After a wonderful yet exhausting visit to Rome, Holly and I were looking forward to going back to Greece. This was not simply a desire to relax on a lovely beach, we were looking forward to a reunion with our friends at Live Bio. We’d been refreshed the previous year when during our stay we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary (renewing our vows), met new friends and gained a keen appreciation of this special place, its people and culture.
Arriving in Athens
Due to lucky timing, Magdalena and Periklis picked us up at the Airport. During the ride down the Peloponnese we learned about Magdalena’s cancer and of how she and Periklis were bravely facing it together. It was easy to see that while there were challenges ahead, their steadfast love for each other would see them through. Arriving a Live Bio, we saw the sign on our villa welcoming us back; we knew that we were once again in a special place!
Our home at Live-Bio
At Live Bio, there’s a sense of belonging. This is fostered by Magdalena and Periklis who actively share their lives with family, friends and their guests. During our stay we met a father who was reconnecting with his young son, blissful couples who were either beginning their lives together, or taking a well-deserved break from busy careers. We also met Magdalena’s father Alek, who was enjoying an active retirement—what a great guy! Things here seem to happen organically—an impromptu get together of guests, dinner for 12 at a restaurant, an afternoon sail, catching rides to the coffee shop or grocery store. There’s a lot happening, yet there seems to be little stress. Perhaps it’s because the guests, buoyed by beautiful vistas and the escape from routine, are incredibly relaxed—but, it’s also due to the love and dedication of Magdalena and Periklis—they make it look easy, even when it’s not.
I call Greece “The Impossible Blue.” As an artist, I’ve painted with many shades including cobalt, sapphire, ultramarine and indigo. When surveying the ocean and sky from the heights overlooking the Aegean, I’m overwhelmed by the infinite number. Oscar Wilde once said that color can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. Here, the blues are happy, vibrant, tranquil, exhilarating, reassuring, introspective, friendly, dreamy and faithful. Contrasted with the warm, sunny, earthy hues of the landscape, one cannot help but feel a positive energy and contentment.
Familiarity is said to breed contempt, but in our case, it led to relaxation and enjoyment. We were able to catch up with local friends that we’d met the previous year and to revisit many of our favorite places — beautiful ones such as the beaches at Love Bay, and hidden beach near Aliki—delicious ones such as La Frianderie cafe, Ladi and Lemoni, and the Odyssey Bistro where we took another cooking class from the wonderful Katerina Sakelliou. We helped harvest items from the rooftop garden before being taught how to incorporate them in several authentic Greek delicacies. There’s nothing like a good food, conversation and laughter to make one feel at home. It’s was good to be back!
In our second visit to Live Bio there were also new things to discover and enjoy.
Our top highlights:
- We travelled to Nemea with Periklis where we visited 2 wineries. Holly and I had never experienced a wine tasting before. Wine has been produced in this area for over 3000 years, but in an ironic twist, we were wasted in about an hour!
- The ancient Greek theatre at Epidaurus was breathtaking… It’s said to be the most perfect with regards to acoustics and aesthetics. (Be ready to sing if you think that you can carry a tune.)
- We were super lucky to be able to see the Sting and Shaggy concert at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the theatre located on the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens—Wow, just Wow!
- The islands of Hydra and Spetses were easy hops from Poros. Both are quite beautiful, but if you’re looking for an epic landscape, shimmering seascapes, traditional Greek architecture, and plodding donkeys as the primary mode of transportation, you’ll fall in love with Hydra!
- The local fisherman Tassos took us out on his boat where he made Greek coffee for us and later reeled in a net that was over a kilometer long. There were fish, squid and more than a few rocks. We scored a lion fish and later Periklis made a most delicious soup!
- After an unexpected deluge caused a wet commotion during dinner at Apagio, the restaurant’s proprietors distributed shots of Ouzo to warm and keep everyone happy—this generous gesture kept the mood high! I’ve never had better grilled fish! Later, when sitting on the balcony outside of our villa, the rain-cooled atmosphere was so clear and bright that multiple constellations and the Milky Way were clearly seen; we enjoyed seeing several shooting starts streak overhead.
- Sailing to the beach concert of a famous Greek artist Christos Dantis at Askeli aboard the beautiful sailboat Naziara was a real treat. Captain Periklis anchored just off-shore giving us the best seats in the house. We shared a tasty repast and swayed the night away until 2 a.m. (the Greeks really know how to rock)! Afterwards we jumped into the water to cool off before sailing back to Live Bio.
- Attending the World Cup final was the first for this American (I’m from the South, so calling myself a Yankee just doesn’t feel right). I was taken by the passion that runs deep within European hearts for the sport—the lusty cheers, the dancing, and I’ll never forget French fans jumping into the harbor fully dressed after their team’s win— it was hilarious!
As you can tell, Live Bio is a fantastic place to enjoy, but it’s not just a vacation, it’s about shared lives, joys and sorrows, with a positive hope for the future. We’ve come to think of it as our Second Home. This became even more evident when near the end of our stay, I was advised by Tassos, the proprietor of the Galley Restaurant and Beach Bar (another great spot), that I needed to learn Greek—and I had to agree!