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Friday, May 29, 2015

My Big Fat Greek Yacht

                                   Princess Karis was always the largest yacht in the harbor

This is Wine-Knows’ last night on a 110 foot yacht that we’ve chartered for a week’s journey through the Greek Islands.  We boarded the Princess Karia II on Turkey’s jaw-dropping “Turquoise Coast.”  An hour or two later we were in Greek waters heading toward our first stop, the island of Kalymnos.

                                                    Non-touristy Kalymnos

Kalymnos is one of Greece’s wealthiest islands, famous for its once thriving sponge-diving industry.  Relatively unknown to tourists (its airport is <10 years old), Kalymnos still fortunately retains its authentic Greek character.  Our first night we spent docked in the island’s lively capital town.  While there were some beautiful yachts in the harbor, the Princess Karia dwarfed all of them.  The next day we sailed around the entire island, dropping anchor in one its pristine bays with a fjord-like inlet. 

Patmos island was next on the itinerary.  Home of one of Greece’s most revered monasteries, it’s no wonder why Tom Hanks and other celebrities have bought property here.  Privacy and unadulterated scenery that takes your breath away…who could ask for more?
                                                      Patmos' old village & Monastery

Our island hopping continued to Paros.  This island is known for its outstanding quality of marble (many buildings in Athens have been made with Paros marble).  But it also known for its wine.  The most famous producer, Moratis, hosted Wine-Knows for a private tasting with an impressive lineup.
                                                 We're the only tourists in sight

Ikaria was also a port of call.  Totally off the beaten track, this island derives its name from Ikarus in Greek mythology who fell into the sea nearby.  Ikaria has received world-wide attention lately as its inhabitants are some of the earth’s oldest and healthiest.  The Mediterranean lifestyle and diet are thought to be contributory factors, as well as the island’s plant-based diet…meat is reserved for only special occasions.


                                           Ikaria:   a stunning recipe for longevity

The Princess Karia, however, is not just a luxury yacht---it has a formidable professionally trained chef.  Meals are served on the upstairs terrace on a beautifully coiffed linen-draped table.  First courses typically are a mélange of 5 or 6 small plates varying from a smoky eggplant spread, a beet salad with wild herbs, roasted peppers, or stuffed uber-fresh tomatoes.  A variety of olives in every color and shape are always on the table…even for breakfast.  Main courses we have enjoyed included succulent local island lamb, grilled prawns, a perfectly executed quick fry of calamari, and dreamy grilled veal chops.  All have been accompanied by a hand-picked assortment of Greece’s award-winning wines that were brought on board special for Wine-Knows.


                                                            

Tomorrow we will disembark the Princess Karia on Santorini.  It will be very difficult to leave this once-in-a-lifetime experience behind, however, our trip’s last three nights will be spent exploring Greece’s most visually spectacular island.  Moreover, we’ll be visiting the island’s top two wine producers to learn about Greece’s most well-regarded white wine.  Grown in volcanic soil on centuries old vines, these whites are nothing short of fabulous.

Twelve travelers…six crew.  I love the numbers...and I love the people.  This is how I would like to sail through life.


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