Last August, we found out my mom had breast cancer. Before her surgery and final prognosis, we didn’t know how bad things were, and even if she’d survive. Deep fear grabbed us. As mom and I went from one doctor’s appointment to another, we made a pact to go on a real trip together when she got well. Spending time in an exotic land sounded much more appealing than our stressful adventures in the world of cancer. With this future plan, we declared our optimism.
Mom has been heroic in her healing over the past 11 months and we all feel damned lucky to now find ourselves here in Greece together. Today as she lay on the shore of our favorite rocky cove, she said “This is good for the soul.” I know. The water, air, sun, peace, family time, and simplicity of it all.
We are back on our favorite island in the Aegean, Folegandros. This is the same quiet spot P and I first visited on our honeymoon, and some of you might remember these photos from the time we spent here last year. In Folegandros, people smile and say hello as they stroll through the car-less narrow streets of the old town, which teeters along the edge of an epic cliff. There are no big ads or much commercialism here. Signs are hand painted wood. Tiny bars serve delectable ice cappuccinos. Kids sell rocks in the town square.
Every day we walk an hour to the beach (Mom's health routine motivates those us with lazier tendencies.) We wander past stone walls and thistles, donkeys and sporadic fig trees. Then a plunge into the salty sea. The kids, and P too, hurl themselves off high rocks into the cool water. We all ooh and ahh about the beauty of each stripy pebble on the beach as we find our Northern California pallor being deeply warmed by the Mediterranean sun.
Our lunch spot is always the same -we are the kind of travelers who stick with a good thing when they find it. Our feet are sandy, and our swimsuits wet as we take a seat at our favorite taverna. Lilah’s carnivorous tendencies seem to be at their height here in Greece and she always orders a heaping plate of lamb stewed in olive oil, tomatoes, and onions. The rest of us devour Greek Salads loaded with ripe tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, tangy onion slivers, sunny yellow peppers, the creamiest local goat cheese, and a generous dousing of olive oil. I’m sure there could be new deliciousness to discover, but these Greek Salads feel just right. And this time is all about simple pleasures, right?
- 3 ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into bite-sided wedges
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cored and sliced
- 6 Kalamata olives
- 1/2- 1 cup creamy feta
- a good pinch of dried oregano
- nice quality olive oil
- sea salt
- optional: a teaspoon of capers
Place all chopped veggies in a bowl. Top with olives, a big heap of feta, and a drizzle of olive oil. Pass a jar of extra olive oil and some salt around the table so everyone can season to her liking.
makes 2 generous servings
makes 2 generous servings