Definitely a highlight of our week was the incredible experience of a traditional Aegina Island Greek family feast. Niki had arranged for us to a fairwell dinner with a local family. We sampled many a traditional Greek food – Greek salad of course, stuffed vine leaves, spinach and feta in filo, and fresh goat, prepared by Papa Sortiri on the spit. Tonight I became a “flexitarian”. As a pescatarian most of the time, I could not NOT taste some goat meat prepared in this traditional way. I was amazed at how many people kept appearing through the gate! I think there were 30 or more family and friends who joined us that evening. The Zorba music and dancing and even plate smashing was something else. Yep. Zorba dancing and plate smashing really happens at family feasts! The warm welcome, the love and the generosity of this family for each other and for us was heart warming. There are many stressors and pressures of life for many of the people here, but on this evening, the only thing that mattered was being together and connecting and having fun. The tears of joy from our host, Maria and her love and passion for us all are not something you get in any ordinary restaurant – that is for sure.
There are many many islands to choose to visit in Greece. They are all unique and beautiful.
Aegina for me is special because it is not bustling with boatloads and busloads of foreign tourists, and yet has all the things we look for in a Greek Island holiday – the sunsets, the walks along yacht-filled harbours, choices of restaurants and cafes all serving hearty local fare. In Aegina there is the somewhat haunting vibe of a once-rich and bustling community that has now become a quiet get-away serving the local Greek families who come for respite from the heat and hustle of their lives on the mainland. This makes for a unique and extra-special experience. It’s local families who have lived here for centuries that make this somehow special. The absence of lots of foreign tourists definitely changes the vibe here compared to other Greek Islands like Santorini and Crete.
Thankyou Niki for taking such good care of us and giving us just the right mix of culture, of sightseeing, of history, and the extra special treat of taking us into a family home for a traditional Greek feast experience. You also created space for us to explore on our own and take that much needed “me-time” to enjoy the fishing village and absorb our surrounds. Where to next?
Lia Zalums 2019