What I would do if I won a lottery bet

The island

For the first couple of weeks of September, I was in Greece with my Mum and brother. Kevin often takes Mum away, usually somewhere like this. This time we stayed on the island of Kos. We love it here and usually stay in a place called Kamari, in Kefalos, down on the bottom right of the island. We think that Kos is one of the best Greek islands to visit.

a map of Kos, one of the best Greek islands to visit

We found it the first time by chance, looking for somewhere cheap to holiday, but have come back many times. The Western side is much windier and although we often visit beaches there, we prefer Kamari.

Everywhere we go, exploring what seems like a remote nook or cranny, using roads that are actually dirt tracks, we come across someone else, often on a quad bike.

a view of Kamari, on Kos, one of the best Greek islands to visit

Kevin on the top of the world Ma! The bay in the picture is Kamari, where we are staying. You can see how narrow the island is at this point, you can see the sea on both sides!

The places

We hired a car and went to see the peacocks at Plaki. Also there, are many cats. It’s a strange mixture, birds and cats! A charity runs it, and like many Greek islands I’ve been too, there are a great many feral cats. The charity collects them, neuteurs them, then looks after them here. It’s a pine forest for both birds and cats to roam around as they will, which is lovely. Both animals are left to get on with catty and peacocky life. You can amuse yourself by feeding a grape to a peacock, who love grapes, and watching the grapey lump travel down the birds neck!

My granddaughter, like many children her age, loves secret stones. I got her this one with a painting of a peacock on it. Strictly not for leaving somewhere tho!

a painted stone from Plaki on Kos, one of the best Greek islands to visit

Another day, we went to see the sunset at Zia, one of the highest points on the island.

Whilst at Zia, and waiting for sunset, we noticed a path up to a botanical garden. So Kevin and I paid our 3 euro and in we went. The plants were interesting and the views outstanding. But there were also lots of cages with various creatures inside. I was quite saddened by these. There was a stag and two does, one of which paced endlessly, making mournful barks; a cage of ground birds, one of which was continuously flying at the wire and pecking it trying to get out; many cages of stressed, listless and miserable looking creatures. I really dislike seeing animals confined, unable to express natural behaviour. And in this particular circumstance, the plants, view and things like hammocks to cavort in make it irrelevant.

The food

I like to eat local food when away. One of the many dishes I tried was at a fish restaurant at Limnionas, spaghetti with avocado sauce with shrimp. The sauce was wonderful and I’m hoping I’ll be able to work out how to make something like it. And that it will cost up for here too.

At Zia, I had a Greek mezze, a huge plate of all kinds of good things. Dolmades, cooked red peppers stuffed with hummus and rolled, chick pea patties, tzatziki, falafel and other things I can’t remember now.

sunset at Zia

This is the sunset at Zia, a wonderful place to watch the sun go down

We often ate over the road at  Limanis, owned by the family. Harry also runs a farm, and many things we ate there were grown or raised on that farm. Much of the meat comes from there, as well as the wonderful tomatoes. Ask for a salad in Greece in September, and you’re likely to get a plate of tomatoes with a few other things scattered over the top.

When I had a very good mousakka there, Harry pronounced it with the emphasis on the first syllable, not the second as we do here in the UK. He was too busy to ask, but I’m assuming that’s the Greek way to say it. Google isn’t helping

At Agios Theologis beach, we had goat, baked in the oven, with lemon, thyme, garlic and rosemary. It was wonderful! And as it is so low fat, I’m wondering if I could get any here, without spending a fortune, as it would be good for my diet.

We made friends with a couple staying next door at the apartments. They ate a lot less than us, routinely sharing one meal between them!

Mum had to exercise willpower as she still loves her food, but her body can’t cope with as much of it as she’d like and retaliates with raging indigestion. She’s doing extremely well mind, at 91 she’s not even on statins and whizzes about using two walking poles. Magic poles I call them as when airport staff catch sight of them, we’re whizzed to the front of any queues! Marvellous!

The life

me, my brother and Mum on Kos, one of the best Greek islands to visit

I don’t smoke and have got used to the smoking ban here in the UK and being able to go to eateries and expect not to be smoked over. In Greece it was a very different story. Everywhere I went people were lighting up. As soon as one had finished, another would begin, or often, of course, several at once. I really dislike it and became quite slitty eyed as I peered at people trying to determine if they were about to smoke.

Having said that, I found that the local people were very keen on a healthy life. Mum and Kevin made a friend on a previous trip who came over for a holiday while we were there. We were at Limnionas beach and while we were swimming, she stayed on the beach smoking. The beach umbrella/sunbed lady told her off for smoking too much!

The same ladies children came down after school and joined in snorkelling with us, all having fun. The youngest, Nico, who was like an energiser bunny, was desperate for us to get a HUGE anchor from the bottom of the bay up onto the beach. Needless to say, it was much too big to move.

Both Mum and I got bitten to pieces by the mozzies. Bites don’t just happen at night of course. We tried everything from plug ins, to smearing ourselves with repellent. Nothing worked, so we stopped doing anything. Didn’t seem to make any difference at all!

Several times over the holiday, I got up at dawn and went for a run down to the harbour and back, a distance of a couple of miles or so. It was absolutely gorgeous at that time of day, the picture at the top was taken just after 6am. I could watch the sun come up behind Kastri Island, several locals would swim at this time, lots of other runners about, plus a couple of fisherman, fishing off the beach. If I was going to do it, it had to be then, or in the evening, much too hot during the day. In fact, one time I was coming back at 8:30am absolutely soaked from head to foot in sweat as I had got so hot. I became a graduate of the Couch to 5K programme while there and felt very proud, and somewhat incredulous. couch to5k logo

Another thing we did a lot of were quizes and crosswords. Mum and Kevin are both pretty good at them and leave me standing. Mum says, oh no, I’m not, and then instantly answers a query about 5 Down!

Look how trim Kevin is looking. He’s done really well on Slimming World, losing 2.5 stone. He’s working out how to keep it off now.

My mum and brother on Kos, one of the best Greek islands to visit

The studios

This year, we stayed at the Haralambos Studios. They are run by a family who all work incredibly hard. Harry, the father and a huge character, is front of house at their restaurant, just over the road from the studios, Limanis. Much of the meat and produce is from the family farm. John runs the supermarket 7 days a week and takes the bookings, and works in the restaurant in the evenings as well, and still finds energy to go dancing on a Saturday night. Going out at 1am and boogying the night away then opening up the shop on Sunday morning. The two daughters keep everywhere clean, and Katerina looks after the shop in the evening, marking the school books of the pupils she has taught during the day. The mother of the family, I never did find out her name, does all the cooking and does it extremely well. Everything we had was beautiful. It’s the best place we’ve stayed at.

I’m hoping to get a couple of recipes from the mum, but John said it had better wait until the winter. She is so busy now she might whack him with a spoon if he asked now!

Home

I came home on my own as the other two were staying a further 2 weeks. As I was seated on the plane, with an aisle seat, again, (I hate them) I was watching to see who would come and sit in the other 2 seats, hoping I could offer to swap my hated aisle for a window seat. And no one did! So I had a whole row of 3 seats to myself. This was a night flight so I was very tired, and although it wasn’t exactly comfortable, with 2 other seats to loll over, it was a whole lot more comfortable than it could have been.

I tried, unsuccesfully, to get comfortable enough to doze, watched a film that I’d previously downloaded onto my phone ( I’d run out of things to read) and the time eventually passed.

When we landed at just gone midnight UK time, and just gone 2am by my body clock, everyone that could, immediately stood up, and then stayed crammed in the aisle for the next half hour as we taxied and the stairs were brought out. Then everybody charged down the steps and tore over to baggage reclaim. I was almost the last off the plane, ambled over to baggage and still had to wait about 15 minutes. There’s no point hurrying people!

Right by the terminal entrance, there were 3 extremely alert looking burly men in bulky uniforms. They were inspecting everyone and checking passports. It was a bit scary!

By the time I got home and to bed, it was 4am by my bodyclock, and of course, I couldn’t sleep. Sigh. I’m still catching up, I’m out of sync, but that will pass soon.

It was really lovely to hangout with my Mum and brother for two weeks, with no decisions to make. I didn’t even have to drive as Kevin did all that. It was a bit of a shock coming back to 15 degrees cooler and having to cook my own dinner!

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What I would do if I won a lottery bet
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