Travel: The party's over for Greek islands
IS THERE such a thing as an unspoilt Greek island? An island not yet overrun by the masses?
If you read my moanings last week about Psarou Bay on the island of Mykonos being overtaken by the super wealthy and their yachts and billionaires who helicopter in just to do lunch at the once humble and now famous Nammos restaurant, you will understand my yearning to find another small, yet undiscovered place.
We are researching, and have found an island that is so quiet and entrenched in the past that it has only one car, a taxi. But many donkeys.
The owner of the taxi is also the owner of the one hotel on the island. I'm not going to tell you the name in case you are able to get there before us and tell all your mates about it.
So, back to Mykonos where we spent a couple of weeks in our favourite place, Soula Rooms, in our favourite bay, shaking our heads a great deal in quiet despair at the hordes of rich people that now converge on this once modest and peaceful place.
Even our much-loved and hidden taverna at a remote spot on the island, a place with no telephone, no electricity and a no reservations policy, has been discovered by the masses.
Where once you could arrive at its opening time of 1pm and get in, now you must arrive at 11am and sit outside its stone wall in a jumbled queue and guard your place anxiously while you wait for 1pm to see if you will be fortunate enough to get in.
We knew Mykonos was a party island, everybody knows that, but there were quiet spots away from the town and the noisy beaches.
While we like a bit of an occasional rage ourselves, despite our creaky knees and usual bedtime of 9pm, we do not like parties that go on until sunrise, and this was the case for four consecutive nights in Psarou Bay when amplified music bounced off the gin-clear water and the surrounding stark brown hills.
We went in search of other, quieter places on Mykonos, and even though they were out of the noise and crowds of Psarou Bay they were also out of our budget.
At Nissaki Hotel at Platis Gialos Beach we found the friendliest bloke in all of Greece.
"Would you like to see one of our rooms?" he offered when we inquired about rates and availability for next year.
After a brief inspection and small swoon at the loveliness of the whitewashed villas overlooking the blue pool and the clear sea, he asked if we'd like to see the bar.
A question like that always elicits a resounding "yes'' from us, and as we pondered the cocktail list and looked at the deep blue of the pool against the blinding white of the villas, he went on to say: "Would you like towels, would you like to use the pool?''
Well, cocktails and a pool in a swish resort we were not even guests in, could it get any better?
So, we swam, we drank, ate a Greek salad in this enchanting resort and loved it so much we went back the next day where we were greeted like much-loved family members.
"So happy to see you again," the friendliest bloke in Greece said to us. "Towels? Your usual cocktail?"
We were received in the same welcoming manner the day after that, and then after that again.
"Is there noise until sunrise here?" I asked the friendliest bloke in Greece. "No, the shutters keep the noise out," he told us, which made us love him even more.
If only we could afford a stay in such a place, or perhaps we could check into the nearest cheap boarding house and visit every day.
Read more of Ann's travels at http://www.annrickard.com