Life’s Little Luxuries

Mercier is now in residence at Athens Marina, a super yacht marina in Neo Faliro. There is so much to see in Athens, we felt we could wait for Rosemary and Stephen Merrington here, get over our colds and enjoy our fellow super yachts. The Athens Marina staff are some of the finest and friendliest crews we have met even though we are the second smallest yacht here. We thought you would like to see some of our fellow marina guests, that happen to be super yachts.

Everyone in Sydney is likely to remember Jeff Koons “Puppy”, which graced Circular Quay for months in 1995.  We were also lucky enough to see the show that Koons put on at Versailles. Koons is a contemporary artist that most of us enjoy.

His friend, wealthy Greek art collector, Dakis Joannou requested that Koons paint the exterior of his 114 foot yacht, Guilty. Outrageously eye-catching is such an understatement. If you are interested in art (Louise Sullivan), google to see the yacht created by Ivana Porfiri, including its sumptuous interiors.

Guilty, a 114 ft Porfiri Yacht, Italy
Guilty, a 114 ft Porfiri Yacht, Italy

Another yacht came into the marina, ‘better place’, a Wally Yacht.  Wally Yachts is a company founded by Luca Basanni and now manufactures its futuristic motor yachts and sailing yachts in Monte Carlo. Ian McGregor reminisces about his time on a Wally Yacht in the movie, The Island. ‘better place’ is a 50 metre round the world yacht. Again, Google to see interiors, we haven’t been invited aboard.

better place, a Wally Yacht with Omega in background
better place, a Wally Yacht with Omega in background
Liking the colour scheme
Liking the colour scheme- Malteese red

Our own luxuries go to smaller items, but in Athens we found that Magic, known in Australia as Magnums, have a new concept. They have a bar full of sprinkles for your self selected Magic.  Not candy sprinkles but almond slices, pink peppercorns, goji berries, carmelised hazelnuts, dried pineapple, coconut and a myriad of another 20 possibilities.

They ask if you want to dip into dark, milk or white chocolate, then he mixes your assortment of ‘sprinkles’ in a cocktail mixer, dips your ice cream and then drizzles on another chocolate for presentation.  Magic gives you wifi and a frame, so you can take a foodie photo. What a concept to celebrate 25 years anniversary for Magic here in Europe.

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With luck and fueled by Magic, we hope to be off to our first Aegean island tomorrow.

Meteora – the pinnacles of belief

As we pulled into Kalambaka, Joy, our affable and passionate tour guide, was effusive in describing the Meteora to us. The was a collective gasp at our first site of these amazing pinnacles hovering above the village.

Meteora - suspended in air
Meteora – suspended in air

Meteora means ‘suspended in air’. Her arms created an arc to explain they were named Meteora because like shooting stars and meteorites they are between heaven and earth.The sound track of Close Encounters of the Third Kind leapt into my brain. There was an eerily sci-fi – religious feeling at the site of them.

Meteora monastery
Meteora monastery

 

The next morning we were up early to visit Megalou Meteoron, the oldest monastery. There were 23 monasteries at one time and now there are six as well as a beautiful, thriving nunnery with gardeners of many talents.

Megalou Meoteron
Megalou Meoteron

 

The remoteness of the pinnacles in Northwest Thessaly and the difficulty of access, meant that monks could continue to practice the Greek Orthodox religion and maintain its traditions, when the Ottomans were forcing conversion on Greeks in more accessible villages.  If you visited in the 1960’s or before, you would have been pulled up in a large net, much like a catch of fish. This would not have been for the faint of heart, today a funicular takes materials, monks and workers across to the monasteries. Great painters of Greece would come and spend time there and create wonderful art and icons of the saints.

My remaining question is how did the first monk make it up the cliff?

Happy Birthday to Frosty and belated wishes to Chris.

 

 

 

Majestic formations of sandstone and congomerlate
Majestic formations of sandstone and congomerlate

Olympia – a Sanctuary

As you leave Pyrgos and wind up the hill to Olympia, it is easy to understand why this is thought  to be the playground of the gods. From ten kilometres out, the air gets clearer and all the vegetation seems more lush and fragrant. There is a zephyr breeze and the temperature is perfect.

A clear day at Olympia
A clear day at Olympia

We first visited the Olympia Archaeological Museum. It covers the history of the site beginning with prehistoric artifacts until the Sanctuary’s demise under Theodosius ll.

One of two beautiful pediments recovered from Zeus' temple.
One of two beautiful pediments recovered from Zeus’ temple.

James and I watched many videos of Greece recently and now we wonder why we had never seen an aerial of the site as a whole. Olympia is remarkable. Imagine kicking a goal in your city’s biggest stadium and then imagine winning a race under the gaze of the gods and your country’s stadium. The games were “a pole of attraction for Hellenism”*

Meanwhile, it was a men’s only event. Women, particularly married women could not view the athletes compete. Not gods, kings nor husbands want to suffer by comparison with the strapping young nude athletes.

The Phillippeion, a monument to Alexander the Great and his father, Phillip ll
The Phillippeion, a monument to Alexander the Great and his father, Phillip ll

There are 23 separate monuments, including temples on the site.  We wished we could see more and next time we would consider finding a guide.  To this day, we are inspired by the passion and commitment it takes to take part in the Olympics.

 

 

 

 

*Olympic site brochure