Jamie – 10 July 2012
Zakynthos is the southernmost Ionian Island, just off the west coast of the Greek mainland. One of its northern neighbors is Kefalonia, the setting of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. We are staying in Porta Roma, a relatively undeveloped region at the southern end of the island. This part of our journey was proposed by our great Melbourne friends, the Dimitropoulos family, with whom we have shared a magical week. We have similarly aged children and they have loved having each other to swim, eat and generally play with. They have made our Greek experience really special. Steve is a walking historian of all things Greek and has endless energy for the children. He made the mistake of offering himself up as a human catapult launcher in the villa’s pool on our first day and now has to launch the six children until his arms drop off with each visit to the pool.
This has been a wonderful start to our travels. A real assault on the senses – warm sea breezes mixed with the scent of the olive, apricot and plum plantations that surround our villa. Even the odd eucalypt to remind us of home. Noisy cicadas blast away during the day. We alternate between simple meals out in one of the local tavernas or make a home cooked meal using local produce. The tomatoes and strawberries in particular explode with flavor – makes you realise how watered down our Australian versions are.
In keeping with local custom we have started taking siestas during the hottest part of the day and then eating and going to bed late. I try to go for a 5 km run every other morning before the rest of the family (and the sun) fully wake up.
Our local beach is long and sandy with shallow water – ideal for children. Typical of many Mediterranean beaches it has neat rows of fixed beach umbrellas’ and lounge chairs which can be hired for a nominal sum. It is also a nesting area for the local protected turtle and the back of the beach is covered in small wooden pyramids, each of which marks a nest. The turtles come ashore at night, lay their eggs, and then return to the sea before morning. A warden then comes down and marks each new nest before the public arrive.
Here are a few photos.