Samothraki, Northern Aegean, Greece.

Homo sapiens gather on rocks below the thin frayed string of a waterfall as the sun gently eases below a mountain ridge. A bronzed girl leans against her boyfriend, reading; another perches below writing. An adjacent couple sit next to a colourful collection of fruits and flowers, arranged as if an offering to the Gods, eating figs. All is peacefull: the gentle sound of the waterfall and quite conversation. Leaf shapes reflecting in still water pools give a cool contrast to the luminous sky. The sound of rumbling and gurgling provides a soundtrack to the scene – an amphitheatre of rock, strewn with hanging grasses and maple trees, gorged by a falling stream. Men dive into a plunge pool while tadpoles shudder under their passing shadows. The cool, crystal-clear water allures sun drenched skins, like Adonis tempted by golden haired nymphs. Thus, I ponder: this pooled placed and the pooled places of myth and legend are one and the same.


Smooth rocks that once warmed the skin are stone cold, but warm water mineral baths still soothe and reinvigorate body and soul. The tourist throng has abandoned the beach, the party drums have been silenced, replaced by an all-pervasive midwinter stillness. Streams that were once trickles are now torrents. Freezing temperatures have brought the last hardened hippies down from the hills. Evergreen strawberry trees yield their reddened seed-filled flesh to earth. Summer’s pathways are filled with leaves, broken branches and the debris of autumn. Fresh grass shoots into the sun where once light dare not penetrate. Who is it that clears up these routes? Nature? Bountiful nature, the great sweeper-upper-er? Sacred waterfall tadpoles that once lazily grazed algae in summer’s cool pools are hiding beneath boulders, metamorphosed as frogs. The once green hanging grasses are wilted and browned. Every stone holds a memory, every turn an encounter, an inspiration awaiting rebirth, awaiting spring…


CNN Travel Story

Sustainable Samothraki

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