When I hear someone say “holiday”, I immediately think of the Greek Islands. I imagine olive trees, random goats clambering about hillsides, the smell of lamb kleftico cooking in the oven and the warm feeling you get travelling right down to your toes from that first sip of raki.
This year’s two-week trip to Kos included all of the above. Not to mention the obligatory sugar-cube houses and blue-domed churches one treasures the sight of.
Kos has been on my radar for ten years – I was much younger then, and I’m not ashamed to say I was familiar with many of the nightspots in the lively tourist resort of Kardamena. Kos remained special to me, however, because it’s the island on which I met one of my best friends, and despite the fact that we are no longer those same, young twenty-somethings, we have remained close and I have always hankered to go back to Kos.
Tigaki was the ideal place for me to recharge my batteries, just the right amount of low-key buzz, and a blissfully, beautiful beach. This was a place that felt cosy to me, even though I had never been before. Perhaps it was the familiar comfort I get from staying somewhere family run; where you can see and sense the care that’s devoted to making you feel welcome. This is how the people of the Greek Islands are, and I love them for it.
These islands always gently persuade me to slow down; something the speed of daily life means I am not skilled in. There was no rush here in Tigaki. My hectic, home persona was soon lulled into submission by the rich smells of mouth-wateringly delicious Greek cooking on that first night. I emerged from the taverna table, warm with wine; my belly groaning because I’d forced down just a little too much (it seems such a sin not to finish heaven on a plate). I wasn’t ready for bed though; just open and ready to let whatever would be wash over me.
And what followed was day after day of complete and total tranquility.
I swirled around in the clear sea and watched the world go by with a Margarita in my hand.
I went wine tasting before lunch (I was on holiday!) and I boiled my work-weary bones in the sulphuric sedative that was the Thermal Spring.
I relished reading novel after novel and I felt my heart strings being tugged at as I noticed a little girl attempt to empty a swimming pool with a plastic bucket in her dedicated effort to water a large plant!
I simply had a wonderful time.
The boat trip we took to Kalymnos and Pserimos was my favourite day of our trip (ignoring an episode of sea-sick husband drama!). Kalymnos looked like the epitome of perfect, picture-postcard Greece as we drifted into it’s harbour. If only we could have spent more time there; that one, single beer I drank overlooking the waterfront tasted better than any other I had in the entire two weeks.
When we sailed on to Pserimos, it was quite simply a revelation to me. Tiny houses nestled on the sand, clean washing blowing on the balconies in the sea breeze, and just a handful of tempting tavernas lining the waters edge. If I could ever be granted my wish of a holiday home in Greece, I am convinced this is where it would be. I admit it’s hard for me to pass judgement having never visited anywhere like the Maldives or the Seychelles, but I am almost certain I would say that Pserimos is my paradise.
From a practical point of view, I feel I should offer a recommendation to Theokritos Travel, particularly to Louise. I like to “steer” away from driving on holiday (I do enough of that at home) and the varied tours on offer were incredibly useful. The bus trips helped me to feel like I wasn’t part of an organised herd; that I had some travel independence without going completely solo. And although leaving the haven of Tigaki was hard as I became more and more attached to it, discovering a bit more of Kos was a treat. It’s just a shame that the olive oil factory we visited was not in production at that time of year. In many ways I’d love to go back in October to see it in action!
Culturally, there’s a lot Kos has to offer. I am just sorry I didn’t get the chance to soak up as much of it as I would have liked. There is a good deal of history associated with the island that is Hippocrates birth place, so next time I visit, I hope I can get to taste a bit more. And although I may not have come back with a tan (my complexion is just a bit too English Rose), I came back with plenty of memories.
From strolling through the winding streets of Zia, to drinking the water from the natural spring of Pyli. From waving “Kalimera” to the locals each day as I strolled to the bakery in the morning sunshine, to dragging my contented feet up to bed after one too many Mythos beers. Greece, I miss you already. But there’s always next year…