We were recently blessed by a dear friend who, last November, invited us to her home in Greece for a week in March. We were badly in need of a holiday and a break and the idea just gripped us. We have been married for 20 years, but had never flown anywhere together except for quick trips to the UK to see family. Hardly any ordinary German here can relate to this odd kind of non-holiday-idolising lifestyle, so while I was half apologising for mentioning that we were going off to enjoy ourselves for once, they were astounded that we hadn't done it before and a lot more often.
Anyway, we had a wonderful time and the change did us a lot of good. We stayed in the Pelopponese for five days before driving up to Athens again.
Our kind friends live in the middle of olive groves, five minutes from the sea ...
They have lemon trees, orange trees; oranges for eating as well as for juice, avocado trees, even a lotus or persimmon tree, called a Sharon fruit in Israel. They also had a loquat (Japanese medlar) tree, which I had never heard of or seen before.
They also had a huge eukalyptus and gave me a few cuttings from it - I'm going to use the leaves to steep in hot water for when someone has a cold.
There were wild flowers everywhere. Red, and blue anemones, blue and almost black irises, camomile and calendula in vast drifts under the olive trees, which grew not just in cultivated groves, but in neglected agricultural areas too,especially in archaeological sites.
We were told that the locals pray, before buying land, that no ancient ruins will be found there while building work goes on, because if so, the land has to be excavated first. Some people have lost their land and income as a result. In Messini there are just such olive trees growing, which no-one had harvested.
The birds were having a wonderful time. All one could hear there was the humming of bees, birds twittering and the plashing of the stream which ran down through the site from the hillside above, along a cleverly constructed watercourse which has conducted the stream for over two thousand years.