We had just finished up our fabulous week long visit in Paris and were heading for Greece. This is where Jim started to pipe up and show some real enthusiasm. Jim hadn't been back to the "mother country" in 15 years and he desperately needed to touch base lol.
Just a 2 hour flight and a 45min drive from the airport and we had arrived in the little coastal village of Fourka. The climate was gorgeous, not too hot, not too cold and definately no humidity. The first thing I noticed was all the "older" gentlemen sitting around at all the outdoor cafes in the early evening. I wondered "where are all the women?", then I spotted them all sitting around drinking and eating in someones front yard. I immediately got the sense of a very layed back and relaxed atmosphere. A place where time really wasn't an issue.
We stayed with Jim's parents in their home. It was a typically beautiful provincial style Grecian home, with white render, brown shutters, marble window sils and a black iron balcony. Jim's mum being your typical Greek villager loves living off the land so as you can imagine, there was every type of fruit and nut tree you could think of and fortunately for us everything was in season. It was like paradise. The back drop was spectacular as this town is tucked away 15 mins from the coast in a valley. Pine tree forests wrapped around as far as the eye could see and the smell was divine. Alot of people asked me if this area had been affected by the recent devastating fires but fortunately Fourka had been spared this time, and the fires were towards the south of Greece. Very sad nonetheless.
We spent a glorious 5 weeks in Greece and our days mostly consisted of hours of relaxing and tanning at the beach (It was such a relief to know that my kids could swim and play in the water all day and know that the possibility of drowning was very minimal considering there were no waves at all and also the fact I didn't have to worry about blue bottles or sharks! Unlike Australian beaches LOL). We also spent time bathing in a volcanic hot spring bath and going for mountain hikes through the forests.
Our nights were mostly spent at home with the kids but once a week we'd head down to Jim's cousins hotel for "Greek night" and us and the other tourists would learn some of the local dances as well as try to sing a few tunes karaoke style LOL.
During our time in Greece we did a couple of bus tours around the country. One was a basic tour of Thessaloniki, which is the second largest city in Greece. We saw sites like the great wall, the white tower, St Dimitrios basilica (my husbands name sake) and the archeological museum. As you can imagine all very interesting stuff! Our other bus tour took us on a 2 day journey to the south of Greece not far from Athens. This tour was amazing. Our first destination was the ancient city of Delphi. This city is home to the temples of Athena and Apollo and dates back 4000 years. Our other destination was the coastal city of Nafpaktos. We arrived on october 7th which is a significant date in their history as it was that date that the Spanish, Venetian and Genoese army's liberated the people from their Turk rulers. That evening there were huge celebrations with a re-enactment show and fireworks. It felt like new years eve. We had a blast!
Our time in Greece was happy, relaxing, educational, enlightening, ocassionally lonely (as homesickness started to kick in) but overall a time we'll cherish and remember forever.
Time to head home......via Germany and Hong Kong of course LOL......