Olympia: The Field of Dreams
Athens News, 27 June 2003
Olympia enthrals visitors like no other ancient site, because each and
every tourist has a connection with that tiny patch of the Peloponnese.
They have watched their country's best athletes struggle for gold at the
Games. They have cheered and groaned, perhaps even dreamed of glory themselves.
And so they make a pilgrimage to the riverbanks where it all began.
Corelli's uncorrupted Greek isle
American Woman Road and Travel, August 2003
The blue and white paperback is everywhere. Eight years after its debut, Corelli's Mandolin still crops up in airport bookstores, rural coffee shops, tattered pages face-down on sandy beaches. So you'd expect the Greek island Kefalonia - where Louis de Bernieres set his best-selling book to be a tacky theme park of star-crossed Mediterranean love.
enchanted 'isle of rubbish'
Athens News, 11 July 2003
Zakynthos is an island of rubbish or so locals claim. They're not protesting the tourist trash or bemoaning earthquake debris, however. This mess goes back much farther. Legends insist that God, after creating the world, swept the odds and ends into the ocean. And that mound became the third-largest of the Ionian Islands.
Cinderella: Greeceís capital turns rags to riches ≠ and Olympic gold in
American Woman Road and Travel, 1 June 2003
Today, the Megalo Chorio the "Big Village" of more than five million people has a reputation for cement chaos unrivalled outside the former Soviet Bloc. But the Summer Games have truly galvanised the Greeks, igniting their legendary resourcefulness. Like Cinderella, Athens is casting off its tatters, revealing a vibrancy and beauty that captivates utterly.
happy ending for a legendary pirate haven
Athens News, 22 August 2003
Nafpaktos is a fairy-tale land. A tiny tower guards the harbour, its slender
gnome-hat overlooking an oval pool. Jagged-tooth battlements bristle across
the narrow entrance, then zig-zag up flower-swathed slopes to the fortress.
Cafe umbrellas snap in the wind. Red buoys, bright fishing boats and varnished
yachts bob in the turquoise water. It looks like Never-Never Land (and
once was a pirate haven, in fact) or Prince Charming's seaside retreat.
Only a fire-snorting dragon could improve the ambience.
2004: beyond the Olympics
Thisistravel.co.uk, February 2004
Many families are hesitant to plunge into the crowded, smoggy capital at peak season. They want a taste of Greek glamour without eating the whole souvlaki. The solution couldnt be more pleasant: head to the islands. After all, the nation boasts 227 options (and thats just the inhabited ones).
First Lady of Hospitality
Travel Age West, 2 June 2003
Glinting with gilt and marble, the Hotel Grande Bretagne is ready to resume
its role in history. The French Renaissance mansion has hosted spies,
kings, industrialists and stars, prompting its gracious title "the
First Lady of Hospitality".
Lefkada's alchemy: turning scrap metal into gold
Athens News, 23 May 2003
Lefkada Town could pass for modern art. Blocks of sassy colour peacock, rose, ochre, emerald adorn the haphazard alleys, which spiral and splinter (to disorient marauding pirates in medieval times). The buildings are cobbled together: Venetian stone arches crowned by sheet metal, corrugated tin and salvaged wood. And, like so many contemporary masterpieces, the islandís capital perfectly blends this mash of emotion, colour and texture.
The Daily Mail's thisistravel.co.uk in November, 2002
Athens has embraced the Olympic motto ≠- "swifter, higher, stronger"
≠ as the city prepares for the 2004 Summer Games. It may also have added
Greece gave birth to the Olympics over 2000 years ago. Athens staged the first modern tournament in 1896 with just 245 athletes. History aside, it's one of the smallest countries to host the event. And the process has not been smooth.
Patra: Emerging from the Sirens' Shadows
Athens News, 6 June 2003
The bulky white boats wallow at the docks. Their bellies swell with tourists,
lured by exotic dreams, the siren songs of Captain Corelli in Kefalonia
and la dolce vita in Italy. Travellers scramble to board. To them,
Patra is a dim train station, a smear of gaudy ticket booths and cheap
cafes, a grungy working port. Itís a place to be endured en route to somewhere
better... But Patra is emerging from the long shadows cast by these sirens.
sacred city re-emerging from the ruins
Athens News, 4 July 2003
Messolongi's soil is stained by the blood of heroes. The area is famous
for dramatic deaths: Suliot mothers hurling their children off crags,
the klepht Markos Botzaris crumpling in battle, Lord Byron's fatal fever
and the slaughter of the Free Besieged. The town is mighty, but morbid
and marshy: Not the most obvious choice for a carefree holiday, in other
Star of the Cyclades
American Woman Road and Travel, 1 July 2004
Countless Greek promotional posters, which peddle the whitewashed walls,
azure domes and sheer volcanic crescent of cliffs, cutaway like a child's
diorama, revealing the Aegean's geological secrets.
island spirit uncorrupted by Corelli
Athens News, 20 June 2003
Kefalonia didn't submit easily to the Normans or the Turks or the Germans.
The plucky "island character" led them to resist. And that same
spirit is saving the area today from the cloying clutches of Captain
Ephesus: From Amazons to Alexander
Athens News, 28 May 2004
Its history is peppered with mighty figures: Rich King Croesus, Alexander
the Great, the Persian ruler Cyrus, the doomed lovers Mark Anthony and
Cleopatra, and their nemesis, the Emperor Augustus. The area also draws
Christian pilgrims, as the final resting place of the Apostle John and
the Virgin Mary.
cradle of western philosophy
Athens News, 16 January 2004
Once the oldest and most powerful metropolis among the 12 Ionian cities,
Miletus now stands in a marshy, neglected landscape.
Ionia stories in progress:
Didyma: The melancholy Medusa at the mouth of Apollo
Gordion: King Midas on the rubbish heap of history
Priene: City of the Amazon
Sardis: Gold-rich kingdom of Croesis, king of the Lydians
Time Out Athens, 2004
Ancient Greece is hot property in Hollywood right now, as studios scramble
to launch a new generation of sword-and-sandal epics. (Toga saga,
another genre description batted about, is, of course, technically inaccurate:
Ancient Greeks dressed in chitons, which doesnt quite have the same
ring to it.)
myths and legends
Time Out Athens, 2004
The Hellenic deities certainly werent exactly role models. They
lied, cheated, squabbled and toyed ruthlessly with humans. See also the
AZ of Greek Gods.
More Fallout Over
Greek Game Ban
Wired News on 13 February, 2003
ATHENS The government is standing by its controversial law banning electronic games in public, which Greek judges consider unconstitutional. But the European Union has warned Greece: Drop it or get hauled into court for hampering the free movement of goods.
on a half shell
American Woman Road and Travel: February 2003
Follow in the footsteps of Aphrodite to rediscover romance on the shores
of the Mediterranean.
the birthplace of a love goddess
Daily Mail, February 2003
Aphrodite, goddess of love, is said to have sprung from the sea-foam off
the coast of Cyprus. Amanda Castleman explores the ultimate Valentine's
Cyprus stories in
Checkpoint Charley: Nicosia's green line
Following in the footsteps of Lawrence Durrell