This is exactly what I thought Greece would be like.
Imagine this scene. Caramel sands with gentle waves lapping. The breeze lightly lifting the flowers and leaves, sifting lazily through the deep-rooted trees. Children playing together on the shore, giggling and laughing – sometimes screaming with delight as they splash each other with the cool salt water. Toys are not needed here.
The sun is dancing across the sparkling azure sea. There are little boats softly bobbing up and down: white and red and blue. If they could speak, surely they would tell of ocean adventures, early mornings and time-tested rhythmic routine.
There’s someone crazy going swimming. Surely, they must be Scandinavian.
We are perched comfortably on wooden chairs, leaning on our handcrafted dining table, a mere 5 metres away from the edge of the Aegean Sea. Surrounding us is the town of Vathi on the island of Sifnos – unspoilt holiday destination for European guests in the prime of Summer, now it’s is peaceful and quiet in the climax of Spring. It’s almost our own private beach. We feel simultaneously wealthy in this moment, yet made humble in its pure simplicity.
The dancing scent of delicious food is enveloping, all encompassing. I’m feeling so very, very satisfied after a generous meal, piled with delectable, fresh Greek food. There’s no more room on our jam-packed table. The enjoyable task of completing a hearty Greek meal seems deliberately insurmountable.
All the food we’ve eaten is locally grown and prepared by the restaurant owner’s family. The cheese is handmade. The vegetables are grown on his farm. The animals are respectfully hand-reared especially for restaurant guests. Organic, natural food is not some hipster trend, it’s just an expectation. A normal, natural way of life. The respect for food is palatable, literally. The food tastes alive, brighter, more flavourful.
There is a sense of serenity and peacefulness here like nothing else. A million miles away from the tense, hurried pace of city life. It feels understandably connected with nature. It feels very communal. There’s a sense of respect for each other and equilibrium with the environment. It’s an authentic sense of harmony.
It’s an unbelievably beautiful place. Mere mortal words fall utterly short of recounting it. Photographs cannot capture its quintessential purity. You just have to be here to understand.
This is the Cyclades.
This is Greece.