Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Visiting Greek gods

I’ve already mentioned that we visited Greece almost three years ago, when our son was just a baby. When we were planning our wedding day, we decided that it was my husband-to-be who was going to choose our honeymoon destination. And not tell me about. However, he started work right before the wedding and was unable to take a couple of days off so we decided to postpone the honeymoon trip. And soon afterwards, to our great happiness, we found out that I was pregnant. And that opened a totally new chapter in our lives.  

Longing for holidays and some change in life, on the spot, we chose to go to Greece for a week right after our first wedding anniversary. Why Greece? Because that was supposed to be our honeymoon destination. And somehow it was, simply later in time. And with an additional passenger.

People were really astonished at the fact that we decided to take a baby with us, to change the climate so drastically. The difference in temperatures was about 15-20 degrees, so a lot.

But you know what? It was perfect! Arturek was sleeping most of the time. For once, babies sleep a lot. And probably, high temperatures did their bit as well. An adult is usually tired when it’s too hot, not to mention a baby.

And we had time to sunbathe, to bathe in the warm sea, to go for walks, to rest, to re-charge batteries. 

Which part of Greece did we choose? And why? We chose to go to the Olympian Riviera. People kept telling us that there were much fewer tourists there than in Chalkidiki. And we thought that we wanted to rest in a quiet place. And we thought that it would be much better for our lil’ boy. You know, no nightlife around so that he could sleep at night easily (he wasn’t waking up at night at that time anymore). We stayed in Korinos (or Korinos Beach?), Katerini, Pieria. Korinos is only 5 km from Paralia, which we visited twice in the evenings. Korinos Beach is just a couple of hotels and camp sited situated right next to the beach. Nothing else. Paralia is a small town, full of hotels, shops, a promenade, and a very rich nightlife. And is famous for furs! Natural furs, if somebody likes it. We were seriously wondering who needs furs in Greece when it’s so hot there. But I haven’t been there in winter. Maybe it does get colder? Maybe due to the closeness of the mountains?

We chose Hotel Anais. Not too big, very cosy, with it’s own little pool and a playground for kids. Rooms were tidy, each had a balcony with a table and chairs (we spent most of the evenings and mornings on the balcony, watching the sunrise or listening to the music played in the nearby bar), beds were comfortable. It was really nice. Food was very good. There was some misunderstanding about our room so that we couldn’t get one with a crib, so we got a three-person-room in a quiet part of the hotel. Just perfect. Simply, there were no problems that they couldn’t solve on the spot. I really enjoyed the hotel. Early breakfast or late suppers, when we were coming back from all-day trips were no problem as well. Everything waiting for us. Just perfect.

We enjoyed bathing in the sea, really warm one I must say, especially in comparison to the Baltic Sea. We loved the sweet and delicious fruit. We loved Greek ice-creams (well, not as tasty as Italian gelato, but really delicious). We liked the space. The open space. Like being in the middle of nowhere. And the view of the mountains, being right there, next to us, as if protecting us, keeping an eye on us.

We decided to go on two trips when in Greece. Travelling with a baby has its drawbacks and not being able to see everything you’d like to see is a really big one. I can’t remember exactly which of the trips was first, but I’m going to mention one of them here and the other one some other time.

We went to see the archaeological site in Dion. One of the oldest places and the newest (in terms of being discovered) in Greece. A beautiful place, a great portion of Greek history. And a very demanding place. It’s like a dessert. Hardly a place to hide from the burning sun. After some time we felt like being on a frying pan and having no place to run. And our boy first crying then sleeping on my hands. I couldn’t feel my hands when we got back to the bus ;) But that’s a different story. Then, from Dion, we went high into the mountains (Mount Olympus). Hadn’t it been to high humidity, the views could have been spectacular. And they were just nice. Whole Riviera down there, below us. And it was sooo pleasantly cold up there. Well, not cold. It was simply warm. Warm, not hot! A huge difference ;) And then we went to Litochoro, at the foot of Mount Olympus, to walk the gully of the Enipeas River through which Greek gods were coming down to Earth. I must admit we were totally exhausted after this trip. But it was worth it. I regret that we couldn’t hear the whole story told in Dion, but when shushing our boy we had to move to the side in order not to disturb the others. And we didn’t reach the end of the gully. Yup, we were already way too tired. After climbing the steep hill to get to the beginning of the gully, and then walking for some time, we were out. We stayed put and enjoyed the views. As simple as that. But, somehow, I don’t regret not reaching the end. It was pretty enough where we decided to stop.

 My itchy feet ;)

 Road to Paralia
 View from our balcony

 Sunset - I know you can't see it, but there's my husband with the pram in the picture ;)

Another colourful sunset
 The archaeological site in Dion

 View from the mountains (viewpoint at 944 metres above sea level)

 View of Litochoro

 The gully

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