A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

The most laid-back place I have ever been...

Well I don't know where to begin really. Andy and I had such a relaxing, wonderful holiday together. 10 days of easy living, where the hardest decision was figuring out what beach to go to or what taverna to eat at.

We met some of the most beautiful, kind people: A fantastic lady called Dessy (not her correct Greek name) who could speak fluid English, and her mother (who couldn't speak a word of English). They invited us to their home in the hills over-looking the sea a few days later where Dessy's mom had cooked us a marvelous meal that lasted from 2:00 until 5:30 in the evening. It was so extraordinary to be in the company of an authentic Greek family, where not everyone could speak English, but amazingly enough we all managed to communicate. The food was out of this world - we were all joking of how many mints we would have to take to the wedding due to all the garlic we had consumed.

We met a lovely German woman called Petra and her Greek husband, and two beautiful children. They ran one of the cocktail/ice-cream bars on the main road in Aegina Marina, where we were staying. Petra was so excited for me to come back to the Island after the wedding to tell her all about it and show her the photos.

And of course the there was Silva, the young Greek lad who met us so cheerfully every night at our favourite cocktail bar... he was so eager to bring us a variety of fancy drinks garnished with fruits and fancy umbrellas. He had the barman make us a fantastic, nearly all alcohol drink in a pineapple that cost £25 Euros, but then gave us the second one for nothing. The Mexicana is still my favourite though - bring on the tequila. Needless to say we walked away from the taverna on many a night more than a little lopsided.

On the Sunday we made our way into Athens, where the original plan was to then remain on the mainland, and enjoy the sights and beaches of Athens. We had to change our plans though as the city was over-whelmingly hot and smoggy and with my bronchitis and Asthma acting up, we thought it was best to head back to the Island. It was an idea we had discussed before even leaving the Island anyway, as we had fallen in love with it.

The wedding itself was one of the most amazing events I have ever witnessed. It was so rewarding to see how the Greek Orthodox tie the knot, from the arrival of the bride to the Reception. Add to the fact that the reception was a mix of Greek and Irish, well it was definitely something to behold. I honestly don't remember ever seeing a more pretty bride (I'm sure I say this everytime, lol), but seriously, Sophia was an absolute vision, and Paul cut a handsome figure in an all-white suit, which is what the groom wears according to Greek tradition.

The reception itself was so much fun, and again the food was amazing. The party was full of laughter due to the antics of my fantastically comical pal Jane. Jane, Anna and myself joined in one of the greek dances, only to go back to the table where more comedic sessions were in play. It was such a great opportunity to have some good fun with the group I used to work with.

During the times we weren't on the beach, we rented a jeep, or on two occasions, a quad bike and toured around the Island, which was a lot of fun. We found a few good beaches and scenic viewpoints. It was too hot to trek up to the temple ruins on the mountain above our village so we took the quad up mid-morning one day. It was a sight worth seeing, as well as providing a spectacular view of both sides of the Island.

Sophia and Paul came over to the island on Tuesday with most of the Irish contingent and a few friends from work. We met up with them at lunch time and caught up with what everyone had been up to since the wedding, before heading back to our little cove for some more snorkeling and sun-bathing. God, it was hard work.

The only disparaging moments on the trip were when we came across animals that have been abandoned. Once it was a group of four little kittens on the side of a mountain road, that I had a hard time leaving behind, but honestly, what could we do? The other was realizing that Athens has a big problem with stray dogs. I was told that they run in packs similar to wolves, foraging for food and protecting one another. Apparently they won't harm people, but have distanced themselves from humans. I actually caught sight of one of these packs from the tram, on the way back to the port to catch the ferry back to Aegina. They were laid on the sidewalk near a park, just sleeping.

On a more positive note, its not all like this and most animals are well looked after. We loved how there were a number of dogs and cats in Aegina Marina just lazing about while their owners worked in the various shops/tavernas. We got to know quite a few and I could even communicate with a few as I'd learned a few words in Greek. In Aegina Town there were a number of horse drawn carriages and there was one, that when taking sight-seekers through town, had a cute little lab running ahead of the carriage, showing the driver the way. Mostly everyone seems to drive with care so I hope no harm ever comes to the little fellow.

I think its going to take me a little while to get over being back, as the life-style out there is so relaxing and fulfilling. I could easily see myself living on that Island, its like taking a step back in time, where everything is less complicated. The island is far enough from the city of Athens to feel like a world away, yet you only have a short ferry ride back into the city for anything you might be missing in regard to culture and entertainment; And absolutely everyone is so friendly and warm, but most importantly, the children seem so happy.

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