Thinking about going to Greece for a holiday but worried about how tourism has been affected? A good friend of mine, Sally, has a holiday home there and has sent me this guest post from her spot under the beach umbrella.
|The beach at Stoupa, Greece.|
Packing a suitcase this year for a summer break in Greece presented some dilemmas. A new bikini or a tin of powdered milk? Skirt or three tins of tuna?
In the end I settled for the standard requirements for a five week stay at our little hilltop house on the Greek mainland. Apart from one concession; a large packet of proper teabags. I simply couldn’t risk there being no proper teabags and having to live on those awful yellow things that pass for teabags in most European countries.
Arriving in Stoupa, a Peloponnesian resort, much favoured by British holiday-makers and ex-pats, there was some trepidation. The news had been filled with the likelihood of a Grexit, pictures of riots in Athens and stories of fuel rationing and shortages in supermarkets.
However, the local supermarket appeared to be as well-stocked as ever (although water melon was now 1.24 euros, about a pound) with all the requirements for ‘A Brit Abroad’ – baked beans, ketchup and Yorkshire teabags included.
Aha, I thought, later that evening as we prepared to go down to for dinner. Maybe the beach will be deserted, tavernas quiet and restaurants closed? Or worse, graffiti will cover the walls of the local school or car hire office: the nearest police station being 8 miles away and the closest bank, 30, it was unlikely even upset Greeks would go that distance in the heat with a view to rioting or scribbling something rude on a wall.
Not so. Not only was every restaurant open, there was a brand new cocktail bar doing a roaring trade and the pizza place had to put out extra tables across the road (since the main beach road is closed to traffic from 8pm to 2am, this wasn’t a problem)
The only life at the single ATM was a large ginger cat and although there appeared to be a noisy gathering at our favourite restaurant, this turned out to be a party who couldn’t get seated and were squabbling about whether to wait, to go and drink another cocktail or three instead or go to another eatery.
Sitting down, we did run across a problem of epic proportions, it is true. The complimentary dish of olives did not divide exactly by three and our daughter decided she would rather have her boyfriend’s roast wild boar than her own stuffed tomatoes. But hey, you can’t have everything. And returning via the piano bar, my husband swore he heard a bum note played in a soulful rendition of The Long and Winding Road.
In short, Greece for holiday-makers, and, I suspect, many of the rural residents, remains largely untouched by the current crisis. The sea is as blue, the sun as hot and the beer as cold as it always is. Although I have picked unripe oranges to use as missiles should hordes of rioters appear and need repelling. Not the lemons though. They are perfectly ripe and far too good for that. They are, as always, destined for a large gin and tonic as the sun goes down.
Sally in Stoupa