A decade after a first household vacation in Greece, Martin Love heads to Paxos and determines it wonderfully unchanged
The five of us stretched out on yoga mats with our toes pointing towards the sea. Above us the breeze stirred the foliages of the ancient olive trees. Emai ed , intoned Sophie. In Greek that entails, I am here. She continued in her gentle voice. I am here in Paxos. I have arrived. I have moored on this rock surrounded by sea
Sophie was training to be a mindfulness educator. When we lay down Id have bet my favourite Speedos that marriage soon be in fits of laugh, but not one of us so much as sniggered. We lay in still, neat rows, like sardines, as her soothing terms washed over us. After a while, Sophie brought us up from the depths. I hope you are now at one with this island, she said. Wed been on Paxos for less than half a day yet I had the giddy sensation I might just chuck it all in and stay here forever.
Thats what happened to Sophie. She has now been here for 30 years, moored in Paxos. Back then, she said, “theres only” one road and just three vehicles. There dont seem to be many more than that now. Aside from being a mindfulness educator she is also the owner of Villa Zoe, the house we were staying in. It sits on a cliff overlooking the sea and was built by a captain more than 200 years ago. Today its all wooden shutters, high ceilings and shady terraces, with plenty of quirky features, like an outdoor kitchen and an open-air rain. Its greatest asset, however, is the astounding opinion an immense sweep of ocean and sky. I must have spent half our week gazing towards the glittering horizon.
Greece holds a special place in the list of our favourite household holidays. More than 10 years ago we ran there on our first proper trip. We rented a house in Lefkada with a cool pond and drove around in a knackered old automobile. The children were 12, 10 and five. Every night we dined in a different taverna. With burnt shoulders and rinsed hair, marriage sit at pretty tables, ordering grown-up food and then, when the children didnt like it, feed it to the stray cats. And here we were again a decade later, with the kids on the cusp of adulthood and almost off our hands. Wed bookended their childhood with vacations in Greece. Would this be the last time it would be merely the five of us? Their boyfriends and girlfriends are waiting in the wings.
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