Getting off to a Great Start in Greece!

Trip Start Jun 28, 2012
Trip End Oct 10, 2012

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Where I stayed
Nikos Apartmnets

Flag of Greece  , Epirus,
Friday, June 29, 2012

We had a wonderful (if absolutely manic!) fortnight back in Scotland - it was so good to be back in such a clean, organised country for a change! And of course it was amazing to catch-up with all our fantastic friends and family, enjoy all the food we’d missed and take great pleasure in the small things like gorgeous Scottish water straight from the tap and not having to bargain for every purchase we made! The only thing that let us down was the weather - we thought it was supposed to be summer!! 

So we were sad to be heading off again all too soon, but we were also so excited about getting to Greece - and hopefully some sunshine! The journey there was typical Scotland - we had to stand in the pouring rain with all our bags for half an hour at 2.30am waiting to get on the bus to the airport (which was at the stop) because (according to the clearly-couldn’t-be-bothered bus driver) ‘the police would come’ if he let us or our bags on - obviously they’ve nothing better to do! The weather through in Prestwick was even more miserable than in Edinburgh, and we couldn’t believe the over-officious staff at the airport; I had all my ‘liquids’ bagged up ready to go through security, but because they weren’t ‘regulation size’ I had to buy some of their special security freezer bags - at a rip-off £1 for 4 - which were about a centimetre smaller than the ones I used - what difference that would make I have no idea, apart from lining their pockets! But thankfully there were no delays with our Ryanair flight to Corfu, and for the first time ever we both conked-out before we’d even taken off - I think the previous couple weeks (and year-round-the-world!) had finally caught up with us!

We’d decided to spend the night in Corfu town before heading over to the mainland the next day, especially because it was where we’d spent our first holiday together 12 years before! We checked into the friendly Hotel Europe (35euros), which was in great location for us right next to the harbour and only a few minutes walk into the old town, which was even more beautiful than we remembered. We spent the evening wandering about the quaint cobbled streets and treated ourselves to some superb Greek cuisine at the lovely Taverna Pergola, then grabbed a few Mythos beers to take back to our room to drink while watching the European Championships!

The boat over to Igoumenista (7euros) the next day was an experience in itself - a gorgeous big ship with stunning views for the whole 2 hour journey - Barry tucked himself away in the swish air-con lounge while I sunned myself on deck, just taking the amazing scenery in. Alex came to pick us up from the harbour, and it was great to see her again after so long - she was looking so well! We took a quick trolley dash round the local Lidl’s to get ourselves stocked up before the beautiful one hour drive down the coast. We couldn’t believe our eyes as we came into Parga - it was even more beautiful than the pictures!

Alex dropped us at our apartment - we weren’t really sure what to expect, but we’re delighted with it! It’s in the perfect spot - only a couple of minutes into the centre (and about five to my work!), but so peaceful and quiet! It’s also lovely and cool, with simple décor and marble floors, and has a huge bathroom (with a great shower!), a compact but totally functional kitchen and loads of storage space. The only thing that is a bit of a mixed blessing is our ‘living room’, a lovely outside terrace - amazing for us, but not so handy if anyone wants to come for a visit - but thankfully there are loads of great, cheap places near-by, including the other rooms in our building.
So once we got ourselves unpacked and settled in, we couldn’t resist taking a good walk around the town we’d be spending the next few months! We were blown away with how quaint and pretty it is - small winding streets lined with traditional buildings, a stunning sea-front and even a gorgeous castle perched on the hill overlooking the town. There’s also loads of lovely little shops, and absolutely heaps of fantastic-looking places to eat and drink - from old-fashioned tavernas to classy restaurants, cute cafes and funky bars - it’ll take us our whole time here to work our way around them all!
But we decided to head back for dinner at our place - we couldn’t wait to christen our kitchen and use all the fantastic local produce we’d loaded up with earlier! So we rustled up a simple but delicious meal, which we enjoyed on the terrace under the shade of our lemon trees. It was so nice just to be able to potter about in our own space - a real novelty after months on the move!

The next morning, we decided to make the most of our time before we both started work, so we felt it was only right to have a day on the beach - the only question was ‘what one‘?! there are literally hundreds of them dotted right up and down the surrounding coastline, but we opted for Lichnos beach, a pleasant hour’s walk from Parga. It was absolutely beautiful, and the water was unbelievably clear - it could rival many of the beaches we’ve seen on our travels! So we had a great day just soaking up the sun and enjoying our new Kindles - which we’re both totally in love with - thanks again Gayle and Mum!!

Alex took us out that evening for our first Saturday night on the town. We started off in Maistros Retaurant, where she treated us to an unforgettable meal, then we headed up to the castle which was holding a Latin music night. It’s a great spot for a few drinks with amazing views over Parga, and we got to meet a few of  her lovely mates. Afterwards, we had a few more drinks at Sail-In, then finished the evening in Veranda, the local nightclub - altogether a perfect night out!

Barry spent the next day recovering, while I popped into the salon for a bit of training with Alex. It was so exciting to see where I would be working for the next wee while, and it was even nicer that I’d imagined. Alex has done such a brilliant job with every aspect of it - the rooms are beautifully done out and the products and equipment are top-class - I could tell straight away that I’d be happy there! And to top it off it’s fully air-conned - who could ask for more?! 

I spent the evening with Alex and her adorable daughter Lily (who‘s just turned 2), on one of the beaches about 30 minutes drive along the coast (Barry was still felling a bit too rough!). We had a great time just splashing about in the water and building sandcastles - which I think I got into even more that Lily! Barry was feeling a bit more human by the time I got back, so we settled down to another fantastic al-fresco meal outside our little home - a wonderful first weekend!

Our first full week has passed by in a bit of a blur - I hadn’t expected to be so busy in the salon straight away, but it was so rammed I ended up working non-stop every day - which was fantastic! It’s been a big learning curve trying to get used to where everything is, how Alex likes the treatments done and finding out about all the new treatments and products, but over-all (as far as I know!) every client has walked out the salon delighted - I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed my work! But even though I’ve been working hard, Barry and I have still managed to do some nice things together before and after my shifts - we’ve taken a couple of trips to the beach in the mornings, stocked up on the amazing (and cheap!) local produce at the market (on on Mondays and Fridays), and we’ve found the best bakery for our bread, the  place that sells the home-grown rocket - so different to a Tescos weekly shop! And most evenings have been spent chilling out under our lemon tree. 

Barry’s still waiting to start work - the really busy season doesn’t kick in for another week or two yet (although it‘s seemed really busy to us already, which is great), and most places have seemed a bit nervous about taking someone on until they’re really needing it, but it’s not been a problem. He’s been pottering about getting the apartment sorted and tying up loose ends from our travels - and of course racing his way through the book collection on his Kindle whilst working on his tan - alright for some, eh?! But he’s been a wee star keeping on top of the housework and having dinner ready for me finishing work - so it’s worked out well for me too!

We had planned to have quite a chilled weekend after our busy week, but in turned into a bit of a boozy one! We decided to treat ourselves to a wee pizza at Gemini Restaurant on the sea-front (after half the clients I’d had in had recommended it!), and the food was just as good as I’d been told - but the extra bonus was that Barry ended up getting offered a job, which he starts this week! So we headed for a celebratory drink at Island, which is run by fellow-Scot Sarah (who knows Alex from her time in Edinburgh and has been here for 14 years!)and her Greek husband - and they are both absolute stars, and great company! So one drink turned into two, then we grabbed one of the massive bottles of local wine on our way home and before we knew it we were absolutely blotto!

But we managed to make our way to Valtos beach the following morning for a refreshing dip in the sea and a chill in the (increasingly hot!) sun, before making our way back to Island to watch the Wimbledon final. Neither of us are normally that into tennis, but we were so proud to watch Andy Murray up against Roger Federer, and even though he didn’t win it was a great game - I even got a bit emotional when he broke down at the end! But we were a bit tiddly again by the time we left - the ice-cold Mythos draught is too appealing to resist! And it was great having a brilliant chat with Sarah - we both feel like we’ve made a new friend already!

So we’ve really had a fantastic start to our stay in Greece - there is something a little nerve-wracking about upping sticks and moving to a new country, even after all the travelling we’ve done. But it’s really helped that we’ve been given so much support by Alex and her wonderful Mum Gail, who’ve been so generous and thoughtful and have really helped us settle-in. And of course it doesn’t hurt that the weather’s been fantastic - there is something so therapeutic about waking up every morning to blue skies and being able to sit out every evening in the warm breeze - even if it does get a bit scorching in the middle of the day! The way of life is much more relaxed, and thankfully the problems that the country are facing at the moment don’t really seem have affected where we are. And the food’s been amazing - we’re practically living on salads and fruit because it’s just so good! So although we’re here to work and it’s certainly not a holiday, the lifestyle’s just so enjoyable and it’s definitely agreeing with us so far…….

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