Nikos Frantzeskakis, Vamos

In 1992, when Nikos and Lola Frantzeskakis, he, a Public Power Corporation employee, and she, a mathematician, left Athens to settle permanently in Vamos, a village near Hania in Crete, their only regret was not having done so earlier. «We started thinking seriously about it in 1991, when the smog and traffic congestion really began to bother us,» Nikos told Kathimerini. «We thought there was no reason to live like that.» His roots were in Crete and they slowly started to prepare for the trip that would change their lives. «At first, we settled in Hania because the transition from a big city to a village would have been too abrupt. But two years later, we shifted permanently to a farm in Vamos.» In 1995, with another eight friends who gradually took the same direction, they established a company, Vamos SA, «to maintain the tradition and and development of Apokorona,» the local area. So far the Vamos group has restored and renovated about 30 buildings that now operate as guest houses. They have set up a home business making traditional products, and started crops of organic vegetables. «Life is great. You don’t know what it’s like to wake up and hear the birds, to look after your animals; nature is right in front of you,» says Frantzeskakis.