Destination Memories: Serifos, Greece

Members and travel writers share the places they’re travelling to, albeit in their minds 

A bay with cliffs going up to a white house.

Once a hub of iron-ore mining activities, the wild island has managed to escape the throngs of summer crowds. The well-kept secret of a clutch of Athenians, there is little else to do than eat, drink, swim and sleep

By Kate Lough   Images courtesy of Kate Lough   Thursday 16 April, 2020    Short read

The ferry pulled into Serifos’ harbour, bringing its handsome hilltop Chora into view. It was 5pm, still dazzlingly sunny. After a long morning sweating around Athens, the glittering water had never looked so inviting. Bessy was there to meet me and my boyfriend, Elias, and take us to our home for the next five days: a sweet white cottage with pale blue shutters perched above her and her husband’s villa.

As we drove up the island’s rugged spine, weaving our way down to Megalo Livadi, she told us they would cook for us that night. I couldn’t help feeling slightly disappointed. Elias and I had been apart for a week, and I was looking forward to it being just the two of us. He told me not to be so English; we were in Greece and this was Greek hospitality.

Dinner was, of course, delightful. We ate outside as the light turned the hillside a pinkish gold. And it set off a soul-nourishing pattern that made our stay.

Each morning, we’d wake up early with the June sun – there were no curtains, but you could see the sea from every window. We’d slip down to the main house to have a coffee and a chat with Bessy and Vasilis, before diving into the turquoise sea just beneath.

Next, we’d take our car to whichever of this island’s many deserted beaches they had recommended to us that day. Every time, they’d say, ‘Have lunch here and tell them you are staying with Vasilis’. At one taverna, we left with bags bulging with carrots, tomatoes and lemons grown by the owner, Anna.

One day, Vasilis took us out on his boat with his friend Costas, hopping from cove to cove. We stopped to swim and bob around, and Vasilis taught Elias how to descale fish with a fork. We’d bought a kilo of sea bream from the fisherman in Megalo Livadi that morning.

We anchored up for lunch in the wide bay. Smooth white pebbles and such clear water you cannot imagine. We sat under the dappled shade of trees, eating from plate after plate of keftedes (Greek meatballs) and draining ice-cold jugs of ouzo, sharing our stories.

Wild, rugged and largely tourist-free, Serifos had made me fall in love even harder with Greece. As a child I devoured its myths and legends, as a teenager I’d studied its ancient language, and in my twenties I’d fallen in love with a Greek. On the trip, just shy of my 30th birthday, I fell in love with the idea of making it our home one day.

Kate Lough is a freelance travel writer. Follow her on Instagram @kateloughtravel

Two outdoor chairs on a terrace by a white house.
A man walking down a path towards the sea.

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