Our Story

CREATING THE MAGIC

As children, we are introduced to the exciting world of fairy tales and mythical characters. Captivated by the storylines we anxiously wait for the next adventure. Sometimes we like a particular story so much, we want it repeated over and over again.

 

For me, my childhood fairy tales were Greek myths. So, every night, off I went on an exhilarating adventure, tangled by a godly web, heroes, nymphs and beasts.

 

In brief, Cinderella was replaced by Psyche and Eros, Sleeping beauty with Aphrodite, Three Little Pigs with Hercules and so on. I loved these stories, all of them.

 

As an adult, the stories have remained with me. There is a Peter Pan in all of us wanting to bring to life our childhood fairy-tale world. And so, my journey begins….

 

Magical Sunset was born from a heartfelt desire to share with all my friends, new and old, a small aspect of the mythical world. My premise was to carefully orchestrate a tour that would navigate through a timeless ancient storyline that is still relevant and magical today.

 

No books or prior knowledge of classical Greece required. Just an active imagination and the desire to awaken all senses!

 

So, come with me on a free-spirited journey living one storyline at a time.

 

Why Magical Sunset

Every year, as we reunited with friends and relatives dining under the Greek velvet heavens, we somehow found ourselves in prime positions to indulge the many magical sunsets.

 

With time, this became a mission, a quest if you like, to see how many sunsets we could capture either by camera, phones or memories. With each adoring sunset, a magical memory was created.

 

THE WHOLE STORY

Hi, so this is my story and my love for Greek mythology.

I am of Greek descent but migrated to Australia when I was one year old. Melbourne is home.

I don’t recall when or how I was introduced to Greek myths, only that they were always there, beautifully shelved in my mind’s library ready to be ‘borrowed’ at a moment’s notice.

As a young child, I knew many myths…. my favourite heroes encountering thrilling challenges, romantic love stories and epic battles. As I got older, I appreciated the erotic undertones (or sometimes overt), the metaphorical wisdom, philosophical messages but most of all, I loved the adventures.

The myths themselves had humour, pathos, betrayal, and that was just amongst the gods! They were entertaining and very addictive stirring emotions that I didn’t know I had. The gods became real to me - human-like and very relatable.

In 1998, my husband and I along with our two children, aged 4 and 7, made our first trip as a family to Greece. Whilst Greece and the Greeks have a particular fondness for children, I paid additional attention to ensure my children were actively aware of the history of Greece.

At one point, we took a boat trip around Crete. We anchored where we thought appropriate, basked under the sun when so desired, observed the wild goats (kri-kri) ravish the terrain and when ready sailed off until it was time to call it a night.

 

On this particular night, we came across Elafonissi, on the Southwest coast of Crete. An amazing beach with a nearby island that you could almost walk to it as the water was shallow. It was a remote location with a dirt road track that led nowhere and no visible occupants in site except for the three townhouses available for rent. Townhouse number three became home for the night.

As we walked to our house, amongst the rocky barren hills and absolutely clear night sky, I gazed at the countless stars and the unspoiled surroundings and heard myself saying aloud “so this is where satyrs lived!” You would certainly need to be a goat-like character to walk these mountains of Crete. It was as if 4000 years of human intervention had very little impact in our immediate environment. It was as if I could see and feel exactly what ancient Greeks of that era felt…. and believed!
 

“What are satyrs mum? “

I drew the children close and started the tale. I began with satyrs, the goat-like characters relating to the wild goats, Kri Kri that we had just seen earlier.

I began with Kronos who was married to the goddess Rhea and how he had swallowed all of his children immediately after birth. Their poor mother desperately tried to save at least one, and so replaced a newborn with a wrapped stone. That is how baby Zeus was saved. But who will raise the child? If Kronos should ever find him, he would experience the same outcome as his siblings.

Goddess Rhea gave the infant Zeus to Amaltheia who transformed into a goat to nurse the baby. The two of them lived on a mountain cave in Crete. Amaltheia was very protective of him and loved him dearly. One day, playful Zeus, while playing with Amaltheia, broke off one of her horns and turned Amalthea into the first unicorn.

And so, the storytelling began……. The tales were all coming back to me, after so many years! It wasn’t just the stories, it was the emotional connection too.

“Where is the cave where baby Zeus lived? Is it on this island? Maybe he left something behind. Can we please go?”

This was going to be a long night.

So, I told them about Athena and how she was born in full armour from her father’s head after her father Zeus ate her pregnant mother. In her passing of her father’s mind, she collected all of his knowledge, granting her the title goddess of wisdom. We talked about Achilles the mighty warrior and his one weakness, his heel.

After 10 weeks of solid travelling, we left Greece with a tonne of memories, experiences and a collection of Greek myths to satisfy our appetite for storytelling.

The following year, we relocated to Central Europe on a work assignment. This gave us the opportunity to spend the next five consecutive summers in Greece. With each vacation, a new myth was explored, another adventure lived and new memories created.

Fast forward to 2013 when the children are all grown up and it was no longer cool to travel with your parents and new travels began with old friends. Several couples decided to travel to Lefkada, an island in the Ionian Sea. After a week of exploring the island, we found ourselves in Ithaca. It was a typical hot July day and instead of diving in the turquoise waters, the group agreed to follow my direction in search of Homer’s school and where Odyssey set sail. I was beside myself! The idea that there are remnants of Homer’s school today would be nothing short of a miracle.

Well yes, we found it. We found Homer’s school!

As deeply emotional as I felt about my discovery, I was equally disappointed by the neglect and lack of appreciation of this historically significant site. “Where are all the visitors? Why is this place not protected or maintained?”

We then headed to find Odysseus’ palace. Perhaps the myths provide guidance as to where Odysseus sets sail.

Fortunately, at the town’s centre, there was a clay model showing the main points relating to Odysseus. I was so excited - we were all so intrigued! Hope, in the form of an imaginary thread, was provided, allowing us to unravel the mythical story set before us.

Holding onto this thread and tracking down the mythical settings and events, had now become my own personal Odyssey.

In 2014, my husband and I set off for another Greek summer holiday. A different island a different myth and more friends to entertain.

In 2015 off we go again. Stay with me, I think you can see a pattern here.

This time we joined our friends from Scotland who were visiting Kos. With demanding careers and limited time Karen and John typically arranged vacations that would provide them with a tranquil all-inclusive luxury escape. This was true for Kos as well, until we came along.

We booked ourselves into the same 5-star resort they were staying in and scheduled a full itinerary that took them out of the resort and onto an ancient pathway set before us.

The island had been there a lifetime before us as it wove its unique tales into the fabric of Greek mythology. So of course, as visitors, we wanted to rejoice the old but equally embrace the new. What summer holidays could you have with no sun, partying or drinking? I’m sure the gods would agree.

 

‘Is there is an ancient temple on the island?’ Well, of course, there is. This is Greece.‘So who are we worshipping now? ’As we ascended the hill, I looked above us, I was astounded by the magnitude of the Asklepion monument. It was the healing centre, with a temple dedicated to Asclepios, the god of medicine and healing.

 

On the lower level, a medical school was housed. This is where the “Father of Medicine” Hippocrates, recognised for his contribution to medicine as a profession, taught other people the art of healing. At the end of his teachings, he required his physicians to swear, to a number of healing gods, to uphold ethical medical standards. These standards, known today as The Hippocratic Oath, is one of the oldest binding documents in history. Although the ancient text is only of historic and symbolic value, a derivative of the oath is taken today by many medical graduates about to enter medical practice.

With the newly purchased Hippocratic Oath, Karen and I read out loud the commitment each young physician made as they entered their medical profession.

With deep emotion and new found respect for the medical profession, we looked at each other and we carefully placed the souvenir papyrus in its plastic sheet ready for gifting. Karen has a brother in Melbourne who is a doctor and wanted me to pass on the gift. I too purchased a couple of extra Oaths, I just needed to find a couple of doctors to give them to.

The following week, we visited Samos, the island where Pythagoras the mathematician and philosopher was born. The island is tranquil and very green. They take much pride in their infamous mathematician as it appears half the male population of the island bears his name.

In 2016 and 2017, we took the opportunity to venture out more into mainland Greece. We visited the tomb of Alexander the Great’s father, natural springs where only amorous nymphs would reside and explored unfamiliar tracks and secret haunts. The surprises kept on coming. Between the buzzing beach bars, authentic local food and hidden coves, our summers were amazing.


Well, that was it for 2017, where to next summer? What I knew for sure, is that Greece has over 6000 islands, well-preserved beaches, a glorious sun and countless adventures to be had.

Planning my next adventure was easy, all I needed to do is pick a myth I like and let the story guide me.

And here I am, the European summer of 2018.

With more than 20 years of travels into mythical Greece, Magical Sunset is launched.

Magical Sunset was born from a heartfelt desire to share with all my friends, new and old, a small aspect of the mythical world I love so much. My premise was to carefully orchestrate a tour that would navigate through a timeless ancient storyline that is still relevant and magical today.

No books or prior knowledge of classical Greece required. Just an active imagination and the desire to awaken all senses!

So, come with me and experience an exhilarating ‘true to life’ journey under a magical backdrop, living one storyline at a time.

Plutarch - “The whole life of a man is but a point in time; let us enjoy it.

Maria xo

 
  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon
  • Grey YouTube Icon
  • Grey Pinterest Icon