With Zakynthos not empty-handed
Do you know what an unexpected thought most often visits tourists on the eve of their return to their homeland and usually darkens a well-spent vacation, even if it undoubtedly gave them maximum pleasure? The answer is simple: the idea of souvenirs and other purchases promised to their loved ones, who are eagerly awaiting “gifts” almost from the very moment of separation.
No matter how much you would be tempted by the thought that “there is everything in Greece”, there is no use for it when you climb under a blanket and set an alarm clock or order a “wake-up call” the next morning. But no matter how it was a chore, you had a lot of time to close the topic of shopping – at least, friends and relatives who meet you will be sure of it, and no miserable mumble will convince them of the opposite. No matter how colorful your stories are, may you be Sinbad the Sailor or Tour Heyerdahl, you cannot avoid the stigma of the “unfortunate traveler”.
But did it ever occur to you that sometimes, and in Greece as always, you have a great opportunity to combine non-boring rest with no less boring shopping? Take, for example, the island of Zakynthos, which is rapidly gaining popularity among our compatriots.
Like many other Greek islands, Zakynthos is famous for its natural beauty, wealth of historical monuments and traditional hospitality of the locals. The Venetians, who owned the island in the Middle Ages, called it “the flower of the East”. Mountains, dressed in the mantle of pine forests, greenery of vineyards, olive and almond groves, clean sea, golden beaches … You can admire the local scenery without end.
The picturesque bay of Navajo, also known as Smugglers’ Bay, is considered to be the visiting card of the island and one of its main attractions. In the 1980s, during a heavy storm, the cargo ship Panayotis stranded on the ground, in which smugglers were carrying illegal goods. The corroded shipwreck, like a huge whale beached ashore, stands in the middle of the sand, creating an unusual contrast with its surrounding nature. Navajo Bay is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in Greece and annually attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world.
Another significant attraction of the island is located on the northernmost cape of the island of Schinari – the Blue Cave: the sun rays penetrating it are reflected in the sea water and cause amazing silver-blue reflections.
It is especially important for us that the island of Zakynthos is the realm of the relict turtles Caretta-Caretta and one of the rare species of the Mediterranean seal. Beware of tourists bathing in the afternoon, turtles crawl ashore only on warm summer nights. In order to protect these harmless and very cute animals, a national marine park was established on the island.
So, returning to our topic: since turtles are a symbol of Zakynthos, this is why they should be the most important souvenir in your gift baggage. These can be children’s costumes, plush toys, dishes, key chains, magnets, t-shirts or caps – the choice is yours, just keep in mind that it is indecent to return without the turtles from Zakynthos. In the end, hunting for a rare and original copy will surely be an exciting pastime for you. The main thing is not to take live turtles, otherwise waiting for your loved ones may be delayed.
Of course, it is possible to argue about the sophistication of Greek wines, but what kind of wine to carry from Zakynthos is not Greek. Buying a couple of bottles can be combined with tasting and inspection of basements and vines.
The island is famous for its variety of wines. Some of them are produced and bottled by local companies, but most are made by the inhabitants of the island themselves from grapes harvested from their own vineyards.
The harvest begins in the month of August, and in about the month of September wine is made from it.
Interestingly, for wine and raisins, the people of Zakynthos grow different grapes. Local Greeks dry the raisins naturally on the vine under the rays of the sun, and everyone who visits the island in August can see this process.
As it is not surprising, but women’s cooperatives are most often engaged in home production of strong drinks in Greece. And in addition to high-grade tsipouro, local craftsmen create a diverse palette of flavored liqueurs and liqueurs, using all the herbs of Zakynthos, as well as oriental spices. In small shops with cooperatives in addition to alcoholic beverages, you can also buy pastries, jams and bunches of dried herbs used in Mediterranean cuisine.
In addition to the popular and traditional for Greece “Feta”, “Kaseri” and “Graviera”, Zakynthos is famous for producing “Ladotyri” cheese on the island. It is made from goat and sheep milk and stored in olive oil. It has a peculiar smell, salty taste and belongs to the category of hard cheeses. It is recommended to buy it only after tasting. However, it is not necessary if you take it not for yourself.