Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Ionian islands: a hymn to Homer

There is something very special about sailing around the Ionian islands.

I'm a reluctant sailor. I scare easily and would rather be attached to the earth by an invisible umbilical cord than be immersed in the wine dark sea.

But there is much to be said for bobbing gently around at anchor in a secluded bay, with only cicadas for company during the daytime and a family of five large owls at night.
Sleeping by the light of a supermoon on midsummer's eve...
...and waking up to a Homeric dawn...
This sun and moon, this sea, these mountains, these islands, they all connect us to the magical and lyrical but brutal times of years gone by. You just have to close your eyes to re-emerge in the age of myths. It is there in your head, in your heart. You just have to believe.

The ancient, mythical past is all around us, in place names like Ithaca, in ancient ruins of temples to the gods, in our offerings of broken pottery on the mantelpiece, a gift to Hestia, the goddess of the hearth.

Aboard the good yacht Nestor, named after the king of sandy Pylos, one of the oldest and wisest heroes of the Trojan War, there is something very mythical about this voyage, and about this whole gap year.
It is as if Calypso had cast her spell and kept me captive. Like Odysseus, I will strive to reach home. The days are ticking by and the twelve months are just a hair's breadth away.
But the assorted wonders on this incredible journey will be with me forever.
That's about it.

Love Maddie x

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