...and once you know grecofilia, they say it is in your heart forever...

'All of Greece is absorbing and rewarding. There is hardly a rock or stream without a battle or myth or miracle or a peasant anecdote or a superstition; and talk and incident, nearly all of it odd or memorable, thicken round the traveller's path at every step.'

- Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor

...welcome to grecofilia...   


 Nikos and Lefteris in Karpathos ~ a painting by Tony Brown 


It was the Greek island of Karpathos, July 1996. It was our honeymoon and the musicians in the painting were sitting on the next table to Sandy and I. Lefteris, the man on the right, was almost blind but recognised all over Greece as a most outstanding player in the Bouzouki tradition.

Nikos, the man on the left, had flown in from New York just to have the honour of playing a duet with his hero.

My painting was based on a photo taken by Sandy, my wife.


 Some of us wander into Greece for fun and relaxation and when our time is done we return to our routines until the next time. But there are those of us who are changed forever by its light, its generosity, its tenderness, its learning, its people and the warmth of their traditional hospitality.



 My first visit to Greece came at a time when I needed some reassurance after a particularly depressing period in my life, a time when everything I valued seemed worthless.

   I felt stifled with city living and confused. I was lost. I needed to stand back, to find some perspective, to get away from that environment and find myself again.

It was just at that moment a friend suggested I join him and some friends for two weeks in Corfu and it seemed the perfect solution.

Yet during the flight I began to have second thoughts. My friends were overdoing the 'let's make sure he has a good time' - and two weeks of that would drive me nuts.

But from the moment we began our dawn descent over the ancient city of Athens and my eyes settled on the Parthenon, there they stayed, fixed on the centre of the centres of all the centres in the world and it was at that precise moment I realised I was home amongst the unpredictable magic and mayhem that would accompany every future visit to Greece.

And it was during that first visit that I had my sparkling moment.
One day, in good humour and beautiful weather, my friends and I sat down to lunch in the garden of a small estiatorio.

Everyone was talking at once, jokes were flying, the excitement grew and since we had almost finished eating, I began to feel just a little cramped so decided to move to one side, to another table.

I happened to lean back on my chair and look up through the tall, positive poplars at the open blue sky and slowly I became conscious of something happening to me.

 Just as I watched the sun reappear from behind the clouds, I remember smiling to myself as an overwhelming sense of awareness, a gentle reassurance and a meditative stillness just grew and grew and grew. A quiet confidence spread through me, and with it came a bright clarity, an infinite radiance that I saw as our true nature in the knowledge that there is a positive interdependence between all things.

And then, with a widening grin, I began to realise the unlimited freedom in the entire universe.
I realised the reality that everything in nature is one with all there is.

We Grecophiles try other destinations and other ports of call and without a doubt they charm and frighten us in turn, they each have their own distinctive flavours, but it is only when walking in Greece that we truly find ourselves - and this awareness, I believe, is...




...the first step on our journey together...

Ανθόνη Kavtavos, ασφόδελος CottageΣτ Keverne, Cornwall, Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο







   ...next step?


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