Looking down on Mount Athos and Sithonia

Miles of olive groves, the mountains above Ormylia, a puncture and a strange meeting with a waiter

I managed to get back to Greece in September and during our stay we took a trip to the olive groves around Ormylia and went up into the mountains that surround the area. The air was fresh and the forests were full of beehives. I'd recently watched a moving and beautiful film called Digger and wanted to find the village, Taxiarchis, where it was filmed. It's a drama but an underlying theme is about the environmental impact of mining corporations. We took a small road from Polygyros and stopped to have a picnic on the way. We sat with a stunning backdrop of Mount Athos and Sithonia without a soul in sight. The photo doesn't do the view justice but I'm sure you'll get the idea. Taxiarchis was pretty with a few locals in the square. We joined them, and some kittens, for a Greek coffee and bought some huge apples from a farmer selling his fresh, local fruit & veg from the back of his van. I'd been reading Hazel's issue Who gets to eat? during the week, so this local grower really got me thinking about the importance of small scale farming, no matter where it is in the world.

The really odd thing was that the day before, we'd cycled along the coast and one of our bikes got a puncture. We were 20 km away from home, so we walked to a taverna in Kalyves and an exceptionally friendly waiter helped us out so I could to explain to the bike hire company exactly where we were. They were amazing and delivered a new bike within an hour. The strange thing was that the waiter had played the bar owner in the film 'Digger' and had grown up in Taxiarchis. We had lunch and chatted to him for ages about the film and the environmental impacts of mining in the area and the fact that we planned to visit the next day. He also told us about his time in Ireland and meeting Tom Cruise and also Mel Gibson when he played an English foot soldier in Braveheart!

On the way back from Taxiarchis, we went via Ormylia and travelled through miles of olive groves, from where we're sourcing our amazing olives for the Ethical Shop.