When I was younger I had all these plans of what I wasn’t going to do or be like when I was older. Top of them was I would never be one of those people who always went to the same place on holiday. No, I was going to be so adventurous, I was going to be a traveller and continually find new places to go to that weren’t frequented by tourists. Which is all well and good until you realise that most of the time there are pretty good reasons for what’s made somewhere a tourist spot rather than the equivalent of the Polish council estate that seemed so cheap and off the beaten track.
When we came to Greece I had this idea that I would visit all of the Greek islands and then I looked at a map and our bank account and scaled back. Although we’ve visited lots of islands and many places on the mainland, now after three years we navigate a triangle of three places that we return to time and time again staying in the same place each time and doing the same things. Recently I read a piece by Caitlin Moran, Time Travel in the same 4 Places (it’s behind the pay wall of the Times and in Moranthology) and that piece explained exactly what I do albeit that she does it in four places in the UK. From October to April we’ll do weekends on Poros and from Easter to September we do weekends on Aegina and Agistri.
This weekend, because it’s March, we’re going to Poros and we’ll stay in the usual place and have a glass of wine with Taki before going off to the Porto Taverna where we’ll have something from the oven; it’s what we do when we go for the weekend. On Saturday we’ll walk either to the monastery or to Love Bay and on our way back will sit for coffee in one of the cafes which only opens on weekends in the winter. They’ll move a table across the road, into the sunshine and bring us water, sweets and biscuits and charge us four euros for our coffee. Although their cafe is open they don’t seriously expect anyone to be stopping for coffee on the coast road out of season. When I speak a little Greek to them they are pleased and will do their best to understand me and congratulate me on managing their language.
And always Saturday lunch at Thannassi’s and I can’t decide which fish I would like and Thannassi suggests a fish meze and I agree as if this is a novel idea and not the ritual we go through each time. Only a meze I tell him and he suggests perhaps a little ροκα. And, naturally, some μελιζανοσαλατα and I agree and eat too much lunch as I always do. And we walk by the boats and then cut up through the little alleys and walk higher and higher, each time we do this thinking that we are lost but suddenly we come out onto the path on the hillside and the tiny, white church is in front of us and we turn around to see the entire bay behind us. And this is why I can’t be bothered to go to Santorini, to Mykonos or to Rhodes. Why would I spend my weekend sitting in airports and not knowing where the good restaurants are and finding that the hotel which looked so great on the website was last photographed in 1984? Why would I do that when I can come here? I know that although Taki’s hotel has its limitations he’s a kind and generous host and I’ll go home with a basket of citrus fruit, a bottle of oil and fresh eggs from their farm. And I’ve always been happy here. It’s not travelling and I love it.