Whether its Ikaria and its super diet that keeps islanders alive and well way into their hundreds, the island of Kefalonia as the setting for Louis de Bernieres’ novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin or New York-based Greek chef and restauranteur Maria Loi revealing secrets of the trade and of travel, Greece is yet again in the international limelight as the summer tourist season warms up.
In an interview to the New York Times, Greece-born Loi recommends “two days in Athens to see sights like the historic Acropolis, and then spend one day each on the stunning Saronic islands of Piraeus, Aegina, Poros, Hydra and Spetses” as her ideal weeklong itinerary to Greece.
In the meantime, Mail on Sunday travel editor Frank BARRETT speaks of a “simply stunning” Kefalonia, which has remained pristine. Barrett urges a visit to the traditional harbor towns of Fiscardo and Argostoli, where “big turtles cruise up and down the waterfront looking for food”.
Finally, financial information site MarketWatch tells us Ikaria – among five other locations worldwide, namely Okinawa in Japan, the Sardinian highlands, Loma Linda, California, and Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula – is the place to be if you want to live a long, healthy life thanks in great part to its diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, small amounts of dairy and meat, and lots of legumes and beans.
Besides praising Ikaria’s eating habits, where feta cheese, chickpeas, potatoes and olive oil take the lead, the writer also points to the significance of strong ties among family and friends, membership in faith-based communities, a sense of purpose in older age, techniques to relieve stress, which may include sharing a glass of wine with friends, gardening and strolls in the countryside.