bloke moves to france with confused partner and two barking-mad terriers
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Apparently I reach retirement age in August (thought I'd retired years ago). To celebrate this milestone, Georgie suggested I book a week's holiday for us both anywhere I fancied. Having not had a holiday in years (some would say I'm on permanent holiday), I didn't really know where to begin. Some time ago Georgie mentioned something about renting a boat and cruising along the mid-France canals, which sounded rather fun. However, when 'holidays' are mentioned I immediately think of the seaside, not mid-France. So I started searching seaside hols on the web.
Years ago, we'd visited Cephalonia (or Kefalonia? - seems to be spelt differently every time I look) before that film 'Wotsisname's Mandolin' made it famous and we'd had a rather jolly time. While we were there I wanted to visit the neighbouring, and relatively unknown, isle of Ithaca but didn't quite make it. Ran out of time, as usual. So I put it at the top of my list. Checked a few websites and found a number of relatively cheap rate, self-catering villas and then checked availability. All fully booked. I keep forgetting that my birthday falls in the peak holiday period. Eventually ruled it out. Beautiful, lazy and devoid of discos as it undoubtedly is, Ithaca didn't really grab me. Don't know why. Maybe it was because I didn't manage to get there all that time ago so imagined it to be a far more wonderful place than it really is. Ho hum.
Then checked Formentera, a small island off Ibiza that we'd visited decades ago. Same result. Nowt cheapish available. Seems Formentera has now been 'discovered' by the jet-set and prices have risen accordingly. Also, I imagine the wonderful Mitjorn beach (which I remember as being almost bereft of hotels and crowds) gets a bit overcrowded in high summer. Anyway, I had this holiday vision of pottering a tiny rented boat into a sheltered bay with an almost deserted beach that wasn't accessible by foot or car, which, again, ruled out Formentera. Great shame. Maybe 'hippy-type' places (which Formentera certainly was) no longer exist.
Next, Paxos. We'd been there years ago and, ideally, I wanted to go somewhere new but I thought I'd check it out anyway. Last time, we'd stayed just outside Gaios (now seems a lot more popular and pricey), so this time I searched around Loggos, a quieter village further up the coast. Found a cheapish villa in the hills overlooking Loggos bay, described as being 'quaint' and 'simple'. Sounded ideal. Then checked availability, fully expecting it, like most of the others I'd searched, to be fully booked throughout August. Was amazed to discover that the one remaining unbooked week was the very one I wanted. Booked it immediately. Then the flights etc.
Am now looking forward to a bit of swimming and snorkeling followed by a few leisurely beers in Loggos bay while idly watching boats bobbing in the picturesque harbour. And... renting a little boat and pootling off to Anti Paxos (a tiny island south of Paxos) for a few dips in the crystal-clear, turquoise sea that gently laps onto the pure white sand of Vrika beach. Sheer heaven. But hell if the crowds are there.
Bohemian hermit recluse hiding in the mist-shrouded hills and backwoods of central France; went to art school in the mid-Sixties and never really left; masochistic supporter of Aldershotnil FC; fascinated by the mystery of disappearing odd socks; follically, cosmetically and vertically challenged but horizontally unchallenged, otherwise perfect (it says here); probably one of the luckiest geezers in the whole wide world.