Here’s my first blog from Greece where the pair of us are doing our best to kick back and enjoy a holiday whilst trying to take a break and ignore as much as possible the political and economic madness of the UK (and the rest of the world). To that end we’ve even booked a hotel where we don’t have wifi in the room so that we’re not tempted to be constantly checking t’internet and have a bit of a media detox – hence my lack of blogging. I’ve even had days out where the camera’s stayed at home. Lordy!
We’re staying at a little place called Lardos in the South-East coast of Rhodes. It’s unheard of for us but we’re actually on a package holiday, staying in the same place for a fortnight for the simple reason that this really is meant to be a holiday. Chance to relax, have a base from which we can explore – or just sit by the pool and sun ourselves. The area we’re staying in is a satellite development of the original village. It’s by the beach whilst the old town is inland. Again, it’s not where we’d normally stay but we’ve a great little hotel. (the Cosmos Maris) and the village is only a 25 minute walk away. We pop up there most days for a coffee in a great little local café which is an ideal place to sit and people watch as it’s on the edge of the town square and frequented by many locals, unlike the nearby tourist orientated restaurants, where people (mostly, but not exclusively Brits) are swilling beer and cocktails by 11:00. Instead, we sit with a cup of java (in my case Greek coffee) and watch the world go by. There’s normally a handful of old boys who turn up on their scooters and sit for hours chatting, occasionally swapping hello’s with some of the Greek grannies who regularly pass by to/from the local supermarkets. It’s quite funny to watch as many of the old dears are using prams as shopping trollies! The first time I saw it I did a double take. You don’t expect to see a silver-haired, black-clad, headscarf-wearing Greek granny to be pushing a buggy!
As well as tourist restaurants the village possesses a couple of local Greek tavernas, one of which does a roaring trade as a local-take out. The menu’s good and the prices are very reasonable. It’s run by a couple who must be in their 70s, so don’t expect fast service early-doors until the younger staff arrive!
We’ve been here a few days now and established somewhat of a routine, splitting our time between exploring and relaxing. Yesterday we walked East along the coast from Lardos to nearby Pefkos, which is a much larger version of a tourist town. You can tell the fact most visitors are English by the fact restaurants are advertising English breakfasts (complete with black pudding) and Yorkshire tea. Despite the fact it’s almost the end of season the main beach was packed. We didn’t linger, just stopped long enough to have a coffee and a snack at a place overlooking the beach, then continued walking up into the hills along the coast. I’d realised that the classic Hollywood war film ‘The Guns of Naverone’ was filmed nearby. In fact, the bay where it was filmed is now officially known as ‘Naverone beach’. It’s all cobblers of course. Alistair McLean, who wrote the novel invented ‘Naverone’ and a whole chain of fictitious islands for the plot of his yarn, but as this is where the film was made the name’s been adopted.
It’s quite a walk up into the hills above Pefkos to get to the viewpoint, the last mile is on an unmade road that’s little more than a dirt track, but when you get there, the views across both bays are wonderful and there’s a handy tree for shade whilst you take in the sights. But bring your own water and food as you won’t find anything after leaving Pefkos. The trek isn’t that popular. We were the only ones there and we didn’t pass anyone else either, but that made it part of the fun as we were well off the tourist trail.
On the way back we passed a local taverna on the edge of Pefki where we stopped for a well-earned beer. Dawn was tempted by their Baklava and ice-cream, so we shared a portion, which was gorgeous. I don’t know if it was home-made, but it was far superior to what you can buy in the supermarkets.
Our spirits restored we decided to walk all the way home but stopped off at a little bar en-route and the smaller Plakia beach on the edge of town, where there’s the Blue Waves ‘cantina’ which is a little shack with a few shady tables set back from the beach. It serves the locally made Magnus Magister beer on draft which was a bonus for me!
By the time we got home, sweaty but happy – we’d covered over 11.6 miles. Not everybody’s idea of a relaxing holiday, admittedly – but we enjoyed it!
Over the next few days, we’ll be taking local buses to visit Lindos and Rhodes town which we’re both really looking forward to. The island’s got a fascinating history which we’re keen to learn more of. Don’t expect a blog every day, but there will be more updates – and pictures.
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