutique hotel, The O&B on the edge of the Plaka, where we ventured through lanes and flower-strewn alleys on a sun-dappled late autumnal afternoon (it seems […]

Ouzeri Barbarossa

Barbarossa is the best sort of simple Greek ouzeri/taverna, in the picturesque little port town of Naoussa, on the island of Paros in the Cyclades. How do you know it’s any good? It’s easy: the locals come here. Unfortunately (or not, depending on your point of view) in order to discover this, you have to […]

Isles and Isles of Hiking

Thanks to a splendidly mis-spent youth, I am addicted to hiking on Mediterranean islands. There are islands to party on, and islands with beaches; islands for honeymooners and islands with Greek temples. Here are some islands that are just great for taking a stroll. First up, in Greece—the tiny island of Symi in the Dodecanese. […]

Zorba the Freak

Forget the crumbling ruins of Ancient Greece. Modern Greece is alive and kicking at the all-night-long bouzoukia. A night out at a Greek bouzoukia is like a high-decibel mixture of ‘Zorba the Greek’, ‘Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat’ and a gun-fight at a carnation farm. Sound horrible? Just try not to enjoy yourself… A bouzouki is the name of […]

Xenophilia à la Mazarakis

I’ve spent a few nights in the Mazarakis Guesthouse in Mystra, but I’d happily stay for a week. It’s one of those rare B&Bs where the location is as good as the welcome is as good as the rooms is as good as the food. Yup, I’m afraid this is going to be a gushing […]