My island home

My island home

Steven Macarounas

Head of Education and Managing Editor, The Private Practice

A proud Kalymnian, Steven Macarounas from The Private Practice takes us back to his roots.

I come from the salt water people
We always live by the sea
They say home is where you find it
Will this place ever satisfy me?

N’ my island home
My island home
My island home
Is waiting for me

Christine Anu, My Island Home 


A transplanted sapling will always retain some of the soil of its origin, clinging to its roots... 

So it was with the one year old Emmanuel Macarounas born on the island of the sponge fisherman, Kalymnos, in the Dodecanese ‘cluster’ in the south eastern waters of the Aegean in Greece. 

His parents, my grandparents, as well as in time his young bride Katina, reinventing their lives in the frontier land of Australia and forever diverting the destiny of generations to come – bringing with them a rich heritage of tradition, flavours, language, a philosophy and attitude to life that, in many ways, continues to course through the veins of their Greek-Aussie children, grandchildren and great grandchildren today. 

Throughout my 54 years, Kalymnos has felt like a genetic homeland, the tug on my heartstrings is ever present, visceral, real. This does not diminish my Australian-ness but helps to inform it – in fact helps me to appreciate it and not take it for granted. 

My frequent visits to Greece, and in particular Kalymnos, have kept the connection alive and, although obviously biased, the uniqueness of this strange and mysterious island continues to provide a second homeland not only for the sons and daughters of its peripatetic progeny but also for those tourists who have become ensnared by its charm and return annually for their fix of sun-kissed ‘philoxenia’. 

>Literally translated as ‘friend to the stranger’, philoxenia is much deeper than that – it’s a way of life, a legendary hospitality that is undoubtedly the greatest and most valued Greek tourist attraction, and found in abundance in Kalymnos… "Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some have unwittingly entertained angels.” (Heb 13:1-2)


About Kalymnos

Like other articles in our escape series, I could describe the island, its attractions, its people, its food. 

I could tell you that morning starts with the crowing of roosters, a warm mountain herb infused breeze, the languid rising of an egg yolk sun. 

I could speak of the progression of sensual assault as the sun rises – the smell of freshly baked bread pungent with caraway seeds, the chatter of early morning grocery vendors and shoppers and the clack-clack-clack of motorbikes freed of carburettors. 

I could describe the siren call of fisherman spruiking their morning catch of octopus, grouper, sea urchin and spiny lobster. 

I could tell of breakfasting on bitter sweet brewed coffee, creamy unpasteurised yoghurt, thyme flavoured honey and phyllo wrapped semolina custard baked to golden perfection, drizzled in syrup and dusted with cinnamon – Galaktoboureko. 

I could regale you with stories of monastery seeking mid-morning mountain hikes, of romantic shores dotted with pebbled beaches, pristine waters and the civilised presence of rustic waterfront cafes, bars and restaurants – all of which deserve Michelin Stars for ambience, deliciousness and hospitality. 

I could attempt to convey the deep religiosity of the Kalymnian, the fierce loyalty to their church, the fantastic spectacle of Easter replete with angelic Byzantine chanting, candle-lit parish parades, ear drum shattering dynamite blasting and of course the fast – breaking, gut busting mother of all feasts. 

I could elaborate on sunsets, so poetic in their majesty that you are moved to tears. 

I could introduce you to Kalymnos through the weather worn and grace filled faces of mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts and cousins – every one of its citizens a reflection of Hellenic exhilaration at its best, each possessing a temperament as vividly Greek as Odysseus. 

I could tell you all this and more. 

I will, instead let these images do the talking and hope that you are lucky enough to one day experience this beauty for yourself. 

So, as a proud Kalymnian, I urge you to consider spending some family holiday time in this little piece of Heaven and, in so doing, experience some unspoilt Greek Island life – a metaphor really for the really important things; family, celebration of existence, along with some deep relaxation and connection to our universal roots.

The Private Practice Magazine

This article featured in
our Spring 2017 Edition

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