Meet the meanderer

I have a zest for adventure. I love going to new cultures and learning how the people there solve the basic problems of life. I love seeing new animals, plants, places. I am a woman alone wandering the world, but when I can I find a good travel companion. Before I leave for a new place I try to learn about it as much as possible – explore its history, art and music. Once there I let it swallow me whole. These blogs are from my journeys, inner and outer.

A Peek – Table of Contents


Here’s a peek at the table of contents of “It’s Greek to Me”.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 – A Brave Old World

Chapter 2 – Vourvoura

Chapter 3 – Louis and Thia

Chapter 4 – The Day That David Invented the Doorknob

Chapter 5 – Celebrations

Chapter 6 – From Stones Bread

Chapter 7 – Ta Pethia (The Children)

Chapter 8 – Gypsy Invasion

Chapter 9 – Different Pipes

Chapter 10 – No and Long Live, The Goveernment Comes to Vourvoura

Chapter 11 – Hell With Company

Chapter 12 – Wedding

Chapter 13- Wanderings

Chapter 14 – Rocks of Ages

Chapter 15 – Where Shepherds Walk

Chapter 16 – Hollywood Comes To Vourvoura

Chapter 17 – War Scars

Chapter 18 – Estrangement and Reconciliation

Chapter 19 – Gypsy Child

Chapter 20 – Gal Friday

Chapter 21 – The Mani

Chapter 22- After They’ve Seen Pareee…

Chapter 23 – Spies

Chapter 24 – Ferries and Islands

Chapter 25 – Nikki

Chapter 26 – Dimitri

Chapter 27 – To Kill an Octopus

Chapter 28 – Revolution

Chapter 29 – Plowing

Chapter 30 – Tarsa

Chapter 31 – Kalo Nero (Good Water)

Chapter 32 – Saturday Night Bath

Chapter 33 – Yianni Day

Chapter 34 – Papoo

Chapter 35 – Island Christmas

Chapter 36 – The Elli

Chapter 37 – Swallow Days

Chapter 38 – Black Jim from Bad Rock

Chapter 39 – Nikki’s Bread

Chapter 40 – Scandal

Chapter 41 – Holy Week

Chapter 42 – Pascha (Easter)

Chapter43 – Valley of the Cherries

Chapter 44 – New Faces

Chapter 45 – Around the Island

Chapter 46 – Summer Bounty

Chapter 47 – Doug’s World

Chapter 48 – Nikki’s Night Out

Chapter 49 – Cross-Eyed Nikos Takes a Day Off

Chapter 50 – The Trees on the Acropolis

Chapter 51 – Making Wine

Chapter 52 – Vistors

Chapter 53 – Another Harvest

Chapter 54 – Sad Lovers

Chapter55 – Sophia Day

Chapter 55 – Foreign Invasion

Chapter 57 – School Days

Chapter 58 – Glendi (Party Time)

Chapter 59 – To Kill A Chicken

Chapter 60 – Archaia (Old Stuff)

Chapter 61 – Nuptials

Chapter 62 – Clean Monday

Chapter 63 – Departure

Book now everywhere!

Laundry day in Vourvoura

Laundry day in Vourvoura

“It’s Greek to Me – A young American family lives with rural Greeks before there was an EU and discovers a powerful, ancient way of life” is now out as an ebook as well as in print. In print it is $20, as an ebook $4.99. Here are the links to find it:







Promised Chapter – The Day That David Invented the Doorknob

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

The house in Vourvoura

Here is the promised chapter. As a set up we had survived storms at sea and arrived in a remote village. To our surprise, a promised rent-free house turned out come with an old lady, Thia, and her great niece, her husband and two daughters.

The Day That David Invented the Doorknob

The house lacked many conveniences, such as full plumbing and electricity, but the thing we missed most was a doorknob on the front door.

All the houses in Vourvoura had handles and little thumb latches instead of doorknobs. Thia’s latch was broken. When it was windy the only way to keep the door closed was to shoot the bolt, locking it from the inside.

We often came back from shopping or a walk and found it locked because when it was left unlocked it blew open and wind put out the lamps in front of Thia’s icons, a matter of great concern to her. Then pound as hard as we could there was no way to get any response for Thia was hard of hearing and her room was at the back of the house. Unless she happened to leave her room, which wasn’t often, or unless Athena or Yorghia were there, we had to go back down the steps, out the courtyard door, climb a steep hill to get to the back of the house, scale a four foot wall, clamber through a small storeroom window and walk through the house to finally unlock the front door. It was a windy summer and this happened frequently enough to be a real nuisance. One day after we had gone through the routine twice David announced he was going to make a doorknob.

He found a broken limb from the apple tree in back and carved it into the proper shape, with a tongue-like flange for a latch, and installed it. Thia came out to replenish the oil in the icon lamps and stayed for a few minutes to watch David at work puzzled. He tried to explain what he was doing by gestures. She walked back to her room shrugging, sure this was again proof we were crazy, a conclusion she had reached the day after we had arrived.

Later that day I was sitting in our room which overlooked the front door and saw Adonis come in from the fields. He mounted the steps, sighing when he saw the door closed, prepared to shout for one of us. Then he saw the doorknob and stopped dead.

He looked at it a long time before he slowly reached out to touch it. He pulled it, nothing happened. He turned it and the door opened. He closed and opened the door again and again. He looked at both knobs and the latch very carefully. Then he didn’t come in; he went downstairs and out to the street where Soteria was unloading sacks of grain from the donkey.

She followed him back up and he showed her the doorknob. She looked at it suspiciously. Then he opened the door. He closed it again and tried to persuade Soteria to open it, but she balked. He went inside, closed the door, then opened it and came back out. Finally Soteria reached for the doorknob and turned it. When the door opened she threw her head back and screamed with laughter. Her laugh was as hearty as the rest of her. She started shouting for the neighbors.

A few of the women came to see what the fuss was about. Soteria demonstrated the door, and Maria, our milk lady crossed herself. She had been interrupted at her baking and was covered in flour, she wiped her hands on her apron and tried the knob herself. All of the women laughed and went to get Thia. She came out of her room grumbling at being disturbed. Then the crowd gathered to show her the new addition to her house. Adonis opened and closed the door a few times to demonstrate. Thia stepped back and like Maria, crossed herself, but was finally coaxed into trying it herself. She opened the door and grinned a big toothless grin.

Finally the women left to return to their chores but Adonis returned with all the men he had found in the wineshop. They were all fascinated and played with the door, talking excitedly together.

They found David in his studio, shook his hand, then dragged him down to the wineshop where they all took turns buying him a drink. Every time someone new drifted into the shop some of the men would take him to the house to show him the new wonder. Two of the men fetched the village priest and took him to the house as well, which impressed Thia enormously. He returned and bought David a drink, too.

That Sunday there was a wedding at the church and Adonis proudly showed the doorknob to all the guests. In fact, the doorknob became a tourist attraction and we grew used to having strangers show up from other villages to ask to try it out. Soteria laughed every time she saw it, but all the men were convinced that David was a genius.





At Amazon, soon on Barnes & Noble – and here is a treat

The book is out and as the folks at tell me, it will soon be available at more sites and as an ebook as well. I am having a local book launch party with a slide show, Greek music and eats. You can get it at Amazon but you have to hunt for it as It’s Greek to Me by Andrea Granahan, not just the title (popular title for everything from cook books to language books it turns out). It’s $20 in print. When it is finally available as an. ebook it will be $4.99. If someone wants to order directly from me, I only charge $2.75 for postage plus the $20 for the book. Send a check to Andrea Granahan, POB 25, Bodega CA 94922. It is also directly available from and they deliver fast I am told.

As a treat I am posting a sample chapter. Here is a picture of me and kids toiling up the mountain to our home on the island.Parikia & us from mt.


Cover Done!

Layout 1

The cover is done. Designer Todd Engel did a brilliant job. The book goes to the printer this week. It will be available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I am hoping it finds its way to the many Greeks who live in America, Canada and Australia so they can learn about their wonderful roots and how their grandparents and great grandparents lived, loved, worked and played.

It’s Greek to Me – Coming soon!

I am about to publish a new book called “It’s Greek to Me – a young American family lives with rural Greeks before there was an EU  and discovers a powerful ancient way of life.” 

It is a vivid description of life in Greece under their infamous colonels. First in a tough mountain village in the Peloponesus where the Spartans once lived and then on an Agean island where life was gentler.

It will be out in about two weeks and will be available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or directly from me. The print copy will cost $20. and the ebook will cost $4.99 and will be available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.

It comes complete with a photos.

This was a third world Greece before it was Eurotrashed.

My children on our island.

My children on our island.

7 Reasons to Visit Puerto Vallarta


Puerto Vallarta has grown up since its Hollywood scandal and backpacking hippie days.

Puerto Vallarta has grown up since its Hollywood scandal and backpacking hippie days.

By Andrea Granahan

Puerto Vallarta, the sunny port on the Pacific in tropical Mexico, has been beckoning visitors ever since the 1960s when Liz Taylor and Richard Burton were steaming it up with their torrid affair. He was filming “Night of the Iguana”. She was along for the sex.

They weren’t the only movie stars having an affair. Emotions ran so high on the film set that John Huston, who was directing it, gave each cast member a gold revolver with a gold bullet engraved with another cast member’s name – fortunately, none was ever used. But the press flocked to the area to cover the juicy stories and stayed in Puerto Vallarta. Word got out that Huston had discovered a paradise.

These days Vallarta, with a population of less than 300,000, has been well discovered with lush resorts to the north and south of the picturesque old downtown. There are lots of reasons to visit PV and here are just seven of them

1. It is safe. While some parts of Mexico have had drug vs. government wars, it is a large country, and other parts of Mexico are safe. Americans, the most easily spooked travelers in the world, needn’t be afraid. Vallarta is fine for several reasons. It is a naval base so the Mexican Navy patrols the bay continually making it hard for smugglers to get in. There is just one main road connecting PV to the rest of the country because the steep Sierra Madre Mountains cut off easy access from the eastern interior making it hard for drug dealers to get away. There is also a lot of employment in PV. People are moving there from other parts of Mexico because of its tourist-fed prosperity. PV is as safe as any same-sized city in the US.

2. The winter weather is balmy with temperatures in the low 80s Fahrenheit . Winter is also the driest season thus November through March is the high season there. In mid-summer it is just plain hot so that is the low season. The electrical supply is reliable and everyone has air conditioning.

A sunset sail complete with margaritas.

A sunset sail complete with margaritas.

3. Beaches. There are miles of perfect beaches on the palm shaded coast. Swimming, diving out at the lovely Arches islands, sunset sailboat rides, kayaking, parasailing – there are all sorts of ways to enjoy the delights of Banderas Bay. You can even take a water taxi to the remote cove of Yelapa if you want beaches without crowds.

Laid back Yalapa is just of the many superb beaches.

Laid back Yalapa is just of the many superb beaches.

4. Great food. Foodies love PV because of the fresh seafood, tropical fruit, and terrific cooks. Vallarta Food Tours promises to make a local of you in three hours with its tour of downtown eateries and it delivers. The tour even includes taco stands that have been in the same family for three or five generations, making just one type of taco. It introduces you to the families running small hidden gems of restaurants cooking grandma’s recipes. The beachside palapa roofed seafood restaurants in the Zona Romantica get the catch still wriggling, straight from the boats. Some of the local specialties include ceviche, a marinated seafood treat and grilled marinated red snapper. Local candies made from jungle nuts and wild vanilla are also very good, and there are some excellent candy shops.

A fifth generation stamd specializing in just one kind of taco. Go early, the lines get long at lunch time.

A fifth generation stamd specializing in just one kind of taco. Go early, the lines get long at lunch time.

5. Shopping. PV has some local craftsmen, most notably glass blowers, but the busy market on an island in the middle of the Cuale River offers a wealth of handcrafts from all over the country and even has the colorful, elaborate beadwork of the Huichol Indians who live outside of PV but come to the market. Oaxaca wedding dresses and colorful blouses, modern Mexican high fashion, beach wear – it’s all here. Kids go crazy for the los luchadores masks that Mexican wrestlers wear. The market spills on to the mainland in a large building and onto the nearby streets. If you are lucky you might come upon a quinceanera in progress. That’s the important holiday when a Mexican girl turns 15 and is made a princess for a day. The teens like to parade through the market in their gowned finery on their special day.

The colorful artisans market on the island in the river in the heart of town.

The colorful artisans market on the island in the river in the heart of town.

6. Beauty. The pretty waterfront pedestrian-only stretch called the Malecon provides views not only of the beaches but of the jungle-clad mountains reaching down into the bay. An elegant statue of a seahorse ridden by a youngster is the symbol for Puerto Vallarta and it graces the Malecon. There is a remarkable wild mangrove swamp called El Salado right smack in the middle of PV. There are now boat tours that will show you the rich bird life and the crocodiles that make the 169 acre wetlands surrounded by high rises and resorts their home. A short bus ride will also take you to the spectacular botanical gardens outside of PV. These lush gardens have wild jungle trails that lead you into the mountains or down to the swimming holes on the crystal clear river. A beautiful restaurant and gift shop has a view of the river and is famous for its margaritas. You can see a dizzying array of tropical flowers and see the vanilla that has become such an important crop in Mexico.

On the malecon - the symbol of Puerto Vallarta - a boy riding a seahorse.

On the malecon – the symbol of Puerto Vallarta – a boy riding a seahorse.

7. Acceptance. If you are gay this is the resort city for you. Gay marriage is legal in Mexico, surprising as that may seem in a Catholic country with a machismo tradition. But the revolution was not just against the government, it was against the church. Gay couples are welcome and there are gay clubs, even one that does not admit women. Tourism is all important since it provides more than 50 percent of the economy, so no one wants to interfere with it. If gays want to vacation there, that’s just fine with the locals. Ever since those naughty movie stars attracted tourism in the first place, the locals have developed a “live and let live” attitude. There is a large expat population. Male or female, gay or straight, they find a peaceful home in Puerto Vallarta.

There are more reasons to visit the lovely city in the state of Jalisco, such as nightlife and theater, but these seven are reason enough to draw you to one of the world’s prize resort cities.