In Halkidiki, they have a saying – about how the three peninsulas which stretch out below the northern Greek mainland accord with the different stages of a man’s life.
The first peninsula, Kassandra, is bright and bustling, with a busy nightlife. It is said that this is for the man who wants to find himself a woman.
The second peninsula, Sithonia, is best for the man who has won his beloved’s heart and wants a romantic break (or for couples with children).
The third peninsula, dominated by Mount Athos, holds 2,500 Orthodox monks. Women – even female animals – have been banned for nearly 1,000 years.
This is for the man whose woman has left him; who is seeking sanctuary, and comfort, in God.