This is a cheat post, I’m afraid, much of it lifted from an email I’ve just written Llew’s parents… I’ve spent my free time on housework today and now in the time remaining must turn my attention to some administrative matters that badly need attention… BLECH. If I had a housekeeper, a secretary and a nanny my writing would be in much better shape. Back in the day, Virginia Woolf thought we needed just 500 quid a year to make a go of this writing business – today I would add a few zeros and a staff of 3 just to really live the dream.
So… let the cheating begin…
A little update while Llew and the Touring Toddler are running our rental car back to the airport and there’s finally a moment’s silence and stillness here. Otherwise the TT is pretty well in a state of perpetual motion, which is wonderful, of course, but also exhausting (perhaps especially since I am a creature of solitary and silent pursuits) – he is definitely destined for an extremely active life.
We said goodbye to J yesterday, whose visit was great as well as full of misadventure – we have a story-a-day from his very brief time here. The second day was definitely the most serious (see previous post). All’s well that ends well, but my goodness he gave us a fright. He also scored a sea urchin in the foot and left his iPhone behind – no wonder he usually never leaves home!
After dropping J at the airport we continued on yesterday and ended up having the most spectacular drive up and around Mt. Pelion and then down onto the Aegean side. WOW – jaw-dropping scenery and quite a hair-raising drive around some of those bends. Looming, sheer cliff faces were the order of the day; there was a big tour bus up ahead of us groaning around those hairpins and I just thought, “Not on your life” – never have I been so glad to be in a tiny car!! I had nasty flashbacks of a terrifying bus ride in New Zealand in 1994 when we very really plummeted into a ravine.
Well, what can I say, yesterday’s water was like nothing I’d at least been in before. The clarity was astonishing. And that piercing cerulean blue – unbelievable. And look, I don’t love the pebbles – these are really, really uncomfortable underfoot for folk from sandy Sydney – even Llew had to resort to THONGS ON THE BEACH, horror of all horrors, so you can imagine how desperate things must have been. My biggest concern about them was that I could hardly get myself in and out of the water, what with all the slipping, sliding and swearing, let alone having to help our huge and heavy young man out too – who was of course completely unperturbed by the stones and found the huge drop off from the shore into very deep water a big inviting lark.
We all loved it – it was an amazing beach day.
A big seafood lunch of fresh prawns and anchovies with a smoked mackerel salad and an icy beer set us back the price of a hamburger in Sydney, so we were toasting the Aegean and all its bountiful offerings with great sincerity. Llew had spied an alternate road home on the map and given his inherited obsession with avoiding backtracking upon pain of death, off we went, first starting a slow and perilous uphill run along what quickly became an unsealed road before taking the hint from all the cars inching past us in the opposite direction that we were in fact on a road to nowhere. Both map and iPhones had it badly wrong, wrong, wrong.
Back on a real road after some more false starts, and what a fantastic alternate route back to Volos it ended up being, taking us past the unexpected sight of ski fields and through (utterly improbable in the current season) picturesque ski villages complete with chalets. We drove through the very, very different flora of the forest, a perfect match for the entirely altered manmade character, not to mention still more phenomenal views as our own Pagasitic Gulf came back into view. A truly terrific day trip.
When we got home, the TT was still raring to go after two big sleeps in the car there and back (three hours of driving each way, so considerable), so we wandered down the stone steps to the main village square to find the place jumping at ten pm on a Sunday night. We scored the last remaining table on the waterfront, joining other happy tables of families and friends, all enjoying a late al fresco supper along the moonlit bay of our beloved little Mitzela on yet another warm summer’s night. I tell you, it beats winter in Sydney hands down.
We’re in the second half of our time here now, so are talking seriously about what’s next. A couple of island days and a few days in Athens look likely, then perhaps one last European stop if we can find something budget appropriate. I turn 40 on 19 September so it would be nice to be somewhere good for that. I guess ideally I’d choose Rome, but we may be somewhere in Asia job-seeking by then so that’s all still to be decided. We think in this heat we’re best looking for a similar experience to this village in another country – something seaside and self-sufficient – it needn’t be Italy, it could be Croatia or similar – still a good deal of searching and map reading to be done. This place has proven so perfect for our needs, we just couldn’t have done better; now we just need to replicate it elsewhere for our final tilt…