My other post reminded me that I am so excited about returning to Batsi and thought it might be nice to post my memories of the place before I go back so I can compare what it's like now.
I used to travel over there several times a year (around 1985-6) when I worked in travel but I am so old and senile now, I can't really remember what months I was there - other than the October break. Age is a scary thing!
I do remember that it was so peaceful. We used to stay at the Hotel Chrysiatki (sp) - which didn't have a pool then I don't think. The road into the main village was just a dirt track really - hardly any cars. And the beach was always quiet. I remember thinking it was the closest place to paradise that I had ever been.
There were around 4 restaurants and a couple of bars- but bizarrely there was a club type bar. One souvenir shop and a travel agent. The locals were so friendly - a lot of them were Athenians that worked there in summer. Everyone sat in the main square - I think it was a square - every evening and so everyone got to know each other a litte. Falcon Holidays (my company) went there and for some reason it was very popular with Scottish people. So much so that Yianni obtained a recipe for Scotch broth and used to serve it in his restaurant when the weather was cooler . Had a memorable evening in October in Yiannis, sat indoors by a roaring fire eating hot soup.
On one occasion I fell against the wall by the beach and tore a muscle in my shoulder. We went to the doctor and he was so kind. The next day when we wandered into town in the morning everyone was asking me how my arm was and when we bumped into the doc he had a look and a feel and ordered me to keep taking the antibiotics.
I also remember the water melon van turning up every morning. One day we got a pedalo out and took some of the melon and Greek wine with us for lunch. Got a bit side tracked by the wine and a couple of hours later heard Georgio searching for us in his motorboat. We apologised for being so late back with his pedalo and he said it wasn't a problem he was just worried about us. We offered him some wine (Domestica) and he took a sip then spat it out in disgust asking why we had given him this 'domestus'.
Lovely, peaceful lazy days and we loved it so much we went back and back - even though in those days it was a real faff getting there. It was always a night flight, which would arrive in Athens at 4am. We would then have to sit on the coach until it filled up with the other flight arrivals from Manchester/Glasgow and finally leave for Rafina around 6am. Would get on the ferry about 7am but when we set sail we didn't care as we sat gazing at the blue Aegean through bleary eyes. Gavrio (if I remember correctly) was a couple of ramshackled tavernas with a couple weatherbeaten old soaks sat outside drinking ouzo. Our luggage was taken off the ferry in an old truck and we had to grab it ourselves and drag it to the coach. It was all part of the charm and it made you realise that you were going somewhere really special.
One last thing - bizzarely, I remember something about a leper colony in the hills??? Have no idea if there was any truth in this.
Anyway, happy days and lets hope (ash cloud permitting) I can experience them again in a couple of weeks.Edited: 6:05 am, May 25, 2011