Landscapes – Other Countries

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Europe – Greek Islands

My stay in the Greek Islands was too short, even though it was extended a few days by the sinking of one of the ferries which ply the oceans between the islands. Shipping and the sea are a part of life here. Tiny Islands are sprinkled over a vast area of ocean. We drove around “our” island in a day, stopping at every beach for a swim – no need for anything other than a bikini that day.

Each island has it’s own special villages – clusters of neat whitewashed houses with ultramarine shuttered windows and doors, villages nestled closely on high promontories or in sheltered turquoise harbours. Every alley held promise of yet another visual feast- stone paving, white walls punctuated with brilliant bursts of red geraniums and cerise bougainvillea. Older villages presented surprises of weathered unpainted or long ago once-whitewashed timber doors and crumbling plaster revealing beautifully set stone walls – and CATS! Lots of cats, some fat and sleek others abandoned, unkempt strays.

Goats are farmed on the dry golden brown volcanic hillsides dotted with olive and fig trees and how they grow such wonderful watermelons in such a barren wasteland amazes me. Harbour side cafés abound. What better way to sample seafood fresh from the day’s catch, the salty air whetting the appetite for octopus, squid and ouzo. Octopus drying in the sun on the café canopies. I especially loved the boats, beautiful, colourful, and well cared for, fecund, feminine shapes, which virtually wallowed in the water. I hope I do them justice in my paintings. Santorini is a visual spectacle and geologically fascinating. My first view of the island close up was from the ferry docked at a tiny Harbour nestled in the bottom of a volcanic crater in a deep turquoise bay completely dominated by a sheer cliff of multicoloured strata. Awesome from the bottom and breathtaking from the top!

There are SO many islands to visit, I’m going back!

 

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