Thursday, March 8, 2018

Greece: Sun, Sand, Sirocco ~ Must be Spring

‘All we are is dust in the wind
Dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind. . .’
                 -- Kerry Livgren, Kansas (group), 1977

That song was playing in a taverna last night in the village. No other song could have been more fitting this week. 

Sunset during Sirocco wind in the Mani
The famed Sirocco wind carrying the warmth and sand of Africa’s Sahara desert into Mediterranean countries to its north, made its annual appearance this week.  While we are told Greece doesn’t have a word of its own for the wind, we are coming to call it the Winds of March or the Wind of Martios, as the month is called here. It always seems to visit this time of year.

Maybe it should be the Winds of Spring, because it seems to bring the new season along with it as well."
'Springtime is the land awakening.
The March winds are the morning yawn.'
     -- Lewis Grizzard

The Mani became 'dust in the wind'
By whatever the name, it mutes our normally vibrant-colored Peloponnese and turns our world gray for a few days. It makes everything dust in the wind. Then as quickly as it comes, it goes.
The ‘bright side’ to the Sirocco, is that it’s a sure sign that spring is almost here. And not a minute too soon, I might add!

'I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now,
one does, I think as one gets older.'
         -- Virginia Woolf

Wild iris border the roadways
Actually it has felt spring-like since we returned to Greece in mid-February from our six-week sojourn to the United States. This is the first time we’ve been here that early in the year and we were surprised at the many wildflowers already in bloom.The first troubadours of spring, the tiny wild Iris, have lined the roadsides and bordered the groves it seems for most of the winter.

Olive groves are carpeted in gold
Then, as if those iris were the warm up act, a few weeks ago the countryside threw off winter’s coat showing all its springtime colors.

Our olive grove – that drought-stricken, barren area we arrived to last fall – has become an almost magical place – home to hobbits, elves and  fairies - if you let your imagination roam.

A tree in our olive grove
Red, yellow, white and blue are the colors woven together in this year’s spring carpet.

Blooms are everywhere
PicMonkey Collage
The Garden in the Grove at The Stone House on the Hill

Going Wild in the Peloponnese

It is the perfect time to explore the Mani countryside. The old limestone trails that once served as the only link between communities have become popular with hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Ribbons of hiking trails curl and wind deep into gorges and wrap around hillsides.  Any number of walking tours can be booked or follow the trail signs with guidebooks and maps in hand and explore on your own.

A few days ago we hiked out beyond the end of the road, just beyond Trahilia village near us on a day that was ‘just right’ as Goldilocks might say. . .

Looking back at Trahilia

Another day we parked in the village of Platsa, just above us and set out to visit a spring nestled into the hillside some 1.2 kilometers away. As we walked through the village we passed its long-ago school-house-once-turned tavern, now abandoned, and admired the wildflowers growing as high as its once crowded tables.

The old schoolhouse-turned-tavern in Platsa
'There are always flowers for those who want to see them.'
                                 -- Henri Matisse

The path to the springs near Platsa
Whatever season you are welcoming in your part of the world, we hope it is as beautiful as springtime in Greece.  That’s it from The Stone House on the Hill this week.  As always we are grateful for the time you spend ‘with us’ and look forward to your comments. Hope to see you again next week and bring some friends with you. . .

‘Like wildflowers;
you must allow yourself to
grow in all the places people
thought you never would.'

Linking this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration
Best of Weekend


  1. Beautiful. It looks just like here in Israel, the stones, olives, flowers, and the dust. But you have better mountains. :)
    That dust you had is here swirling in the wind today, irritating the eyes and throat. We had a mini-heatwave in the south, with 36C and 20% humidity.
    Jackie, does Greece have a frenzy of pre-Easter spring cleaning? Here we always have the dust storms exactly when everyone is frantically trying to clean house, yard, and town before Passover Week. Our seder this year falls on March 30, coinciding with Christian Good Friday.
    We will be looking forward to your descriptions and pictures of Holy Week in Greece.

    1. Yes, this is the time of year that fix-up, paint-up and clean up gets underway in earnest. We are painting our deck furniture this week and between an early morning shower and an afternoon windstorm gave up our efforts! Sirocco and Spring Cleaning seem to go hand in hand here. We adore Holy Week in Greece so glad you are looking forward to hearing about it! 32 - wow! That is hot!!

    2. I guess the Greek gods want to prove who's still boss when it comes to pre-Easter clean-up. :)

  2. This is such a great post with all those blooms in so many different colors...just magical. Thank you for showing me a part of the world I will never get to go visit. love....

    1. Oh and thanks for stopping by for a tour of our spring wildflowers. The countryside is absolutely gorgeous this time of year! xxx

  3. Ahh Jackie this is the best time of the year in Greece. At least for me it is. I love all the blooms and the scent in the air is incredible. The grass is green and full of colorful flowers. And the weather is just perfect. Enjoy it for me as I prepare for another snowstorm.

    1. Mary, the weather has been incredibly beautiful the last couple of days here and it does seem amazing that elsewhere in the world it is still winter replete with snow and storms! Take care!! Thanks for stopping by ~

  4. We love the sight of fresh flowers, and your pictures brought the feeling of Spring rushing in. Thanks for sharing the views of Sirocco, Greece for all of the world to see.

  5. My first ever visit to Greece was during the springtime - the flowers were beautiful!

    1. Ours was too. . .maybe that is the driving force that kept bringing us back!

  6. A post as beautiful as springtime in your corner of Greece. It's not that I like autumn less as I grow older (sorry Virginia Woolf). It is just that palo verde trees turn yellow as spring arrives here in the Arizona desert! But if I were in the US Northeast, I will stick to Fall.

    1. Good point on the changing colors of nature, Carol. All seasons have their beauty if one cares to look for them. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. What a lovely post---prose and photos. I am sooooo ready for spring to be sprung here in Philadelphia. Actually, we had a few days of warm weather which coaxed out the crocusses and started other spring bulbs to sprout only to be slammed by two winter storms in the last two weeks---with another predicted for tonight. I hope the spring flowers weren't damaged by their early buds. If we ever get to visit the Peloponnese again, I'll be voting to make the trip in the early spring.

    1. And if you ever do get to the Peloponnese the welcome mat will be out!

  8. I enjoyed reading about Greece and the dust. The wildflowers and countryside are gorgeous.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks for leaving a note - hope to see you back here soon!

  9. It is blooming around these here parts too. My eyes and nose felt it first and l look like something the cat dragged in for the better part of the day despite the eye drops, frequent headaches and nose spray..haha! Nonetheless, I enjoy Spring so l am just going to soldier on and suck it up. It looks lovely, the countryside.

    1. I love springtime anywhere in the world, but there is a special magic about spring in Europe, isn't there?

  10. All the photos are beautiful, but the first one is something I've never seen or imagined. So glad you shared at!

  11. I love the beauty and blossoms of spring. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos., especially the one captioned "The Garden in the Grove at The Stone House on the Hill." It is gorgeous.

    1. Thanks for stopping by - glad you share my love of springtime and all that symbolizes it! Have a great weekend!

  12. Besides the wind and gritty dust (we get our share of Morocco's sand in the summer) it looks like the Mani has received some rain to green up the countryside and make the flowers bloom. As my mom used to say, "Spring has sprung!"

    1. Spring most certainly has sprung! Hope you are having much of the same in Portugal!

  13. You captivated me with your description of the carpet of wildflowers ... and then provided pictures with eye candy as well! I can easily imagine myself hiking these hills and absorbing the sun ... when it's not dusty!

    1. Oh even the dust can bring an air of mystery to the Mani. Thanks for stopping by Angie! Hope to see you back again soon!

  14. I love how you've described the arrival of spring in this post, with all of the wildflowers and such. Here in the Netherlands, where it gets much colder in the winter, the arrival of the first snowbells and then crocuses is such a relief!

  15. I love spring wildflowers. Spring looks beautiful in your part of the world. I also love the quote at the end of the post.

  16. What a refreshing post to see the beautiful signs of spring in Mani. i would love to spend some time hiking in the Peloponnesus. We are still so very far from welcoming this lovely season in New England. Your photos and words were like a breath of fresh air!


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