Greece – Off the beaten track …

Having been born of Greek – South African descent has had both its advantages and disadvantages.  In having to relish the choice and option between these two equally beautiful parts of the world has been a challenging love-affair.  Africa vis-à-vis the Mediterranean.

Having explored much of the Greek Archepelago (Greek islands) in my lifetime has attributed towards the given cliché – that every Greek island truly has its own uniqueness and ‘type of beauty’ without a doubt.

Whether you decide to explore the azure waters of the Ionion, or the Deep Blue shores of the Aegean lapped with Pine Trees – each island has something different to contribute to your lifestyle in travel.  Equally exhilarating – is having the chance to follow a herd of elephant for three days in the bushveld or studying the social interaction between wild dog.  The chance to walk, feel, breathe and explore the African tones and landscapes, her magnified sunsets, abundance of natural beauty and wildlife offers an aesthetic awareness that O’Live To Travel celebrates with you and your travel arrangements.  This juxta-poised African – Mediterranean essence of beauty is the crux in which O’Live To Travel strides to offer you as guest.

The south-eastern Cycladic island of Amorgos is one of those gems that too can keep you mesmerized for life.  Whether it is travelling solo, celebrating an anniversary, or meeting up with like-minded soul mates – the mere journey itself to get to Amorgos is a celebration of soulfulness.

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This post is dedicated to my recent visit to Amorgos.  Besides the heavenly beauty that has been described for places such as Santorini, Hydra, or the unspoilt grounds of Lesvos/Mytilini, (otherwise known as the Garden of Eden of the East) – Amorgos can best be described as the subdued version of Santorini.  If you have been to Santorini, you ought to have felt the awe-inspiring feeling when walking alongside the caldera of Fira, or having had the chance to witness the magical sunsets from Oia – it is only then that you will grasp the perception of Amorgos as counter-part.  Along with its wild, yet tender beauty, stunning unspoilt beaches, very affordable accommodations and mouth-watering taverns and restaurants.

For the more exclusive traveler, here too are Villa’s that will astound you in coherence to the authentic style of Amorgos,  less the hoards of commercial cruise-ships and the all-night party-goers as you would find in Mykonos, Skiathos, Santorini, Rhodes, Corfu or parts of Crete.  Amorogos can be explored for weeks, or as a after-party retreat.

Don’t get me wrong, the afore-mentioned islands are just as tempting and stunning and are there to be enjoyed, along with the many other thousands of travelers that traverse the obvious option when visiting the Greek isles.

The  handful of bars in Amorgos holds quality in both spirit and soul (from live South American music, to African rhythms inter-woven with local Greek music from the nearby taverns, to International DJ tracks)  among the locals and the traveler that (who are generally well-traveled) somehow keeps returning to Amorgos year after year.

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Yes, indeed, Santorini has its juxta-poised counterpart.  However,  in price affordability and (head in the clouds) beauty – Amorgos can most certainly extend your budget for a further week.  The affordability of dining and overnighting in Amorgos is a very attractive offer to most traveler’s wanting to truly explore the authentic beauty, culture and hospitality of Greece in itself.  It is one of those islands that simply allows you to breathe in its vista, stop and smell the air, let your hair down and simply drink sunsets without the worry of relinquishing your hard-earned salary.

In today’s society of technology and having the ability to travel with ease – and has allowed for us to traverse virtually any part of the globe.  In ancient times, a procession was part of the norm for many communities – whether it were for cultural or religious purposes, whereby certain clans and visitors would plan for months in advance to partake in a certain event that involved some form of travel.  Today, we travel by air, sea, rail, bike or even by foot to get to certain corner’s of the globe.  The journey to Amorgos has no quick access, yet with the meticulous expertise in planning by O’Live To Travel – allows for you to focus on the true essence in travel – your destination: Amorgos in it’s mysterious and remote beauty.

The terms authenticity, culture and religion tend to hold very broad definitions engulfing every-day’s life-trials and tribulations – whether it is a wedding, a blessing of a boat, or a procession into a theatre to witness drama or comedy.

I was fortunate to have arrived on the day that the village of Hora was celebrating their renowned ‘sweet’celebration – made of sesame seed and honey, and of course their honey liquor to enhance an even greater happiness.  The Amorgians from the remaining villages all flock to Hora like pilgrim’s in honor of this old tradition, from a silent and intense crowd in the main square – all eyes on the wooden table – decked with Pasteli (sweet), in awe with watchful eyes and salivating mouths whilst the master confectioner meticulously measures and slices the portions piece by piece.  To my surprise, in organised fashion – we lined up gracefully to receive the celebrated Pasteli and honey liqueur (Rakomelo).

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The Amorgions hold a friendly, hospitable aura, free-spirited as that of the landscape.  In this day and age, there are few places on this planet that allow for us to understand the process in capturing the true authentic moment of a culture.  Amorgos offers both the sublime drama of nature and and comedy in honey liqueur, the janus of the Aegean in spirit.

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Of course, not long after … a celebration of traditional music, costume and dance led to a mass dance floor for all.

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For some of us, travelling allows for us to escape the norms of our own societies and traditions, and to follow new paths – in the guise of a journey in travel.  For others it might be an escape to explore ones inner-self, or merely go shopping, exploring exotic markets, or commercial haute couture fashion stores.

Amorgos holds a mysterious atmosphere, untouched, dramatic mountainous morphology rising from the sea, to joyous, yet intimate moments with the locals and like-minded traveler in her night-life.  Local jewelers, to authentic souvenirs and Amorgion summer fashion suffice for the shopper in a laid-back meander through a labyrinth of white-washed buildings.

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Wherever one’s life journey takes you, traveling can be a rewarding procession, whether it is along her renowned cobbled walking/hiking paths of Amorgos, or visiting a shrine such as the 11th Century Panagia Hozoviotissa Monastery and it’s 350 steps.  You too can grasp the will power of the makers of this astounding structure and it’s breath-taking views.  The walk itself is a procession, as was intended – that leads you upwards.

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Needless to say, visiting the beaches and swimming spots surrounding the island is a magical experience in it’s own right.  Agia Anna and Plakes are merely two out of the nineteen majestic beach/swimming experiences on the island – allowing you to explore the sublime vastness of the island vs. horizon and sea, to exploring the water caverns in free-style swim, lilo or snorkel and fin.

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