Monday, 19 March 2012

A Birthday Blog

the uninhabited back of Spetses island

the ferry to Spetses
Ever since I arrived in Greece last October, I have been harping at Minas to spend my 65th birthday on a Greek island. Amazingly, all that nagging paid off and I spent a lovely birthday on Spetses, a tiny island just ten minutes off the mainland and south of Athens. ( see location at bottom) We decided to take our bikes and the first clue I had that it was going to be a sensational time was the ferry. It was named Katerina Star!
a caleche on Spetses
The only people who are allowed cars on Spetses are the residents which makes for nice pedestrian areas. The traditional way for tourists to get around is by horse-drawn caleche. Scooters and motorcycles are everywhere in the main town and seem to most families' only means of transportation.
Mum Dad and dog on a scooter

yachts moored in the old harbour
Of course the wealthy have their yachts....
and we have our bikes!

the cannon on our balcony in Spetses
But don't go to Spetses until after Easter because that is when the season really begins. We stayed in the only hotel open at this time but fortunately it was a gem. The Economou Mansion, right on the water, slightly out of the town, was built in the 1800s by a sea captain and has been  made into a charming boutique hotel. Our balcony sported a cannon pointed out to sea.

On the morning of my birthday I woke up to this view

the view from the balcony of the Economou Mansion
Along with my tea in bed, Minas gave me an elaborately wrapped box, inside a box ,inside a box. When I got to the last slip of paper it was a promise of an iphone when we get home. So there you go, girls, we can always be connected now. When we went down to breakfast, I could hear a Welsh accent - sure enough, the other guests in the hotel were Welsh and not just Welsh but living in the Mumbles, Swansea, my home town. We had a lovely chat. It was shaping up to be a stellar day.

The birthday outing was to tour the island on our bikes. The recently asphalted road ran for 25 kilometres of beautiful sea views, and a fair number of substantial climbs. Two cars and one scooter passed us on the back of the island. Basically, we had the place to ourselves and it was glorious.
Minas ahead as usual
yes there are some wealthy Greeks
and then there are some who bicycle
 It took us just over two hours on the bikes but we added our picnic and several photo stops and arrived back in Spetses town in time to find a sunny spot for coffee overlooking the main harbour. 
coffee overlooking the harbour ad another cannon
To Lazarus restaurant, Spetses
 A nap in the sun on the balcony, a wander around the shopping streets, a nice glass of white wine, a lovely dinner of fresh fish and I pronounced it a perfect day.

All in all it was a wonderful birthday and I think I am happy to be an old age pensioner, with all the perks that this stage brings. And I don't think it's wrong to try to hold onto some vestige of youth as well. Spetses and Minas made me feel like a star and very special.
a lone poppy complements the wild flowers of Spetses

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