Where does the time go? We're at the end of our second day and I'm struggling to find time to write to you all. I have a couple of minutes whilst Vera's nails dry, then we're off to Salt and Pepper.
Or is it our first day because we were travelling yesterday?
So, an uneventful flight, departed from Birmingham pretty much on time - I have a suspicion the flight time is actually the time for boarding as each week I've watched our flight on Flightradar24 it has never taken off until 7:30, some 20 minutes "late". We landed at 12:30, 10 minutes earlier than timetabled. Goodness, the apron extension is enormous. I hate to think how busy it will become if all that space comes to be used. We were somewhat delayed at the airport because there were hardly any coaches - apparently, the Luton flight had arrived late, so they had pinched all the coaches and we had to wait for them.
I was horrified to see the queues of departing visitors - scenes which reminded us of the horror of Corfu airport departures where they queue all the departing flights outside in the screaming sunshine. Not a happy ending to a holiday.
And so we were on the transfer coach. I was so glad we weren't at some of the places/accommodations we dropped off at on the way. All people whose cases were on the trucks, so they were "off road" destinations. The first I noted was Kanapitsa, where the folk were booted off the coach at bus stop 12, pointed in the general direction and told to start walking. Not my preference! At a later stop, the coach was unable to stop on the main road outside the villas, so they were dropped off at least 400 metres away.
And so to Villa Maria in Troulos, where we were greeted at the gate by Angela and Stamatia, then inside our room, a club sandwich and a frappé for Vera and two bottles of Mythos in the fridge for me - I am ashamed to admit I drank them both in not a lot of gulps!
Unpack, then off to the nearest supermarket for our self catering supplies. And back to the villa for an afternoon swim, the first of my programmed dips. i\ have to say it was quite big girl's blouse, but eventually I got myself submerged to my neck.
We ate at Varelli's taverna, where we received a lovely welcome and Vera handed over the chocolate orange cake she had made for them. We s aid that due to the all day snacking we had been into since 2am English time, we needed to have only a light meal. We decided on a Greek salad and tsatsiki. That was just right and we decided to indulge in an ice cream with two spoons - chose three scoops, vanilla, strawberry and chocolate and he asked what liquor we'd like, whisky or fruit, \\i decided fruit and he started listing various fruits, but one of the first was cointreau which just happens to be my favourite so I opted for that. Vera doesn't drink alcohol these days, so as soon as she hit the first layer of cointreau, she gave up and left the rest to me. So, tsatsiki, Greek salad, a litre of water, an Amstel and an ice cream cost us €19.
Then off to bed by 8pm to recover from the 2am start for Birmingham airport.
We woke early, as usual, 6am. Tea/coffee and breakfast, then at 7:30, off to the beach. Everything looks just as we remember it down the footpath through the field at Byzantium Studios and past Sunrise Taverna and Astoria. Except - the goat and chicken man has become a veg man, his last year chicken pen converted on the basis of lots of chicken manure into a veritable forest of your five a day. And the derelict Chinese restaurant has arisen from the depths. We decided we shall give it a try some time.
We reached the beach by 8am. Vera got straight in, but I found it wasn't just big girl's blouse, it was double big girl's blouse, so my own entry was rather long in coming to pass. Eventually I got there and it was actually glorious once my goose pimples subsided. There were no shoals of fleeing little fishes, but I suppose they'll come another day. We swam for almost an hour.
Back at our villa, we both showered off the salt and I had my shave. Then off to town. One of the same conductors welcomed us onto the bus and the fare to town was the same 2 Euros.
Up at Pan jewellers above the old harbour, we handed over Vera's ring and bracelet for repairs (ready in about a week), then into Papadiamantis for a Gyros at the place we like. I have no idea of its name, just one of many. Vera always enjoys chatting to anybody and did so happily with a pair of Russian women who no doubt didn't understand a word, but her laughter is so infections, the three of them fell about laughing uproariously.
Next, the shoe shop, where Vera found exactly what she wanted (with a great deal of helpful advice from me), but I couldn't get what I wanted - some plastic sandals for the walk to the beach. And so onward to the dress shop, where Vera got exactly what she wanted and I didn't (my preferences for dresses are far too sophisticated to be met by a tourist shop).
And so off to the Bourtzi for a beer, frappe and a toast - it's not just toast, it's toasted sandwich with filling of cheese and ham. I chose the broken chair again.
Home to the villa for the afternoon swim. Then shower and off to Salt and Pepper. Naturally, we were recognised. I know this is part of the skill set of the maitre d' and waiters, but they do it so convincingly that we are always impressed. Sea bass and two Amstels for me, kalamari and water for Vera. A complimentary ice cream. Total €28. We didn't see Goldie Hawn.
Great reading - we are staying at Villa Maria on 3rd July for a couple of weeks so any info about it and the surrounding area would be great. We've previously stayed in Megali Amos area.
First thing to say about Villa Maria is the hostess Angela is terrific. She speaks good English and is keen to do everything right for guests.
Cleanliness is a total religion here and the place is spotless. The pool is the usual small one, but good enough to off and enough sunbeds for all guests. Pool bar is a small place, usually run by Nikos, Angela's son and his prices are cheap enough - beer 2.50. OK, so you don't want junk food, but his cheeseburger tastes great, I had one today. And he brought it to our room (we're on the ground floor, so he can hand it up over our balcony rail). He sells water too, so no need to break your back carrying a pack of six bottles from the supermarket.
Location is good. About 200 yards from bus stop 18, on a flat road, none of your mountaineering or dark tracks needing a torch. There are three supermarkets at the end of the road, ideal for calling in when you get off the bus from town. We currently have four favourite restaurants all within 10 minutes stroll:-
Salt and Pepper - back on the main road about 200 yards from Bus Stop 18, some people think it's posh and expensive, but we love it. The staff are attentive, but you never notice it. The food is of course, excellent. Supposedly Goldie Hawn is a regular, but we've never seen her.
Varelli - at the end of our road has Rosemary, a lovely lady and her family. Excellent food and service.
Ratatouille - another 100 yards along our road.
Sunrise - furthest away, maybe 12 minutes along the footpath towards the beach. The footpath goes off our road opposite Christakis Sports Bar and Patitiri supermarket, through a small gate held closed by a piece of string! That's also our route to the beach each dawn.
We are something like 25 minutes gentle stroll from the beach down the above mentioned path. Again, flat, no mountaineering, but of course, a footpath so it's not the best surface.
Troulos is about halfway between town and Koukounaries, but I suppose you are already aware that the island is small, so nowhere is far from anywhere. Buses are frequent, the only possible problem in high season is they can get quite full. Villa Maria is on the road which branches off at BS 18, which also leads to the northern beaches and the dog shelter.
Anything else, please ask and I'll see what I can help with.
Sunday 21st June. 8am sea swim again this morning. It was very big girl's blouse, but I was a little braver today. There were just a few fleeing fishes and the sea had the odd patch of slight warmth too. The lady who held out her hand to stop me toppling over backwards into the sea as I struggled to get out yesterday stopped and had a long chat with us. Romanian doctor who said she speaks better French than English, but I said if her French is better than her English I would be at a complete loss with my own French. Fortunately she didn't put me to the test!
We went into town again on the bus at about 11am. An English couple ALMOST jumped the queue to get on, but I made myself fatter than normal. We did some serious shopping today and Vera claims she has got everything, but I rather fancy that may be a bit premature. The olive shop is a true magnet, not just wooden stuff, but a complete Aladdin's cave of everything you can think of.
Down at the Old Harbour, we booked for the day trip on Ayios Nikolaos for Thursday, with Victoria doing the commentary. Assemble to board at 9:15am, so we shall not be able to have our early morning swim that day - that'll be my excuse if I fail to hit the target of losing half a stone on holiday.
Again, up to the Bourtzi for a drink and a relaxing seat. That place is one of our favourites, so calm, peaceful, stress-free. The sea was an incredible blue reflecting the sky and the green trees all around set it off beautifully.
Back to Villa Maria for an afternoon dip in the pool. Then off to Sunrise Taverna where we had the most delicious and big lamb shanks. Tsatsiki starter which comes with hot flatbreads, two small waters and a beer, €34.50. They gave us a complimentary sweet, a small sort of milk jelly with brown glop drizzle, very tasty.
Yes. Vera says they called it something like pannacotta, but I thought that was cake stuff? The brown glop was sort of jiggled zigzaggy across the top - y'know, artistic like! I didn't mind, it was tasty.
We have woken up this morning to another blow to my slimming plans. I can't see any puddles or devastation, but Vera thinks it rained in the night and it certainly looks proper gloomy right now - when I woke during the night it certainly sounded wild and it is forecast for today. So the beach is off this morning. I guess that's another half a pound not shed. Ah well, I'll use the opportunity to make it a leisurely breakfast instead of dashing it down to get started on the walk to the beach. Maybe I'll spend a little time seeing how well I manage with photos (we haven't taken any worthwhile ones yet, already have the usual ones in last year's album).
If it's any consolation, it is raining here again today, third day. At weekend it cleared up late afternoon and had a little sun. Don't know what will happen today though. I am sure it is warmer there than it is here. I suppose you could always visit the town hall and ask about the webcam! :-) Enjoy, looking forward to your next installment.
We decided that we were not to be put off by the weather. It was doing gentle English drizzle, so we donned our trusty pacamacs and flopped to the bus stop. Two unfortunate visitors were just leaving, heading back to their rooms, as the 9am Sunshine Island Tour had been cancelled. We decided that whichever bus came first we would board - we favoured a pensioner's trip to Koukounaries, stay on the bus without getting off and take the return journey to town. However, the rain turned to English rain, then Greek rain, so we gave in to Big Girl's Blouse, ran into the supermaket to browse in the dry, then as it didn't get any better, decided to go back. It is now desperately trying to brighten up in order to tempt us into getting another set of clothes soaked. We are simply hoping to persuade the cleaner not to bother with our room today - not because we're kindly souls, just so that we don't have to get out!
Here's a Before (yesterday) and After (view from supermarket to bus stop 18 - look closely to see rain splashes, less difficult to spot the muddy stream running down the road).