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Smells like home


We are waiting once more in the Blue Star Boat garage, frowning, trying to avoid the earsplitting safety noise that makes the last minutes of our journey seem endless. Then, the door opens and we rush out into the windy port. That’s when the island’s smell surprises me. After a while I get used to it, but then, during the first couple of meters between the ferry garage door and the grey dock, the air strikes with a mix of odors from both the sea and the land; earthy and fresh. I could never describe this smell that identifies in my head as “my island’s” smell, because it is subtle as white noise and the minute I realize its presence it disappears.

It’s like visiting a familiar house, you ring the bell, the door opens and there is someone there to welcome you. There is a hug, a handshake and the house’s smell is also there to present itself and say hello too. My aunt’s and uncle’s house used to smell like 4711 cologne, Elnett satin hairspray, pistachios and cigarettes. My neighbor’s house had a scent of sea shells, chocolate and old books. House’s scents fade away, blend with new ones of different people and habits but they never really evaporate. Sometimes they surprise us when we open an old box or a cupboard, evoking all sorts of memories and feelings.

My house had a very welcoming scent of orange, cinnamon and cloves during the last Christmas baking period. What about you? Which house smells you recognize as familiar, and make you feel at home?


photos by christos drazos

words by maria alipranti