Love at first sight

When I planned a summer holiday back in the mid-1990s, I had a vision of a dream destination, a picture of what a place to spend the summer should look like.
It had to be an island. Only an island can be a gateway to a full adventure. Surrounded by the sea, it offers the isolation, the peace promising a real rest. Long sandy beaches, pebbled beaches, stone beaches and all those make-believe beaches to be found only in the heads of true dreamers, such as myself. Beautiful scenery for boastful photographs, blue lagoons and hidden coves were just a part of it. Excellent food and friendly locals were presumed.
It was to be expected that I’d head toward southern Greece, but – coincidentally or not – a different part of the country stole my heart that year.
Until then, just thinking „north“ would spark images of a land of snow and ice.
I was looking for a substitute, something to replace the Adriatic where I had vacationed all my previous life. The weather there may have still been excellent, but the political climate took a bad turn and I unrgently needed a replacement for beautiful islands I had been used to.
There is a seriously spectacularly beautiful island, with amazing beaches, they told me in a travel agency. Northern Greece, they said. It isn’t far. It isn’t large and it’s not expensive, they promised. It’s called Thassos and it has all that you need.
It sounded too good to be true.
And so began my Thassian adventure, long ago in 1994.
***
Summer. I’ve been in love with the summer all my life and, aside from the love for my child, it’s the only unbreakable love.
Sea. The other magical word making life prettier. Shallow, deep, blue, green, salty, magical. It is for the sea that all of us adventitious folk brought us to find refuge here.
Island. The third enchanting word the pull of which I couldn’t resist. It conquered me a long time ago, in elementary school, when I became aware that nowhere else will I be completely happy, as I swallowed the salty liquid streaming from my eyes as with my parents I sought an empty place on a ferry taking us toward home.
Later, when war rendered holiday destinations inaccessible, we had to find another refuge. At one summer holiday in the mid-1990s I found my future home, Thassos.
As we approached the island that first time, our eyes were riveted on the marble quarry, lit up by the sun and shining brightly white from the mass of emerald. Azure waters, endless forests and a welcoming place they said was the main town won me over for the rest of my life. Only a huge Coca-Cola billboard stood out with its red from the greenery looming over the town.
After that, no coast was less beautiful, the water less clean and the local population less hospitable.
I stepped off the ferry, inhaled deeply and looked around. A polite gentleman was there, calling out a ride to abeach – I later found out it was Makryammos.
I felt at home right away. Ready for the sea adventure.