home thoughts from abroad

Home thoughts from abroad is a new series on Travel Words featuring a single photograph that reminds me of a country visited and showing something that uniquely identifies it as being ‘abroad’.

Studios to let

This photo takes me back to the Greek islands with their whitewashed buildings draped in bougainvillea and lemon trees in the large terracotta pots; blue skies and heat. The smell of sun-cream and cloudy ouzo; grilled sardines; octopus stew; crispy calamari.  Ice cold beers poured into ice-rimmed glasses taken from the freezer. Lying by the pool. Slow swimming to cool off. Gentle waves slapping lazily onto the shore. Eating in tavernas by the shore-line in the still warm cloak of darkness, candles flickering, bouzouki melodies in the night…

1971: Old men gathered around playing chess or draughts. Smiling brown faces greeting the arriving ferries from Piraeus. Dark moustaches. Equally dark eyes. Donkeys swaying up steeply cobbled streets. Dancing on a penny-sized dance floor to the Rolling Stones. Camping on the beach. Blue roofs of Santorini. Windmills of Mykonos. Athens and the Plaka district where I purchased leather-thonged sandals. Twice. Souvlaki – sliced lamb with onions and peppers wrapped in pitta bread with a yogurty sauce. The tang of Retsina and thick white yogurt sweetened with golden honey; dark and bitter Turkish coffee. Sticky baklava, licking fingers. Sand and salt in the hair. Spanish guitars around a camp fire. My youth…

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

24 thoughts on “home thoughts from abroad”

  1. It’s so true. Everything you describe about the Greek Islands is what I experienced. Except for the calamari – mine were stuffed with tomatoes and olives and grilled. 🙂 I even have a similar photo. I’ll include it in my second post about Milos in due course.

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