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"I don't believe in accidents. There are only encounters in history. There are no accidents." – Pablo Picasso

  • R.B.

An Exuberance of Grandfathers - a merry encounter with ‘kefi’

It was just about sunset when we reached Myrina, the main harbor on the island of Limnos but with no room on the town quay we dropped anchor and had a fitful night listening to the wind gusts. Our journey had returned us to Myrina after a 10 hour crossing from Porto Koufo on the western side of the peninsula of Sithonia in the Halkidiki. At 7:00 AM I saw a hole open up on the quay so we were on the move and nested in before breakfast.

After giving Manaia’s deck a well-deserved scrub Jamie started yammering for coffee so we decided to wander over to a busy café just off the town square. We took a seat and glanced around only to discover the regulars were imbibing with late morning ouzo and snacking on delicious looking meze.

Repeat after me; “Smell the roses, taste the ouzo” and with that as our mantra the decision to forego coffee was easy; we ordered Karafakia with meze. Our waiter soon returned with four glasses, a bowl of ice, a small jug containing chilled water and a little 200 ml bottle of Ouzo.

By the time Jamie had charged our glasses the waiter was placing a plate laden with little bites before us: soft creamy keftedhes (meatballs), Loukanika (spicy sausage) cooked with aubergine, fried courgettes, simple marinated black eyed peas that had us licking the plate and potato salad, arranged around cubes of feta, olives with cucumbers peeking out from underneath.

We lingered sipping and tasting enchanted by a congregation of Dapper Chaps seated around the table in front of us, a fraternal comradery built around years of memories; families, jobs, war and politics; their faces reeked with the essence of life, they are the town statesmen. They arrived on scooters, in taxi’s or toddled up the street leaning on canes, tremoring with age but all presenting the elegance of their years. Dressed for their daily outing; clean and pressed, shirts tucked in belted trousers, jacketed, shoes shone; looking snappy in trilbies and pork pie hats they presented a lively little ensemble.

Children laced around the table, attracted by warmth, smiles, and caresses from this Enthusiasm of Grandfathers. One man produced a small bag of stainless steel hinges. Each hinge was passed around; from hand to hand, inspected, critiqued and admired. The hinges were obviously the topic of the day. Communally they shared one Karafakia of ouzo, and one plate of meze; one bottle, one plate… but many glasses.

Greeks have a word for which there is no translation kefi. I think of it as a feeling of joy, contentment, the spirit of happiness from within the soul.

We too were touched by kefi.

{...Stories of the Manaians feature the Capitan, Jamie who hails from New Zealand and me, Renee who came to live in NZ via Seattle. Manaia is our little 37 foot sailboat which is the stage for our Greek adventures. We drift from island to island, port to port, town to town. We live local; shop, eat and drink plus experience with great gusto what this wonderful county has to offer. Jamie speaks a bit of Greek and I parrot what I hear. Our boat life is full of fun, adventure and discovery; sometimes we even hoist a sail. When we are not sailing in Greece we can be found in Auckland doing much the same thing!...}

click here to read another Manaia story



“It is only at the first encounter that a face makes its full impression on us”

- Arthur Schopenhauer



“Chance encounters are what keep us going.”

– Haruki Murakami



"If there is no fate and our interactions depend on such a complex system of chance encounters, what potentially important connections do we fail to make? What life changing relations or passionate and lasting love affairs are lost to chance?"

– Simon Pegg


"Sweet Serendipity...that unexpected meeting that changes your life"




"Ironically, the people you meet by accident are often the ones who become an important part of your life." 

Solitary Reaper



“Important encouners are planned by the souls before the bodies see each other.”    

Paulo Coelho



"I am thankful for the serendipitous moments in my life, when things could've gone the other way"

Rick Springfield



"Synchronicity: ideas, thoughts,

occurrences that seem related, but defy conventional explanation."


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