Hello! Fantastic to see you again!
I know I said I'd be back on the 23rd, but it's always the way isn't it? You come back from being on holiday, and BAM, you're thrown in at the deep end of busyness, so I'm sorry for being a little later than planned in my return. Thank you so much for all your lovely messages wishing me a good time on my holiday, some I read before I went away, some on my return. What a nice way to begin and end the holiday!
It' good to be back in the swing of things, and I'm loving being able to get back to blogging. Hugo and I had the most idyllic week in Greece, and I was a bit tearful at leaving that idyll, as we climbed on the coach that was taking us to the airport.
The first thing I did in those limbo land moments of arriving home, was drink a cup of tea, and then do some dead-heading of plants in the garden. That did a lot to anchor me back in the real world. I then felt ready to get straight back into real life with gusto, renewed vigour and happiness. It's very tempting to wallow in the dream of holiday memories, and feel blue about it, but I find I'm much happier thinking about all the wonderful things I've returned home to, so much more positive, and a lot easier to make that transition from holiday mode, to home and work mode.
So, I'm feeling great! We had a wonderful week in Greece, and now I'm home, I'm looking forward to showing you a few snaps from our time away.
Gosh! Where on earth to start?!
Well, the above photo shows the view from the terrace where we ate our breakfasts, some lunches, and most of our suppers. Not a bad view hey?!
The holiday we went on was a package with Neilson, and it was basically a sailing holiday, with a tiny bit of sight seeing. We'd not done this sort of holiday before, so hadn't a clue as to what to expect, that's why we only booked one week. Testing the waters, so-to-speak. We'll definately be going on one of Neilson's holidays again, it was superb. Lovely and friendly staff, great teaching, unlimited access to equipment, gorgeous pool, good food. Our experience with Neilson was so good, I'd definately recommend them without hesitation. One of the nice things was, although it was an activity holiday, we were assured that relaxing by the pool was a valid and guilt-free activity! I participated in the activity of relaxing by the pool quite a bit. Accompanied by my crochet, and some nice chats with fellow holiday makers, who were intrigued that I should be crocheting by the pool. I have to say, not only were all the staff a lovely bunch of people, but the other people on the holiday were really very nice too, and we all got along extremely well, without encroaching too much on each others space.
As I say, relaxing was considered an important activity, and I took it seriously, whiling away a few hours in the shade, by the pool, a pile of yarn on the table beside me, happily crocheting away. (My pile of wool was a great conversation starter).
I stuck to blues and greens for my crochet squares, it felt very natural, and satisfying, to be working in those colours, as I sat next to the gorgeous, sparkling, electric blues of the swimming pool.
I didn't spend the entire time glued to a chair, I did do some windsurfing. It had been about twenty years since I last hopped on a windsurfing board, but I re-discovered the fun. During the course of the week, I learnt to use a harness, do a beach start, and also went on the tandem board, called the Gemini. I'd never encountered a windsurfer where two people could stand, with two sails on the board. It was very fast, and fantastic fun. I was on the front sail, and my instructor, Paul, was on the back sail. And honestly, those things can go fast, fast, fast. I don't have a photo of me on it, but if you click here, you'll get the gist of what it's like in action.
The resort we stayed in was situated in Porto Heli, a three and a half hour bus journey South of Athens. The small town of Porto Heli isn't much to write home about, but there were islands we could access easily by boat, and they were very pretty.
My favourite of the two islands we managed to visit was Hydra.
Hydra was a small, bustling town, the streets paved with what looked like slabs of marble. It was very picturesque, and quaint. After a short walk to the viewpoint in the photo above, we had a delicious lunch of Greek salad and Calamari, sitting in an open air restaurant on the waterfront.
I practically lived on Greek salad for the whole week. Greek salads come with a slab of Feta cheese perched on the top of tomatoes, cucumber,raw onions and green peppers with a sprinkling of olives. The tomatoes were juicy red, like no tomatoes taste here at home. I could not get enough of those fresh, succulent salads, and in the heat, they were the perfect food.
I love it when eating healthily is so tasty!
After lunch, we wandered through the little back streets of the town. We didn't see many cars, I don't think they could drive easily through the narrow streets. There were carts parked all over the place, and we saw things being transported around the town in them, pushed by young men.
There's a recurring theme in all our journeys, whether at home in England, or abroad in a foreign country. Cafes and tea rooms. We always search out a charming place to sit and have a drink, and a nibble. The small back streets of Hydra had plenty of charming bars, but we skipped the modern style cafes, and sniffed out the two places we thought looked like the local's haunts, that is, the places with the toothless men eating and chatting. The bar in the photo above was our first stop.
Hugo said the man sitting on the table next to us, tucking into a slab of Feta cheese and Calamari, was missing most of his teeth. Lack of teeth in the punters has to be a good sign, don't you think?!
Matching blue painted doors has to be another charmingly good sign.
Those blue doors! I've never thought of myself as being a fan of blue, but this turquoise colour had me fixated, especially when contrasting with the intense hot red of the geraniums. I started to obsessed with the hot red and turquoise combination.
On most of the buildings around the town, there was this grey and white colour combination. The window frames on the houses were all painted in this lovely soft grey, which softened the bright white of the buildings, and took the edge off the bright sunlight.
Aren't those curtains pretty? The effect of these pretty white curtains, on the room they're shading, must be to diffuse the light, and create delicate patterns on the floor, I imagine it's lovely.......................
And here's an example of one of the many sleeping cats on Hydra. A little cat doorstop.
And those floor boards! Painted in the special soft grey we saw on the window frames, they're so elegant.
There were a lot of cats on hydra, and they all looked very slim.
One evening we took a water taxi ride to the island of Spetses. Very pretty it was too. We had a meal there, our only meal out of the week. Some of the restaurants had delicate displays of fish in their windows. It was this, and the fact that this restaurant's seating was on an area reaching out into the water, that swayed us to pick this restaurant, with it's blue check table cloths. More Greek salad and Calamari!
There was one thing we found strangely difficult to get accustomed to, the constant blue skies. Hugo would open the curtains of our room each morning, and exclaim, "another blue cloudless sunny day!" We're just not used to that at home, so we could never quite believe our luck at having yet another sun filled day.
This wasn't the restaurant we ate in, but it gives you an idea of how the seating area of the restaurants stick out into the sea.
Unusually for me, I didn't really do any shopping! Well, I did window shop, but I didn't buy anything, very unusual, I have to say.............. But then we didn't encounter a yarn shop! Things might have been different if we had!
I might have bought a pair of these slippers, if they had had the colour and pattern I liked, in my size. I found myself concluding that maybe I could crochet my own slippers, inspired by the sorbet colours.
We didn't see gardens full of flowers, but when we came across a flowering plant, the colours of the blooms were always stunningly bright. The intense sun does bleach out colour, so I suppose the flowers have to compensate for this by being bright. The flowers were like little fire crackers, just glorious!
Because we were staying in the same hotel for the entire week, our interaction with other people was fairly limited to Brits, rather than Greeks. A lot of our time was spent sailing, or relaxing by the pool, so on this holiday, we got to know very little about the Greek personality. The little we saw, they seemed like a very relaxed people, in very stark contrast to the British. Normally we like to go on a holiday where we try and integrate a little more, but it wasn't that sort of holiday, and the language barrier is enormous! We noticed that all the foreigners who weren't British, were speaking English to people, in restaurants and shops. So it seems that English is the Greek's second language, which made life that little bit easier in terms of communicating.
We appreciated this display of humor!
As a final salute to our week in Greece, I'm just going to drop some last photos into the mix of this post, to wind it up.............................
Aaaahhhh................. Sweet memories................... Happy memories! We left thinking we would love to do a similar holiday next year, for two weeks, rather than one. We can but dream and hope!
It is nice to be back, even though this week seems to have been manically busy. When I've had a free moment, I've been adding to this post, bit by bit. One thing that I'm desperate to do is catch up on all your blogs! I've missed visiting them!
So, today is Friday, just can't believe it! I'll get back to my five day a week posting habit on Monday. I've actually got loads of things to show you, I'm quite excited! Have a wonderful weekend my dear readers, and I look forward to seeing you again on Monday evening. Take care. Love Vanessa xxx