Maryann's food memories: Teenage years

Before we moved to Wales in 1976 we spent a good few years holidaying in Pembrokeshire as well as Europe before my parents bought a small holding in Nantgaredig, to satisfy their desire to raise animals and grow vegetables.

The summer holidays to France and Spain were curtailed, dad was a dentist who really wanted to be a farmer and mum a housewife who wanted to run a business and developed a bed and breakfast, a swimming pool and gym and eventually a restaurant. ( that’s for another time)

My yearning to travel led me to explore other parts of Europe in my late teens with friends travelling mainly to Greece on repetitive summers on the infamous Magic bus via France, Germany, Italy and then Yugoslavia, 3 1/2 days non stop sleeping on the bus stopping once every 8 hours or so for around £50 return, it sounds like hell now but at the time we took it on our stride, this was before the days of cheap flights.

Stopping at the various food outlets through Europe was interesting, I remember great burgers in Germany, much more interesting than Carmarthenshire's dearly loved Wimpy, cheese and charcuterie in French truckstops and bare counters with the odd snack or sandwich in Yugoslavia.

But then we arrived in bountiful Greece.

I spent the long post exam summers travelling around the islands sleeping on beaches, rooftops and occasional hostels being introduced to Spanokopita, tzatziki, feta cheese, slow baked aubergines, moussaka and souvlaki.

We worked in bars and cafes occasionally in order to be able to stay just a little longer but you could live on hardly anything with the Greeks being very generous to the tourists on the sleepy islands we'd travelled to.

Mostly in the Cyclades - Naxos, Antiparos, Santorini, Mykonos and then moving down to Crete handing us baskets of fresh figs, tomatoes and peppers straight from their gardens and free Gin fizzes in the friendly bars.

Returning a good few years later with Simon and the boys to Cephalonia and Santorini I found most of the islands a lot busier and barely recognisable but with the best sunsets that rival even Llanarthne's.