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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Greece: Paxos Was Heaven; Paxos, Sunsets of the Mind

John Gill writes. as his prologue ("Heaven") to his book The Stars Over Paxos, Pavilion Books, 1995:

"I have discovered my idea of heaven on Earth. It is an endless game of Scrabble on this clifftop terrace, lit by a Paxos sunset in which the sun never ever sets. Our gin and tonics are eternally iced and always full, and we never run out of peanuts. Miles Davis's Kind of Blue plays in the background, and it goes on forever".

I wonder if he could write the same words in 2017. Whether or not you like Scrabble, gin and tonic and peanuts, whether or not "Kind of Blue" is a special Paxos record for you, the things that remain perfect and constant are the sea, the olive trees, the night sky and the sunsets.

Paxos as heaven on earth? The late Mark Ottaway would have agreed with that assessment.

"His brother said: 'If there is one thing I have never doubted about my brother is that his affection for Lakka, Paxos, The Ionian and the Greek Islands (in that order) was undimmed. Despite being a world renowned travel writer with an intimate knowledge of so many places, it was always to Lakka that he turned to truly relax and be himself. The generosity and friendship of the local community is what always took him back there year after year and led him to build his home there'."

Marc Dubin, writing in The Telegraph (11 January, 2017):

"The tiny island of Paxos in the Ionian is planted with olive groves and gives onto iridescent turquoise sea, rimmed by white pebble beaches and limestone cliffs. Popular with wealthy Europeans and sailing folk, it is upmarket but slow-paced and unspoilt".

Martin Love heads to Paxos – and finds it wonderfully unchanged, The Guardian

We have our own views about the impact on the island of the culture of tourism (and the threat of oil industry developments in the past), but here are some of my own special spots on Paxos, taken over the years:

Looking back, to when life was simpler:

Greek edition (from Paxos kai Antipaxos, Athens 1907, trans. Anastasios P. Mitsiali) of the Italian map by Martelli in Paxos e Antipaxos nel mare Jonio, Alessandro Martelli (Presso la Societa geografica italiana, 1901) - Carta geologica e ipsometrica delle isole di Paxos e Antipaxos nel Mar Jonio.

Paxos in the 1960s, according to Arthur Foss, The Ionian Islands, Zakynthos to Corfu, Faber and Faber, 1969:

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