This is going to be home for the next two weeks or so. It is ridiculously beautiful even in subdued sunlight: cypresses, olive trees, terracotta roofs, views in all directions, the scent of jasmine, the cicada orchestra, and the warm September sea to swim in. Asphodels and cyclamen on the hillsides, figs to scrump, delicious fresh, local food, the clear view of the milky way . . . it’s a kind of paradise. It’s upmarket tourist Greece – the kind that Sunday supplements describe as “unspoiled” when really it’s a soft play area for middle-aged and elderly northern Europeans. It was never going to remain as it was 30 years ago, so this kind of development, which marketises its charms determinedly but sympathetically, is probably the best outcome.
And, oh, how lovely it is! I’ve seen sunsets this good at home, but never while sitting outside on a balmy evening eating freshly caught fish and χόρτα.
I feel slightly guilty at times at my enthusiasm for Greece’s natural beauties while being so negative about her larger towns and cities. But they are just too crowded with cars, the pavements are dreadful, and schemes for improvement are often a joke – such as the new hire bikes in Patras, where nearly all the bikes were defective, instructions were only in English (to the confusion of the middle-aged Greek man who wanted to use one) and the card reader didn’t read cards. Even the saving graces – such as the lush balconies that used to transform 6-storey apartment blocks into vertical gardens – seem to be diminished. Thank goodness for good humour and philoxenia!