Friday, 10 May 2013
Drinking Mojitos in Skopleos.
Going anywhere nice this year? I'll often ask people.
Sometimes they tell me that they have decided to holiday in the UK this summer.
I always answer diplomatically, 'that sounds lovely!'
But really, secretly I'm thinking 'oh you poor things!'
Don't get me wrong, there's some fantastic places to visit in our fair isle, and not everyone can afford to go abroad.
And yet, there is nowhere that can compare to somewhere like the Greek island of Skopelos. Firstly, you have guaranteed gorgeous sunny weather the whole summer long. This means you can sit outside until all hours in shorts and t-shirts. Now I know not everyone likes it hot, but it's so nice to have the choice to be out. When it rains, as it so often does in summer in Britain, it spoils everything. You just cannot sit outside and enjoy it. Even if we have a sunny day, it's often cooler in the evening. I love being out in bare feet, it immediately feels like a proper holiday, and the weight is lifted off your shoulders along with your coat.
Wearing less clothes means that you just feel more relaxed, that's why I think Brits often think of our continental cousins as lazy, it's just too hot to be overly industrious.
So we caught the ferry over from Skiathos to Skopelos, and drove south to Panormos bay. It was beautiful and green, the whole island seemed to be about 90% pine trees, my very favourite sort of landscape.
It was just so unspoilt and so very Greek. All you could hear was the sound of the crickets and the distant tinkle of goat bells. After checking into our hotel, The Panormos Beach hotel, surrounded by rugged farm land and goats, we walked down to the long curved pebble beach. The water was the clearest I think I've ever seen, it was like a sea of the purest mineral water. Floating in it, you could see right down to the pebbles at the bottom however deep you swam out. And the sky was like crystals, it was just so sharp; the very essence of blue.
Later we sat drinking mojitos on sun loungers as the sun was going down. A cocktail has never tasted so sweet. I just sat thinking of absolutely nothing at all, just looking around me, amazed at the clarity of it all.
In the evening we ate a wonderful inexpensive meal on the beach with our feet on the still hot pebbles. Simple Greek food at its very best; moussaka and saganaki. This is how holidays should be and can be. Not huddled, sheltering from the rain in a damp tent. (We should know, we've done this a few times ourselves).
So I'm afraid you know what you can do with your 'stay-cation', we're going to the Mediterranean this year.
* If you are holidaying in Britain this year apologies, you have my commiserations.
I'm sure it'll be really lovely (like all the recent previous summers have proved to be).