As we rode deeper into the mountains, the welcoming smell of pine bathed us in its aromatic embrace. Alluring and intoxicating, to me the smell of the pefki (pine) is the smell of Greece. I was on my trusty Honda motorcycle, and my wife and I were deep in the mountains on the island of Evia. Like someone out of an old Bon-Jovi song, the thrill of exploration and the solitude of the road fuelled my enjoyment in the ride. Pathetic, but real nonetheless. As the euphoria of the ride began to take hold with each passing corner, (if you don’t ride you will have no idea what I’m talking about here) I began to notice in increasing regularity two striking and intriguing sights. One was the proliferation of beehives for pine honey, the other was what looked like a mutilation of the forest. In large patches of the forest I saw each pine tree notched with a plastic bag hanging attached to the trunk. On closer inspection we realized that the trees were tapped for the collection of pine resin to be used in the production of Retsina. What I witnessed on Evia was an ancient symbiosis of man, tree and insect. This was a sight as stunning as the scenery itself.
Collecting resin for Retsina
A collection of beehives
A great lunch to match the scenery.
Ah! Karpoozi, The perfect thing to beat the heat.