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XK Club Rep Event Reports

South Evia Discovery Tour

Evia or Eubea is a 280km long island East of Attica connected to the mainland by two bridges in Chalkida, only 80 km from Athens.

We started our discovery tour in a sweet note visiting Stayia farm, a small family bio farm that produces healthy bio organic food based on honey and royal jelly. Their products, named Vasilissa, can be found on the shelves of many prestigious delicatessen stores worldwide.

The brand name Vasilissa has an intriguing mythological origin:

The nymphs Amalthia and Melissa (the Greek name for bee), the daughters of King Melisseos of Crete, fed Zeus (Jupiter) with goat milk and honey. Melissa raised Zeus with special care feeding him with honey in order to grow faster and become the main divinity on Mount Olympos.

Zeus loved honey, and one of his nicknames was "Melittite" in honor of the bee's superfood.

When Cronos (Saturn) realized the role of honey in the development of his son’s Zeus strength, was outraged and transformed nymph Melissa into a worm. Zeus forever grateful to Melissa, broke the spell and transformed her again into a Queen bee (Vasilissa in Greek means Queen)

These two earrings of the 7th century BC found on the Greek island of Rhodes, represent the Goddess Bee (Queen Bee).

Stayia farm’s Vasilissa honey comes in different flavors such as truffle, lavender, fir tree, thyme, honeycomb, royal jelly and pollen, wild herbs, mastic of Chios, saffron, cinnamon, hot chili pepper, goji berry and a special variety containing flakes of 24k edible gold! The two young children of the owners inspired the creation of a cocoa honey, a natural super food that baby Zeus would have appreciated for sure!

After having tasted the God’s favorite food, we happily continued our discovery visiting the Karababa Fortress and the panoramic café overlooking the town of Chalkida.

The Venetian Gerolimo Galopo built the Karababa fortress in 1684 during the Ottoman occupation and that is why the architecture looks rather European than Oriental. The old 40 meters long moving bridge was built in 410 BC on the narrowest point between the island and the mainland. To the present day, depending on the needs, it allows pedestrians and cars to pass over or boats to sail through the passage between the two seas.

The Jaguar Club of Greece is the only classic car club that allows owners of modern Jaguar cars to become members and participate to its events. All members can also invite other Jaguar friends.

Our purpose is to encourage people to enjoy the sight of our classic Jaguars, inform them about what it means driving and maintaining an XK or E Type so that they might decide to achieve one and become the “treasurer” of another example of this glorious British make.

Konstantinos, one of our members, owns a new F type roadster and we were both proud to admire the curvy pin-up lines of an XK and the aggressive shaped lines of the F Type. Both are stunning!

Refreshed by our drinks under the pine trees we pointed our bonnets in direction of Eretria to reach the 5 stars Hotel Negroponte Resort, the yearly “base-field” of the famous Red Arrows of the British Royal Air Force.

Image courtesy of the Negroponte Beach Resort

Every May the Red Arrows’ jets depart from the United Kingdom to reach the Hellenic Air Force base in Tanagra and begin an intensive phase of preparations for the summer campaign. The annual training known as Exercise Springhawk, takes full advantage of the fine weather in Greece to perfect and polish the team’s display that millions of people attend every year all over the world. We always enjoy their acrobatic flights during the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Silverstone or over the Goodwood racing circuit.

We landed…..sorry, we parked our aerodynamic Jaguars in the crowded parking of the fully booked Negroponte Resort eager to take our first dive into the clear blue waters.

The following picture was taken from the balcony of our room just before wearing our swim suits. We all had such a wonderful time at Negroponte whether in pareo tasting excellent food and wines at the restaurant or in evening dress dancing to live music around the pool at night.

On Sunday morning, after our swimming and jogging, we turned on the engines to continue our South Evia Discovery tour. The weekend average temperature was 34 degrees Celsius (93 Fahrenheit) so, while driving around the mountain hairpins, sometimes we had to switch-on our electric fans.

Finally, our leaping cat saw the amazing sight of Porto Boufalo and ran wild to find a shady place to sleep.

Porto Boufalo with his 105 inhabitants is a small fishing village renowned for the fresh fish visitors enjoy at the three local tavernas.

The pristine waters of this bay are paradise for swimmers and a wonderful secluded anchorage for sailboats. In this gulf there is also a Yoga Retreat offering tranquility and relaxation to people who need to detox their body and soul.

This picture is not the location for the next remake of “Mamma Mia”, it is the main entrance of one of the fish tavernas for customers arriving by sailboats. The left round sign reads, “If you want to become a helmsman, learn first to row!” and the second one “the sea is quiet but the winds shake it!” and here we learned the names of the winds in Greek.

In Greek Mythology, this area was known for the story of Io, the beautiful daughter of Inachos. She was a priestess in the temple of Hera in Argos but also the secret lover of Zeus.

When Hera found out the betrayal of her husband, she transformed Io into a female buffalo and gave her for safekeeping to a shepherd named Panoptis Argos who tied her to an olive tree on the promontory, which is the current Porto Boufalo. Zeus ordered Hermes (Mercury) to retrieve his beloved Io from the shepherd Argos. Hermes managed to get the shepherd to sleep with the sound of his flute and later killed him, thus giving Io her freedom back!

Our cars went to sleep without the need for flute melodies while we “killed our thirst” with chilled ouzo and Greek appetizers. Leaving this quiet paradise lost and the sea breeze, we climbed again the mountain to reach another amazing beach. Along the road, the colorful bushes of yellow, white and pink flowers delighted our eyes.

Our lunch destination was at the romantic Figia’ Beach near the Port of Marmari. We left our Jaguars in the shade of the trees and sat under a plane tree at Taverna o Platanos.

Our program was not finished yet because we kept the best surprise for the end: in the afternoon we drove to the hill above the town of Karistos to visit the historical Montofoli Estate.

Since the Frankish domination it was owned by the ruler of the Castello Rosso (the castle of the area), which, like the estate, is built on the hill ‘Montofoli’ (the mount with foliage, monte + foglie).

Omer Pascha, the last Ottoman ruler of Karystos, was its last owner. The estate was then referred to as “The Paschas’ Gardens.” Following the departure of the Ottomans from Karystos it was conveyed by the Sultan to Ioannis Paparigopoulos, the Russian sub-consul to Karystos and Lord Chamberlain to King George I of Greece.

In 1986 under the ownership of the Pavlos Karakostas family, the Domaine Monofoli was reborn. Aiming to bring the estate to its prime state, he started restoring the existing buildings and continued cultivating and producing agricultural products while all the archaeological finds from the estate, were transferred to the Archaeological Museum of Karystos.

Pavlos Karakostas decided to produce a sweet wine, the “Domaine Montofoli”, in the way the sweet wines of the Aegean islandswere being made since ancient times. Four native varieties are grown and they always make sweet wine. Asyrtiko and Aidani from Santorini, Athiri from Rhodes and Liatiko from Crete. In 1991, for the first time, the "Domaine Monofoli" a sweet-salted dessert wine was placed on the wine market , and it immediately gained recognition in the Vin de Liquers ranking.

Following our wine tasting with the typical almond bisquits “cantucci”, Mrs Marianna Karakosta kindly showed us how to prepare this Tuscan speciality to relish it, dipping it into the sweet Montofoli wine.

We really enjoyed their warm hospitality and chilled wines and we took some bottles of this precious nectar for our cellars. And then it was time to leave that magical swallow’s nest to reach our ferry boat and return to the mainland. Another great weekend was over but we promised to meet again at the next one to visit the 19th Century Castle of Queen Amalia, the wife of Otto the first King of Greece.

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