Tag Archives: Greek islands

Island hopping revisited

As my work has it, I’m currently preparing a travel guide for a few of Greece’s best and lesser known islands. Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Naxos, Antiparos, Amorgos, Skiathos, Ios and Aegina. Yes, it’s not a bad project to be involved in, considering alternative options would involve stories related to the current recession. While doing the research and writing, I looked up some pictures I’d taken on holidays which inevitably and brought back memories and  led to some realizations. First, I’ve really been around. I saw pictures of a younger me standing under a whitewashed archway, smiling and holding my dress so that the wind would not reveal too much. Others of friends seated around a table, feasting on seafood, faces slightly burned from spending the day at the beach, eyes revealing a generous consumption of wine.  I even found pictures of a tiny me attempting to feed a donkey somewhere in Paros, taken at a time when you had to develop the film before you could see if the exposure was any good. 

The project has been keeping me busy for weeks and will continue to do so for a few more. It is by no means a complete guide, it will just feature what I consider to be the highlights, a first acquaintance to allow one to discover even more. More importantly, I’m hoping to convey, even to a smallest degree, a sense of their uniqueness, a feeling of the atmosphere and the reason why people keep coming back. 

Last year's holiday: Paxi islands in Western Greece

Last year’s holiday: Paxi islands in Western Greece

Second, people make their preferences crystal clear. I haven’t yet met a person who didn’t include Santorini in their bucket list. I see it all the time in Pinterest’s boards. Especially those who consider tying the knot and want to find the perfect romantic getaway. Cheesy, but true. Party animals want to know about Mykonos and Ios and so on. If you ask me, I crave peace, quiet, clear waters and a good meal, so I go for the more obscure islands, the ones where you’re least likely to come across the package-holidaymakers. Avoid travelling during peak season also improves dramatically my travel experience. Don’t be fooled by my eclecticism though. I’ve done the mainstream island tour in my twenties and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Last year, I went to Paxi and Antipaxi, a small cluster of islands in the Ionian sea, right below Corfu, in western Greece. These islands are not exactly obscure. They are very popular with new skippers who want to take their sail boats for a spin, but they have managed to escape mass tourism. If you visit early in the season you will be rewarded with low winds, emerald waters, countless little coves and beaches, captivating scenery and truly amazing food, especially in Logos village. I highly recommend it. 

Do you have a favorite Greek island? Interested in visiting one?

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Now, if only we can convince him to buy other stuff

The Greek island of Oxia in the Ionian sea

The emir of Qatar is in trouble.

The Guardian – among other media outlets – published an article saying he agreed to buy six small Greek islands, situated in the turquoise Ionian sea, close to the island of Ithaca, the legendary homeland of Odysseus (or Ulysses).

The emir is a generous man. He agreed to shell out €8.5  million for this cluster of islands and, as if that wasn’t enough, he also promised to pay for the construction of a pipeline to bring fresh water from mainland Greece to Ithaca.

According to the article, the previous island owners were reeally happy to see them go, as they had been trying to sell them for 40 years!

It is more rare to find anyone interested in investing in Greece than it is to come across a snow leopard. So the Greek government – otherwise slow as a snail in reacting to anything – was quick to grab the opportunity to coax him into buying any real estate property earmarked for sale in its long list of privatizations.

The emir will not get the government off his back easily. I read the Greek PM traveled recently to Qatar to “convince” him to participate in a tender for the development of Athens’s old international airport: Care to invest? No? I’ll ask again. Care to invest? Yes? That’s better.

Some more pressure, and suddenly the emir showed some interest in acquiring some luxury hotel in Athens’ upmarket southern suburbs.

Don’t worry, the emir doesn’t run the risk of going bust. According to the aptly named website Celebrity networth (http://www.celebritynetworth.com), the emir’s net worth is about $2.5 billion. “So why not ‘help’ him to spend it here?”, the Greek government must have thought.

I wonder if the emir would care to buy an old car we have?

The Guardian’s article is here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/04/qatar-emir-buys-six-greek-islands