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Messages - simonE

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Out and About / Re: How I found San Stefanos.!!!
« on: April 26, 2018, 01:10:56 AM »
Thanks for the kind words. My ID on Tripadvisor is sim0n 1967. My most recent reviews are for our recent holiday in St. Spyridon. If you search Neptune Sea House Cottage you should find my review dated April 16th for the property in which we stayed. Cheers.

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San Stefanos news and views / Extending the season?
« on: April 24, 2018, 10:44:24 PM »
We have recently returned from a very lovely holiday staying in the north of the island at a little place called St. Spyridon. We were amazed to see Ryanair flights on sale in November ( at a very good price incidentally) for departures in April. Despite our knowledge of the possibility of very rainy spring times in Corfu, we thought we'd chance it. We arrived on the 7th, Orthodox Easter Sunday, to 23c and cloudless skies and apart from the odd hazy morning, this was pretty much the weather we experienced all week. 28c at one point!

We had chosen to situate ourselves in this area as we were equidistant between Acharavi and Kassiopi which we were correctly advised would both still be a least partially open for business due to the year round population. It was lovely to see the island come to life, preparing for the approaching holiday season, the ever friendly locals having even more time to chat than in high summer. The roads were quiet and with the more moderate temperatures, sightseeing was much more enjoyable. You could find a seat ( or whole row of seats!) at the airport.

Our lovely host at the little villa we rented reckoned that both Ryanair and Easyjet are trialling these early flights and she was keeping her fingers crossed that it would prove successful. She admitted that we were quite fortunate with the weather but also reminded us that Easter next year is much later in the month and potentially just as warm and sunny.

Obviously we couldn't resist a drive over to San Stef ( we also visited the other San Stefanos on the East coast!) to see how it looked and kill two birds with one stone by paying our outstanding balance for our summer holiday to Noula at San Stefanos travel. We were not surprised but still a little sad to see everything shut up with the exception of one supermarket, especially on a lovely sunny day. 

Just wondering what people's thoughts are on the possibility of the season starting a few weeks earlier in San Stefanos if the flights do become a regular thing? Think it could happen?

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Out and About / Re: How I found San Stefanos.!!!
« on: April 24, 2018, 01:15:22 AM »
My first visit was in May 1999 following a last minute deal my wife had seen in our local independent travel agent. If memory serves, we paid less than £600 for the fortnight (which included the Whitsun school holiday week) for a self catering apartment at the Perros Hotel for the four of us - me, my wife and our two daughters, then aged 5 and 3.
 
We arrived at some unearthly hour ( wasn't it always the case back then with package holiday flights to Greece?) and were housed overnight in a very basic apartment from which we were promptly moved the following day for something more suitable. Again, this thing seemed to happen a lot in those days!

What then followed was one of our favourite ever family holidays. The first thing I remember is being a little shocked at the general appearance of the surrounding neighbourhood - our foreign holiday experience up until that point had been based on visits to the more manicured resorts of Spain, and San Stefanos was most definitely not manicured! Half finished buildings with great lengths of steel pointing out of the concrete towards the blue sky, a fair bit of roadside litter, grassy scrub land forming the gaps between one taverna and the next, no discernable pavements and of course the inevitable " we do WHAT with the toilet paper???!!!", were all something of a culture shock.

But, ( and all you forum folk will now know what's coming) as the first days turned into the first week, we slowly just "got" it. We got the warmth and genuine welcome of every "kalimera" from everyone we met. We got the fuss made of two very small, very blonde girls at every shop and taverna often resulting in a free sweet or two, we got the unbelievable light of the endless sunny days, the smells (not all of them pleasant!) that are unique to Greece, the parades of giant ants, the fireflies on our evening walks back to the hotel. We were hooked. 

However, here is the twist. This didn't then result in return visits year on year. We were never ones to go back to the same resort -
not even just twice. So what followed instead was visits to other Greeks islands and indeed, many other European countries. And many great holidays.Now fast forward to 2015. As an obsessive Tripadvisor advocate, on a whim I searched for the Perros, mainly just to see if it was still up and running and, finding that it most definitely was, suggested to my less than convinced wife that we should return. We duly did, now minus our grown up daughters, and had a wonderful time.

We were both surprised at the very little change we could perceive  - other than the closure of the restaurant opposite to the Perros ( whose name escapes me I'm afraid ) which had been a favourite of ours on Greek night. Peli and Maria were still there ( we reminisced to them of how they bestowed gifts of Tic-Tacs on our daughters) and so too was Stelios at The Olympia ( but minus his ponytail....). Neither of us banked on the wave of nostalgia that hit us as we contemplated our previous visit which on one hand seemed like yesterday and on the other seemed like a lifetime ago. As Captain Corelli muses in Antoine de Bernieres' novel, " Time is a complete b******...."

Now nostalgia is a Greek word ( obviously - they have all the best ones !) meaning, literally "nostos" ( return home) "algos" (pain). So, in a way, it defines a sort of homesickness - a longing to return. I think that this is what we felt. A homesickness for somewhere that wasn't even our home, but in some way felt like a place we belonged. Does this make sense to anyone else?

Just why this little resort, with its hotch potch development, its untidy corners and its randomness now has such a hold on us is really quite a mystery. We've visited prettier places, places with more to see and do, with better beaches, better infrastructure......but nowhere that has the same grip on our hearts as little old San Stefanos. Friends of ours ask about this little place we revisit but I find I'm always reluctant to recommend it too highly. I find I'm being a little guarded, a little protective. "What if they just don't "get" it like we do?". Is this just me?

So there we are. How I found San Stefanos. And why we are back again next month.

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