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Mezze is widely served in the Greek and Middle eastern world. An assortment of little dishes and tasters which accompany a nice ouzo or a glass of wine. So when you read mezze moments you will have tasty snippets of life as I live it, India for four years and now Brisbane Australia, all served up with some Greek fervour and passion.

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Thursday, 30 June 2016

Crossing the Green Line.

Nicosia as a capital city has a long and rich history and now has the dubious honour of being the only divided capital in Europe. It became the capital around the 10th Century. 

Under Venetian rule the fortifications were built in the shape of a star with eleven bastions and the Pedieos river running through it until it was diverted to the moat. 

The old city within the beautiful medieval walls always had both populations living within it -
Since 1964 though the populations were largely separated by a Green Line which is patrolled by the UN and this became more of a border after 1974. For years we could not cross. Since 2004 though the borders have opened and moving to and from the two sides has become easier if not acceptable. There are Greek Cypriots who rightly or wrongly cannot bring themselves to go across to the North. - even after 42 years it is still painful to see others in your home, or ploughing your land.There maybe Turkish Cypriots who feel equally comromised about homes and properties they left in the South. 

These areas, whether within the walls of the city or the town of Kyrenia, Morphou, Famagusta or the Karpass represent areas that we knew and loved and that we still hope we will return to one day. Under what conditions or terms remains to be seen.

Since the borders opened, every time I am on the island I take the opportunity to go to the North and see what has happened to these areas. I had never visited Northern Nicosia though and this year I had the opportunity to do so, not only with some Australian friends, but with the expert guidance of my sister Anna whose site www.historiccyprus.com offers guided tours and walks largely in the north of the island. Her tours of Northern Nicosia are particularly popular and I was lucky enough to go along on one. Not only did I hear about the city's convoluted and complex history but I walked through the streets to look at the medieval buildings in the area and the houses. Here are some of the highlights of the tour. 

We came back hot and tired but having had the best time, walking and observing. Possibly the best of them all was this one.  By the Greek Cypriot sentry post stands a big sculpture - I could not think of a better use for this otherwise rather sterile monument then as a perfect place for a purr fect slumber.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Paros and Parikoia - the last stop

Paros was our last island and the end of a glorious adventure in the Aegean Sea. The weather could not have been better or the seas more tranquil. The occasional gust meant we also enjoyed some sailing and the dolphins and the turtle just completed the experience. Paros was popular and stunning. We wandered around Paroikia and came across these impressive walls made of the columns of old monuments.


Found the perfect terrace overlooking the harbour for drinks and watching the sunset one more time. 

The whole crew saying it has been the best of times. 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Ano koufonissi

These are a group of little islands which are not as popular as their neighbours but very pretty and well worth visiting.You can tell how clear the waters are by the numbers of sea urchins everywhere. I am told it is the sign of a clean sea.Those are the black spots in the water. The standout from this island was the fresh fish dinner we had. The owner apologised that the octopus may not have had time to tenderise. He caught it in the morning. We had Scorpina and Fangri two large and delicious fishes on the grill. Exceptional freshness. 

 The next day we headed off to Paros soaking up the sun along the way and some swims in the most beautiful waters.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Heading to Irakleia - accompanied by dolphins and a turtle

The sailing was great today but what was even more fabulous was finding a solitary dolphin along the way and then a pod of another four. They swam under the keel of the boat so close to the surface we could see every scratch mark on their backs, they responded to our enthusiastic calls, rolled over, looked up at us and you could swear they were smiling as much as we were grinning. They did rolls and flips, they jumped and splashed and when they had had enough they swam out and looked for new playmates. It was spectacular and fun and made doubly exciting when just a little way on we met a friendly turtle who was curious enough to stay afloat and swim with the boys. 


Irakleia is a small island which has a sign - "If you come to Irakeleia no one will find you." It is so quiet, so out of the way but picturesque. Plenty of prickly pears and bougenvilleas and a care and attention to detail which made a every turn in the village a snapshot of some note.

Our swim this pm a cove of tranquility and beauty. Our next stop is Ano Koufonissi.

Monday, 20 June 2016

IOS the party island

Well so we were told and it was on the itinerary to please some lively lads. We passed Sikinos and stopped for a long swim and then headed to Koumbaras bay for another before rounding into Ios port to berth.

The boys were a bit incredulous and ultimately they were proved right. The Party season had not quite started. We had some snacks on board with a chilled bottle of retsina before heading up the hill.

The island's Chora was picturesque and they took a walk to the highest point while we ordered dinner at Millous - the Windmills, for a dinner of kokoretsi, a Greek Speciality of liver and lung wrapped in tripe- delicious and you will have to take my word for it ! 

Our next day proved to be one of the most special of the whole holiday. 

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Folegandros Chora

We travelled by bus to the Chora - this is the word for town or capital in Greek and is widely used. The bus journey which cost all of Euros 1.40 took us past some lovely churches and mountain sides.
The drystone walls were everywhere, marking the courtyards of neat homesteads, fields, and donkey and goat pens. They were there to retain what little earth there was to prevent erosion.Sometimes they were almost like crazy lines in the mountains, and you would be excused from thinking they were the result of drunken revelries. The reality is harsher and harder, taking many hours of manual work to create the perfect walls.

The views from the top of the town were magnificent on a grand scale.

The local supermarket - beats Sainsburys, Waitrose and Woolworths any day.
Picturesque homes of  blue and white broken only with splashes of Bougeanvillia. 

At a little square we found a restaurant called Kritikos and just opposite us was this exquisite door from a church. The waiter, a young man who was keen to travel to Europe, had local wine and a greek speciality called kontosouvli - meat on a spit cooked to perfection.  To finish us off loukoumades- honey balls in the Square. We felt we needed to do penance for the all the food we consumed and walked the three kilometres back to the yacht under a star studded sky.