Note to self: Always remember that moment of clarity you had at the top of the mountain in Μουζάκι.
I didn’t get the best sleep last night, it was hot, the dogs were barking and then the church bells next door went off at 9a.m. (I went to bed at 230a.m.). The morning wasn’t such a struggle though because I ate φρυγανιές (little toast crispbreads) with butter and Tanya’s homemade honey. Yep, home made honey. Divine.
After breakfast we went around the corner to Tanya’s husband’s property to feed the chickens and then off we went on our road trip around Zakynthos. Man oh man this is a beautiful island. I was absolutely captivated by the coastline and the crystal clear water the entire day. We of course went to Ναυάγιο (shipwreck beach), Zakynthos’ main attraction, but we also stopped at Άγιος Νικόλαος, the giant cross at Καμπι and for a late lunch in Αγαλάς. Here’s a whole bunch of photos to gawk at.
Growing up my Γιαγια had a photo of Ναυάγιο in her kitchen, she always spoke so fondly of her χωριό (village) and I couldn’t wait to go visit and see it for myself. Standing there today, seeing it with my own two eyes, I honestly couldn’t take it all in. The photos I’ve taken are exactly the same as the one in her kitchen and it didn’t seem real when I was standing there looking at it. If only all the other tourists felt the same way, instead of driving all the way out there, taking a photo and then leaving.
We stopped for lunch later in the afternoon at a restaraunt that had a beautiful cliffside view and we ate till we were stuffed. Greek salad (though in Greece it’s just called χωριάτικη σαλάτα, village salad), τυρόπιτες (cheese triangles with honey), κολοκυθοκεφτέδες (zucchini fritters), τηγανόψωμο με φετα (fried bread with fetta) and my actual main of pork on the spit with chips and salad. Stuffed. Absolutely delicious, but I was stuffed.
After lunch we went back to my uncle’s house where I spent the afternoon drinking Ελληνικό καφέ (Greek coffee) playing backgammon and checkers with my cousins (I beat them each 3 times and they were not happy). My absolute new favourite thing to do though is to go on βόλτες (walks). Every half hour or so the boys would get on the back of their motorbikes and go for a 10 minute ride up and down the dirt road. We went and saw their cows, pigs and chickens (the boys were so proud to show me their animals and home) and we went to the mini mart for some soft drinks.
My ultimate favourite βόλτα though, was when we got in the car with Κοστας and the boys and drove up the mountain side to get a complete view of Μουζάκι.
I can’t explain to you what I felt on the top of that mountain. These people are my family, and their whole life is here on this island. They are completely self sufficient, they are, from what I can tell, happy with their lives, and they aren’t at all preoccupied with chasing money, buying fancy things and keeping up with the Joneses. I am so jealous of this lifestyle, while I was up there I honestly considered packing up my entire life and moving here. I feel like I learnt the meaning of life standing atop that mountain.
I’ve completely fallen in love with this island, my family and the way they live their lives. I wish I had just come here for 6 weeks. Whenever I feel stressed or preoccupied when I go home I will think back to that moment of realisation to put it all back into perspective.
Dinner tonight was simple; salad, cheese, olives, bread and ψάρι ζουμιά (the juices produced from stewing fish). You know how they say it is often the simplest food that has the most flavour? It’s because it’s true. Absolutely delicious. I had to actually force myself to stop eating, Θεα Βάσο would have kept loading up my plate if I didn’t say φτάνει (enough, no more).
Some more backgammon and checkers in the evening and a drive to Λαγανά (tourist strip of clubs, yuck) and then it was time for a sleepover at Νίκος and Βασιλις house. I think their so excited to have a cousin from Australia here, they haven’t stopped asking me questions about what it’s like living there and I’m having so much fun practicing my Greek and getting to know them.