Thursday, 29 July 2010

Bay Watch

29 July

My Darling E

Last time, I mentioned the little things that can stir up a host of memories.

Here's another one - prompted by a recent letter in the travel section of the Daily Telegraph.   

The reader was looking for advice on where to find a quiet, unspoilt little fishing village in Greece for a really laid-back holiday.  Exactly the sort of thing we liked.  

And there among the half dozen or so villages listed in the reply was the name of Yialova - now familiar to us from our holiday there in 2002.

As usual, we had booked the holiday early that year, to get our preferred slot in June, well before the school holidays began. 

Then I had had my right hip replaced at the end of March and was booked in to have the other one done at the beginning of July. 

Should we cancel?  The answer from both of us was a resounding 'no'.  

Lets go and enjoy ourselves we agreed.  And we did.

When we got there our top-floor apartment was big and spacious, with a wide balcony looking out over the Bay.   

It was accessed by a flight of marble steps but with my sticks - and help from the owner in carrying up our bags - that wasn't a problem.

The on-site swimming pool was.  No safe way for me of getting in or, more importantly, getting out.  

But then we never were great swimming pool people.

Let's wait and see what the beach is like we said. 

That's where we lucked in. 

Just a short drive away, down the usual uneven Greek track was the lovely arc  of sand that curls round Voidhokilia Bay.  One of the best breaches in that part of the Peloponnese we had read.  They were right,

The Bay is virtually land-locked so the beach shelves gently.  The water was warm and clear. 

There was a taverna and sun beds with large leafy sunshades. 

What's more the shades were secured to strong metal poles.  Painted blue naturally, this being Greece.

Perfect for me getting up and down.

Was it any wonder we spent every day at the beach, relaxing and soaking up the sun.


 We developed a routine when I wished to go swimming.

I would walk into the water using my sticks until it was deep enough for me to swim away.  You would then take the sticks back and 'plant' them upright in the sand as a marker.  Then join me in the water for a swim. 

Swimming was good exercise for my 'new' hip, of course.  Had to avoid the breast-stroke though.

When it was time to come out, I would head towards the beach, you would bring me my sticks and, using them for support, I would make my way back to the sunbeds. 

Because the sand was so smooth we would go walking together, waist deep in the sea, along the beach and back.  Again, good for my hip. 

The only times we dragged ourselves away from the beach was on Sundays, when we knew it would get crowded. 

The first Sunday we were there, we drove round the Bay to the quite stylish, little town of Pylos and watched families enjoying lunch in the shade of the large trees that, like the restaurants below, ringed the main square. 

It was too early to eat, so we sat sipping fresh orange juice at a shady bar beside the harbour - and idled the time away people watching. 

Another time we went further along the coast and found yet another small fishing harbour at Finikounda.

This time we did have our 'traditional' lunch - ham omlette for you, cheese for me - and cold beers at the Elena taverna, high on rocks overlooking the harbour.   

Apart from those two days, we stayed at the beach every day late on until the sun had gone, then drove down to Yialova to eat.

Our type of relaxing holiday. 

Summed up in this 'end of the holiday' photograph.

Yialova was special in another way.

It is one of the places where I was able to capture my favourite holiday shot of 'us' together.

Circumstances sometimes meant it didn't always work out.  

At Yialova it did...

A special holiday.  And so very special memories of you and I together.

Thankfully I have lots of those left to live with now - even if I no longer have you.

Miss you so, so much, my Love.

Yours, for ever