The ego disappears, called by the ancient siren song of the Ionian sea. Cloud capped islands rise like mountains in the distance. The yacht creeps slowly through turquoise waters. In this stillness you can loose yourself. In sight of Ithaca, it is easy to imagine Odysseus taking his time to get home.
Indeed, nothing here is rushed. Three millennia ago these people invented western civilization and then they all retired, because really, how much more was there to do? They settled back to their olives, their wine and their goats and let the world catch up. On the Ionian Islands the only young people are tourists or the people who serve them. All the locals are antediluvian, weather-worn and salty. The women carry heavy baskets up mountain paths on ancient hobbled feet. The men wake before dawn to fish lazily and then spend the rest of the day soaking their livers in watered-down wine at the local taverna.
Wherever you go you are surrounded by unspoiled, mythical beauty. The waters are crystal clear, the islands epic, the vegetation lush and the sky never ending. We were very lucky to arrive at the end of the season. The weather was perfect and the tourists had gone home. Unlike Santorini, Rhodes and other tourist hot-spots there was quiet. No "nightclubs", no shopkeepers begging you in, no drunken English soccer fans. In fact, the tavern keepers seemed almost disappointed that they had to get up and serve us, which after we got used to the tempo, suited us just fine. Light, fluffy moussaka tastes twice as good after you have waited for the stone oven to heat up.
Of course, anyone who knows me knows that I cannot stand that tempo for very long. Thankfully, there were more then enough distractions to absorb my hyper-activity. Diving, kayaking, cave exploration and dolphin safari. Every cove we anchored in had something a six-year-old (me) could explore. And while I was running around the girls were absorbing the sun on deck. Onassis had nothing on us.
In the Ionian, where time stands still, there is time for everything, except worry.
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