Monday – Wet Wet Wet
The weather is cloudy and rain is forecast. We wake up to a small earth tremor which has Siggy asking ‘was that you?’. We use the poor weather as an opportunity to walk up to Katastari and admire their colourful twin towered church. Then we walk under cloudy skies along the back road and enjoy lots of nice views.
Up in the hills we get a glimpse of a more rustic Greece where make do and mend is the motto with fences made of all sorts of offcuts and bits of wood we’d normally take to the tip. Lemon, lime, pears, apples, pomegranates, figs and apricot trees grow in gardens alongside the ever present olives and vines. Chickens and goats seem to be the main livestock.
Then we walk back down through large groves of olive trees, past a horse riding centre and then through Alykes to Alykanas.
I have a pork gyros pitta for lunch (Siggy shows me up by having some fruit) and then we explore Old Alykanas and the more remote beaches close by.
Thunder rumbles ominously and we pop in to The Mill for a couple of well-deserved vanilla milkshakes wondering if we’ll be able to get back before it rains.
Eventually the rain does come, but we’ve made it back to Alykes. We sit it out in Sugarbush with a couple of refreshing Radlers. Then it’s back to hotel to mock the fatties sitting by the pool who probably won’t see anything of Alykes beyond the main strip. We have a quick power-nap and then I watch the Uruguay v Russia match while Siggy sits on the balcony playing patience with a pack of cards we got in Skiathos during similar poor weather.
The rain is so heavy that unbeknown to us the electricity to the whole of the town has somehow been knocked out. When we go out for dinner the road is covered in deep puddles and slicks of silt. Some bars are closed and the tavernas are operating by candlelight. It is surprising then to have one of the best meals of the holiday so far at Relax. I have swordfish with a lemon sauce, Siggy has a pesto, halloumi and chicken dish, and for pudding we have homemade Ferero cake – a chocolatey sponge and almond thing. Nowhere has the football on and so we retreat (with a visit to a torch-lit supermarket for crisps, water, milk and beer) back to the generator powered hotel for the second half of the Spain match – just in the nick of time as it happens as the heavens open up once more.
Tuesday – Rain rain go away
Tuesday is pretty much a wash out. I feel sorry for those who arrive now for a week’s holiday. It rains a lot today and it’s heavy. We sleep in and only venture as far as the bar next to the deserted rain ringed pool when we hear the cleaners arrive outside our door. We do a few crosswords and play some card games until lunch – an overpriced hotdog, chips and a wafer thin chilli burger with sauce so hot I can’t taste anything I was eating after a mouthful.
Eventually enough is enough and we quit the bar area and go back to our room. We get changed and (Siggy gets) glammed up for a night out and go in the spitting rain into town at around four o’clock figuring we can kill time before the first matches of the day. This we duly accomplish in Sugarbush and alternately watch the first 0:0 draw of the tournament (France v Denmark), the rain and music videos without the sound on VH1.
Then we brave the rain for all of two minutes and go to Al Greco for dinner. The waitress tells us that she hasn’t experienced weather like this for thirty years. I have a very generous chicken souvlaki platter and Siggy has a pork escalope. I’ve already had a couple of bottles of Fix during the game and so after a large Mythos I‘m happy to go wherever Siggy wants which turns out to be Enigma. We have a couple of cocktails and watch most of the first half of the Argentina v Nigeria match. We finish watching the game at a waterlogged Heatwave bar and then get a horse and carriage taxi back to our hotel – it’s worth the extravagant sum of 10E just to keep out of the pissing rain which has been on and off all evening.
Wednesday – Normal service
It is still quite cloudy today but it feels like normal service has resumed in terms of the hot weather and sunshine. We go down to the beach and as Mark puts it ‘assume the position’. The air feels a bit fresher today because of the dowsing everything has got but the sand on the beach soon starts to form a dry crust.
We have lunch at No Name – I have a chef’s salad accompanied by nice bread, Siggy has a fruit salad, and we both have vanilla milkshakes expertly made by Dennis so the straws stand up on their own. I finish reading Booky Wooky 2 and start The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz. Then I walk back to the hotel in time for the South Korea v Germany game helped along the way by a Snickers ice cream and a carton of peach juice.
Siggy wanders along about an hour later when it gets too windy on the beach. South Korea seem to lose the ability to kick the ball straight whenever they get within striking distance of Germany’s goal and Germany aren’t much better. That is until South Korea’s extra time goal deemed not offside by the wonderful VAR system and their second goal that really rubs it in. With Sweden winning their match against Mexico 3:0, Germany is out of the tournament. So long suckers!
We have pre-dinner drinks at Jungle so I can congratulate the French barman on the most boring game yet. He points out no-one wanted to win the group and it will probably be the same in the England v Belgium match. I wear my Jaws tee shirt and I’m happy to receive a few glances and one compliment ‘great tee shirt’ from a passer-by. We have dinner at Papora Beach Restaurant in a windswept beach location just down from Jungle Bar. I have a somewhat mediocre baked spaghetti dish and frygania which was an odd layered dessert with sponge, vanilla blancmange, cinnamon and cream. Maybe I’m unlucky with my food choices but it seems like one of those places that has more style than substance. Then we go to The Garden Bar for cocktails (5.50E) and Eighties tunes, and Heatwave for beer and football.
Thursday – Spoke to soon
The weather is wet and windy so we go for walk towards Amoudi Beach. We take a Hertz roadmap with us as I deem it more accurate than the Skymap. It starts to rain heavily so we duck into Shoestring for a cup of tea and lunch (garlic bread and pitta and dips). The walk features a lot of cloud watching, cursing and getting wet. My theory is Atlantis sank because of too much rain and if one more person says it doesn’t usually rain here in June I’ll probably punch them.
Amoudi is as naff as the weather – hardly a beach at all – we walk around to the roads mostly flanked with the ubiquitous olive trees to a small harbour area near Psarou. It is windy and deserted apart from a bloke teaching his wife how to drive a quad bike in the car park. On the way back toward Alykanas it starts pissing down again so we duck into Lemon Tree Psaropoyla Taverna for some hot tea and biscuits. I look like a drowned rat in a soaking tee shirt and shorts and the owner kindly gives me a towel to dry off, and then a tee shirt and a bag in which to put my soaked tee shirt.
The tee shirt was my trusty threadbare Primark ‘trip out’ 1862 tee shirt which is most definitely on its lasts legs now after almost being retired after Santorini last year. The new tee shirt is a branded Lemon Tree tee shirt and I force her to take some money off me for it when it comes to paying the bill.
I buy a cheap umbrella from a supermarket in Alykanas and then the sun comes out. We have more tea in Sugarbush and then walk back to the hotel where I get to try out what turns out to be the second flimsiest umbrella in history – the first one being one Siggy bought in Skiathos that broke within five minutes of being opened. I’d like to say we saw some really nice beaches today but we didn’t really. However, it sure beat sitting in the hotel doing crosswords or playing cards.
We have dinner at Asteria which is on the beach kind of next door to Sugarbush if you’re coming at it from the road side. I have sea bream (leaving a cartoon style tail, bones and head once I’d finished my surgery) and apple pie, Siggy has chicken and mushroom pasta. The food is all very nice although the pie was more like the frygania than proper pastry and apple pie. Then to currently the most inappropriately named bar – Heatwave – for a couple of cocktails, a couple of Radlers and a beer for me while watching England get beat 1:0 by Belgium in a game that really doesn’t seem to matter all that much. Siggy is very pleased to hear that there is no football on tomorrow.