Fiskardo - (Resorts on Kefalonia)

Chris H

The Roman villa at Skala has a mosaic floor in the antechamber depicting Phthonos (Envy) in the form of a young man being torn apart by wild beasts. Who was it that commissioned such a scene as a daily reminder of the perils of envy? The inscription is Greek so Its likely this villa was owned by Greeks who had taken the lifestyle of Romans but it would appear, not the Roman values. It was ever thus. The Greeks have been subject to the rude intrusions of their near and not so near neighbours for two and a half millennia. Yet the Greek soul seems as indestructible as the Greek language. So what of Fiskado? Fiskcado certainly caters for the rich but this is not the fault of the sailing fraternity. Wealthy or not, there are proper sailing people in Fiskado who clearly love the sea and have little interest in the shabby chic feeble mindedness ashore. But there are also visitors for whom 'La Bella Figura' is the sole reason to function as living organism. Other than the ability to make and retain money, these visitors have little else going on in their heads. Sitting near them in a restaurant is an irritating encounter. And of course there are the stupefying rich who are marked as extra terrestrials even in their own culture and certainly in any other society where they may land. A local Fiskado man swept his arm over the bay indicating a huge yacht that, at a distance, could have been an island ferry. "Do you think that was bought with clean monies."? He was laughing at the absurdity of it all and I detected no malice. "These people also have to fill their bellies. It's just that they crack open lobster and drink champagne. I eat souzoukakia and drink ouzo". "But", I added "you have immeasurably better conversation". More laughter. Unjustifiable riches and the vulgarity of conspicuous wealth may have diminished the spirit of Fiskado, but only in the short term. The soul of the Greeks; their tendency to anarchy and an eye for absurdity will I believe preserve the soul of this place long after the irritants, undeniably useful for now, have moved on. Who could blame the locals for responding to the vicissitudes of these visitors. We should celebrate Fiskado as the place that draws these creatures to one spot. And we should bless the local Greeks for keeping them entertained and keeping them there. "Greece is a wonderful school for hoggish nations; you suddenly realise that you don't need all the clobber of so-called civilisation to achieve happiness and physical well being. Just to think of a Paris menu, or a Los Angeles dustbin fills one with shame, makes one queasy. How did we get to be this way - we pigs? " So says Lawrence Durrell. Things have moved on since my 1978 edition of 'The Greek Islands' was published. Sadly, most of us have had our heads in the trough. But as Byron and Sir Charles Napier would have recognised; if all this trashy self obsession were to be swept away leaving only the legacy of the Hellenes, we would still have secure foundations to build anew.