Greeks Bearing Gifts

Rooster Lunch in the Square

When we conjured this long itinerary, we wanted to ease into the dislocation we were likely to feel as our year proceeded.  We started with Iceland’s wild outdoor adventures with the benefit of little jet lag and lots of English. We then purposefully moved to family time in Sweden, then on to Athens and its surroundings for the start of more academic pursuits. Our next intent was to immerse ourselves in a real, authentic cultural experience. Thanks to our dear friends Paul and Phyllis Spinale, and in particular, Phyllis’s parents Gus and Evelyn Katsigris, our immersion into the culture of Greek village life was immediate and complete.

Gus (Kostas) lived in the seaside village of Leonidio until he and his father left for the States when Gus was 13 years old. But his roots – and his heart – remain in Leonidio (along with about 2/3 of the village who claim to be, in one way or another, one of his cousins.) Gus has lots of cousins. So does Evelyn whose family happens to be from Poullithra, the next village over. Although they have lived in Dallas for decades, Gus and Evelyn know everyone and everyone knows them. Strolling Leonidio’s streets with Gus is like walking down Broadway with P. Diddy.

The chef over wood and gas

Really. The Katsigris affiliation is better than the Amex Black card; it buys access and experiences everywhere. We ate Rooster cooked over a wood grill, met an 89 year old ex-communist living on olives and honey in the hills, enjoyed the genuine hospitality of a phalanx of warm cousins and chowed down on goat roasted in special paper at our last feast in the Katsigris’s vine-covered courtyard.

Gus introducing a goat to Dana

This year, we want to show the kids that the world is not all like Dover. The goat and rooster may be different, but the warmth and friendship and love of family lives strong.

Thank you Gus, Evelyn and cousins. Yassou!

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3 Responses to “Greeks Bearing Gifts”

  1. Great read. I can imagine being there. Thw White life is a good one. Reis have you hooked us up with any fun snacks? Need food dude! Love peter

  2. What fun! Thank you for sharing your adventures with us. The students at Chickering will be watching your trip via a new website. Check out the options under extracurricular activities @ – chickering!

    Just want to know, does rooster taste like chicken or duck? 🙂

  3. The pleasure was all ours. Gus could not stop talking about how fun it was to have you all join the party. He was particularly enthusiastic about the kids and their adapabililty and interest in everything around them.

    Based on our week together, I can only imagine how great the rest of the trip will be!

    Missing you! Phyl