Oscar Wilde and Olive oil …..

Paloma, our motorhome is once again port side, parked at the edge of the harbour, with the gentle tink tink of the yatch rigging (N37.648307, E21.317958)

Our motorhome,Paloma harbour side in Greece
Today we are following in the footsteps of a literary great…..

It’s said that Wilde wrote this romantic poem about his journey to Katakolon and Olympia just a few years before the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.

Impression De Voyage 

“The sea was sapphire coloured, and the sky

Burned like a heated opal through the air;

We hoisted sail; the wind was blowing fair

For the blue lands that to the eastward lie.

From the steep prow I marked with quickening eye

Zakynthos, every olive grove and creek,

Ithaca’s cliff, Lycaon’s snowy peak,

And all the flower-strewn hills of Arcady.

The flapping of the sail against the mast,

The ripple of the water on the side,

The ripple of girls’ laughter at the stern,

The only sounds: when ‘gan the West to burn,

And a red sun upon the seas to ride,

I stood upon the soil of Greece at last!”

Oscar Wilde

Today Katakolon, is a little picturesque fishing village where many cruise ships anchor in order to give their guests the opportunity to visit Olympia. 

Until the end of the 19th century, this little harbor was very important for the export of the little black currants to the countries of Western Europe. Unfortunately, the currant trade collapsed and now the package houses which once stored the currants have been converted into souvenir shops.

Imagine if you will that all the shops on the main street only open whenever there is a cruise ship. On all other days the shops are closed here and it’s virtually a ghost town.

Katakolon, Greece
As we stroll through the town centre on a warm sunny Saturday afternoon, nothing …….

Shops all shut, Katakolon Greece
All the shops stand firmly locked, a bohemian cafe with a Mediterranean feel lies abondoned with the tables and chairs left scattered from the days before…..

Cafe, Katakolon Greece
Even the end to end sea side restaurants are shuttered and deserted. But, it is charming and unspoiled. 

We try to vist the interesting sounding Musem of Greek technology but to no advail, it only opens when a ship docks…….

The small local theme park based around Greek myths is the same, but at least here it’s only a 3 foot fence in the way……



As we try the opposite end of the town, we still find no signs of life, but just over the fence is a collect a mania heaven, somebody’s own private junkyard complete with a goat for a guard dog !


All this shut  up shop stuff, feels so wrong…..

Thankfully we are not on our own, we have been joined by Dennis and Miranda from Jersey, they last visited this spot about 8 years ago.

Such a warm friendly couple, just chatting away see the hours drift off with the waves.

Last time they came they were lucky enough to time it right to see the awesome sight of a curise ship arrive, apparently the town just springs to life and you can’t move for tourist- hard to imagine, but I’m so sad we missed this sight, you can check out the ship arrival times Here

They tell us a story of ‘Yannis’ – a local man who comes by on his bike to sell you olive oil, and low and behold a few minutes later , he appears……..

Now this trip could be the highlight of our travels in Greece, following the direction on Yannis card, we climb these well worn steps out of the town, after what seems an age we reach the small hillside olive grove and letting rooms.

As we arrive we are greeted by Yannis aging mother, who fetches us a chair and beacons us to sit as we await her son, even in her few words of English and our near zero words of Greek the conversation is lovely.

We sample the local homemade red and white wine, taste the fresh olives……

And learn how the olives are cold pressed to produce the liquid gold that is his olive oil !

Greek hospitality at its best !
Mother, Father and Yannis – Greek hospitality at its best !

Local wine, Olive oil and fresh Olives all purchased for a tiny  amount, plus as it seems is custom in country a few fresh bits of veg from the garden are thrown in – a experience you can’t buy ! 

Paul.

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