08.03.08Bonding and Trekking: The Family Road Trip Begins…

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Summer holidays !   Time for adventure, exploration,  and family bonding on the famous holiday trip… you know, the one that will be seared into everyone’s memories as it unfolds in the great expanse of the unknown.  Now imagine for a moment that it is happening in GREECE!  Let’s up the ante with two teenagers  and a tween snuggled between them in the back seat of a Hyundai…..and of course their intrepid parents guiding them on the “Family Road Trip”.   We start our trek basking in the airconditioning of our mighty little car and are quickly mesmerized by the early morning rays of light bouncing off gleaming ocean on our super highway snaking through craggy mountains ….the Attiki Odos toward the city of Corinth.  Although it is the beginning of August and the masses are making their exodus out of Athens, our journey starts off with ease.   Our first stop is the  picturesque town of Loutraki  about an hour out of Athens.  Here we are greeted by family friends at their “Exohiko”.  Hospitality and filoxenia are unleashed upon us and no is not the right answer to an invitation to lunch.  Graciousness is granted by all three teens and everyone partakes in the homemade feast that I am certain a genie could not conjure up as fast as this one was presented for us.  Meanwhile my father who is the next stop on our trip is waiting patiently in the small village of Ellinohori with lunch he has been busy preparing all morning in anticipation of seeing his grandchildren.  One of the most difficult and most endearing contributions of  greek people is to share their passion of food and celebration through their filoxenia.  How does one translate this? My personal point of view…You are honored.  Everyone who steps into a greek household is an honored guest and is treated like family.  Many travellers can experience this fully when they step off the ” tourist path” and explore the little towns and villages that lie in the hidden folds of seashore and mountainous regions.

An hour later, we arrive in Ellinohori and I am filled with gratitude and compassion for my children as they taste all of Papou’s foods with gusto and without complaint honor the efforts he has made for them.  Ellinohori is a small agricultural village filled with olive trees, farms and a tight knit little community.  Every little town displays a pride and it’s own brand of uniqueness.  Hip little cafes and traditional restaurant taverns are tucked into this little town all filled with locals and travellers escaping the cliche of the well known seaside resorts.  It is refreshing to see so many local people relaxing and breathing in the days completion.  Afternoon Frappes and ice cream rev us up for the next leg of our trip to Nafpakto, another seaside town with charm and soul.  In Nafpaktos we check into our hotel aptly named “Aphrodite” and I am pleasantly surprised with the no nonsense simplicity of this little hotel situated near the waterfront.  Our room is modern, very clean and our private terrace doors open to reveal a beautiful view of the town ocean and mountains.  Onwards the next day, refreshed from our stay we carry on through a scenic highway drive and finally arrive in Neapoli another little coastal town where we make it in time to catch our reserved ferry to the Island of Kythera.

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