I have never considered myself much of a beach holiday girl. I don't like sand and the sun doesn't like me. I'm not a strong swimmer and I find it hard to relax and do nothing but this year has been a revelation to me. I have surprised myself!
It has been 9 yrs since my last beach holiday. Luca would have been 10yrs and Beth 13yrs.
I always dreaded holidays when I was married they made me feel anxious. My ex was never good company and I would walk a tightrope waiting for him to drink too much and loose his temper a bit like at home but amplified x10. That or he'd just sod off and leave me for days/ nights with 2 small children and go off clubbing with the local barman! Our ideas for a holiday were vastly different and there was also the inevitable accident or illness and a trip to the local hospital to look forward to.
I never got to read a book as I was constantly doing the Meercat Mummy thing searching to keep my babies in my sight whilst reading the same lines over and over.
Now they are 19yrs and 22yrs and paid their own way and did their own thing and for the first time I was able to really relax and not worry about anything. It was totally chilled and lovely to spend time with them and the rest of my family who I love to bits.
We were in a big family group. Mum and her husband Eddie who have been calling this island home for 15 + years, my sister Jo and her husband Glen, Brian ( Eddies cousin) and his wife Seema and there 2 boys who have been coming out for 11yrs, my cousin Carrie and her daughter, me and mine.
Agistri is beautiful. A tiny lush and green island in the Saronic Sea. It is an idyllic Isle.
The journey is a pain. 3 hr flight, 40 min taxi to the port and then an hour and a half on a Ferry which aren't very frequent so lots of hanging around but it is well worth the hassle.
Despite relying on tourists for its economy it doesn't feel touristy. No English/ Irish sports bars with all day English breakfasts and football on a widescreen thank God! It is quite unspoilt although every restaurant did have good wifi so you could keep in touch with the outside world if you so chose. There is one nightclub out of the main hub if you want it but it's hardly Aiya Napa!
Our hotel was right on the beach. It was family run and they were so accommodating, nothing was too much trouble and because we were there with people who knew the owners of our hotel and most of the others and restaurants we were welcomed in like family.
I swam in the beautiful Saronic sea multiple times a day, the bay is calm and blue and shallow enough for even me to feel confident. My sister described me as being like a cat around water and she's not wrong. I have been known to not even get in the pool on holiday!
I read my book - Tolstoys Anna Karenina. I like a challenge and love Russian classics.
I had a Thai massage on the beach on my sunbed and just relaxed.
We ate in some lovely restaurants, we didn't have a bad meal anywhere although a few dishes got lost in translation. The salad with 'red beans' turned out not to be kidney beans as I thought but baked beans! Quite bizzare, my face was quite a picture.
We had late night drinks on the beach with the waves lapping the shore a foot away and late night drinks around the pool with Michail ( the owner of our hotel ) and Yanni ( a policeman from Athens ) discussing the Greek male opinion, philosophy and world politics till 3 am.
I don't know what took me so long to get to Agistri as Mum has been nagging us to come for years but it is one of those places that I know I will return to again. Perhaps not for 15 yrs straight as there are so many other places to see in the world but it really was quite magical.
A week was too short. Mum and Eddie are out there for 7 weeks which sounds quite heavenly.
I left a piece of my heart there which I shall have to go back to find.