Autumn 2004. After months of procrastinating we finally bit the bullet and decided to take our first family holiday abroad. There was no discussion to be had about the destination – it had to be Greece. Geoff had lived and taught English there the year before we met and we had subsequently had two holidays and an extended stay there together a few years before the kids came along.
Ever the adventurers we were determined not to book a package holiday. So after hours spent surfing the internet we ended up booking flights to Athens and a couple of nights accommodation just a short ferry ride away on the small island of Agistri in a place called Rosy’s Little Village.
We arrived in Athens on a warm and overcast evening in a city still basking in the glory of a successful Olympics and a European cup final win (how different the city must be today). Tired and hungry, we made our way to the hotel that we’d booked for just one night, planning to catch the ferry in the morning, only to find that they had no record of our booking. So there we were in a city that was strange and noisy to our 5 and 9-year-old children and nowhere to sleep for the night! Luckily the hotel took pity on us and rang ahead to another hotel, which did have a free family room. Let’s say it was not very salubrious and we passed a very fitful and nosy night with none of us getting much sleep.
The next morning, bleary eyed but boosted by sweet Greek pastries and coffee, we trekked across Athens to Piraeus where we boarded a ferry to Agistri. In just an hour we arrived at the larger island of Aegina where we made our way across the quay to pick up the Agistri Express – a smaller and much more characterful vessel.
Given our experience in Athens the night before we really had no idea what to expect when we arrived on the island – would our booking with Rosy, we wondered, also have disappeared into hyperspace? We needn’t have worried. As we disembarked from the boat a friendly red haired woman walked down the quay to meet us and she introduced herself as Rosy! We all breathed a sigh of relief and loaded our bags into the back of her car.
Just minutes later we arrived in Rosy’s Little Village – a beautiful group of whitewashed buildings centred around a courtyard full of flowers still blooming in the late autumn sunshine. Our room was simple but pretty with a magnificent view from both its windows looking our across the Aegean Sea to the island of Aegina.
Needless to say our two-night stay extended to the two full weeks of our holiday. It was a magical place – especially as we were there at the very end of the season so there were very few tourists and it seemed like we had the island to ourselves. Rosy and her family made us so very welcome. We hired their bikes, ate in their restaurant and sampled their amazing alcohol preserved tomatoes. And my daughter still waxes lyrical about Rosy’s lovely breakfasts of fresh rolls, jam, Greek yoghurt and peach juice!
Hopefully these photos will give you a flavour of this beautiful place. They were all taken on our first little point and shoot digital camera as we were travelling light and had no room for bulky equipment.
The view from our room!
Tom and Reya with Rosy
In case you are wondering, Rosy’s Little Village is still going strong. I have kept in touch with Rosy over the years since 2004 – by email and more recently through Facebook. So if you want to support the Greek economy this year and to take a lovely laid back holiday you couldn’t find a better place!