To write one article about one place seems sensible; only that the place I am writing about is so multi-faceted and touches on so many issues, that it seems impossible. How to capture the sizzling inside me as I hear those working towards this project talk with such love and admiration about the place and the people they work for? One may say that I am being given the nice side of the story; I am, after all, here to be as impressed as possible. Yet, what makes this place distinct from others is that the truth of feeling and heart that it holds within it is evident, and resonates throughout.
It began more than 20 years ago as the dream of a man who started from scratch and grew into a truly inspiring entrepreneur, whose vision and passion for this region became a driving force for all who have worked and watched this project come into being.
Costa Navarino in the province of Messenia in the Peloponnese is not only a gift to the Mediterranean and Greece, but also a pioneer in sustainable development worldwide. It is exemplary in many ways and, at the moment, is like a young plant steadily growing and strengthening its roots. When a foreign concept is applied to a local setting, the outcome is unknown. It is important for this place to wear its clothes in its own style, which is a long but worthwhile journey in search of an identity.
I am not one to quickly praise, I am often skeptical of green capitalism, and I do find myself brooding over the controversial topic of luxury. I have my judgments on tourism that encloses people within controlled boundaries and spoon feeds them experiences, and I love rough and natural landscapes untouched by man; perhaps one could say, I am not the “Costa Navarino type”. Yet I can say with confidence that they won me over, and not because of the things that they obviously did to achieve this. I use the epithet they instead of it, as one of the things that touched me most was the fact that this establishment is humane, has not taken human and turned it into machine and has not civilized the natural; rather it attempts to respect what has always been there and share it with those who visit.
I asked a lot, I heard various voices, I listened carefully to distinguish truth from untruth, and I heard a unanimous positivity and pride towards Costa Navarino. I left dreaming that perhaps this could be the spark of a new movement in Greece, a movement out of the cities, and a return inland. I dreamt that it could be a source of inspiration to people of various backgrounds to create a community committed to a new type of living surrounded by simplicity, beauty and culture. I hope that this project marks the beginning of an era of creative growth, just as the fertile land has done to the diverse organisms that have fed and grown off it since time untold, and that with the passage of time, the values that have been put into place do not get forgotten, but rather thrive and shine through all the more.