ImageI make no apologies for being a fan of sailing around the Greek islands. Nowhere else on earth serves up such a beguiling blend of history and hedonism in such compelling mutual proximity. The pleasures and sensations of cruising these waters run everything from the simple to the truly spellbinding

While many of the islands have similarities, no two are ever the same. Each- from the largest to the smallest- is as distinctive and individual as a human fingerprint.

ImageBut there are also some wonderful common touches, too. Like that little table with the checked cloth and the four wooden chairs- painted bright blue, red, or yellow- that stands in the shade of a taverna that sprawls across a sun splashed Greek quayside. Like me, you’ll probably always end up sitting on the rickety, lop sided one. No matter. After a few glasses of vino, some delicious, lemon drenched souvlaki and some platinum chip people watching, your grin will probably be quite lop sided, too. Sheer, languid bliss,

ImageAnd the sights… spellbinding stuff. Sailing into Mykonos and seeing those iconic, blinding white windmills that crown the low rolling hills is an unfailing adrenaline rush. Or Santorini, where the view down from Thira into the caldera of an imploded volcano leaves you feeling exalted and detached. It’s akin to being awake in a particularly vibrant dream.

ImageRhodes old town is like the world’s greatest medieval theme park. Here, the ancient stone walls, castles and turrets are bleached almost a shade of dusky white after centuries of exposure to a pitiless Aegean sun. The streets and cobbled squares where the Knights Templar once made their doomed final stand are filled with shops, restaurants, and bars selling ice cold beer in boot shaped glasses. Dogs curl up in the heat in the shade of ancient water fountains, oblivious to everything.

And what sunsets… long, slow and languid. Turning the sea into what looks like a field of burning straw. The subtle, seductive aroma of freshly grilled fish, and the melancholy twang of bouzouki as the first of the evening crowds throng the streets. The chirping of thousands of crickets and the kiss of a warm, soft breeze that hangs in the air like fine perfume. Ouzo, prawns and amazing ice cream.

Greece. Still very much the word.

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