A Journey Across Time – Forty Years Reunion with my Platoon Brothers
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine
I traveled to northern Greece to meet my army platoon brothers for our 40-year reunion. We spent eight days together touring the mountains, villages, and monasteries. I was filled with anticipation and curiosity to reconnect with them after such a long time. I found a strong bond and love that had endured over the years. It is something to cherish and be grateful for, as these connections gives me a sense of belonging.
The collection’s first two images were shot forty years ago. It was when the first light poked through the horizon in the early hours of the morning. We were near the end of a grueling fast march that had taken us 50 miles (80 km) in full gear and finished when we reached Mount Masada’s summit.
At the mountain top, we received the red-crimson color beret. We became Paratroopers, the elite ground forces of the Israeli Army. Mount Masada is a fortress mountain in the Judean Desert where about 2000 years ago, over 900 people chose death over surrender to the Roman Empire. It has become a symbol of resistance.
There are only a select few experiences in life, such as my service as an Army Paratrooper, which make me feel proud.
Discovering the Authentic Cuisine and the Geographical Features of Evritania & Ioannina
“Don’t tell me how educated you are. Tell me how much you traveled.” – Mohammed
A trip to Greece is, in some ways, a return home since ancient Greece’s legacy and history penetrated the awareness of all Western civilization. It’s the land of mythological Gods and Goddesses. Our jeep caravan rambled through the rugged backroads traversing the wild mountains, forests, streams, and magical coastlines of Evritania, Epirus, Zagoria, and Pelion.
Everywhere we went, we found charming little villages that were modest and gorgeous. The local taverns served the most delicious homegrown delicacies: fresh goat cheese seasoned with local olive oil, colossal vegetable salads, hot freshly-baked bread, and an array of fish dishes, all complemented with plenty of Ouzo, Tsipouro, and beer. Our first few days were spent exploring the area, tasting the local foods, and admiring the stunning scenery.
Evritania is a region in central Greece known for its forests, mountains, and rivers. The area is home to the Pindus mountain range, which features peaks over 2,000 meters high.
Epirus is a region in northwest Greece known for its rugged, mountainous terrain. The region is home to the Pindus mountain range, which includes the highest peak in Greece, Mount Smolikas. The area is also home to numerous lakes, including Lake Pamvotis and Lake Prespa.
Zagoria is a region in northwest Greece known for its mountainous landscape and stone villages, or, as the locally being called, “zagorohoria.” The region is home to the Vikos-Aoos National Park, which is known for its stunning gorges and waterfalls.
The Historical Significance of the Monasteries of Meteora
“Travel far enough, you meet yourself.” – David Mitchell
Meteora is a rock formation in central Greece, home to several Eastern Orthodox monasteries built in the 14th and 15th centuries. These monasteries are considered some of the most important examples of Byzantine architecture in Greece and are known for their stunning location atop high cliffs.
The monasteries of Meteora were founded in the 14th and 15th centuries by monks seeking a more isolated and ascetic way of life. In the early days, these monks lived in caves and small huts scattered throughout the region. As their numbers grew, they began to build more substantial structures on the cliffs, using the natural rock formations as a foundation.
The monasteries were built using a combination of traditional masonry and local materials, such as stone and wood. Many of them feature intricate frescoes and other decorative elements and are decorated with ornate icons and other religious objects.
Over the centuries, the monasteries of Meteora have played an important role in Greece’s cultural and spiritual life. Today, they are a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world who come to marvel at their beauty and history.
Pelion is a mountain range in eastern Greece known for its natural beauty. The region is home to numerous villages, each with its own unique character and charm. The region is known for its forests, which are home to a variety of plant and animal species, as well as its sandy beaches, which are popular with tourists.
I was deeply moved by the beauty of northern Greece and the warmth of its people. But the real highlight of the eight-day trip was, by far, the people I was with, my army platoon brothers. I had the chance to experience the softer, kinder, more generous, and wiser parts of their personalities that come forward with maturity and age. I immersed myself in the love of re-discovering my bond with them, and it was a wonderful experience that we all shared. I will hold fond memories of this trip for years to come.