Thursday, October 29, 2015
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Over the last few weeks, we have had the blessing of reconnecting—in person, even!—with friends whom we have not seen in over 5 years. These friends were traveling for business, and they had arranged their flights so they could stop in Athens to visit us. Even better, their overnight layover in Athens was only on their way out; on their way back to their home, they needed to stop for a week of work right here in Greece. Afterward, they intended to spend a couple of days relaxing at a resort just 90 minutes away from Athens, where they invited us to join them.
Accordingly, one Saturday morning, we made the trip from Athens to Eretria Village Resort, on Evia Island. The room was basic but comfortable. There was a queen (or maybe king) size bed, as well as a twin size daybed/sofa. There weren’t a whole lot of drawers in the vanity area, but there was a typical-for-Europe built-in closet that had more than enough storage space. The bathroom was clean, and although there were no drawers, there was plenty of counter space. All the floors were tile, and there was a patio on our ground-level unit; the ones upstairs had balconies.
After we unpacked, it was time to head to lunch, a buffet that included soup, salads, various meats, and vegetables. The whole time, Alexa begged to go back to the room, put on her swimsuit, and get in the pool. We told her she could do that later, but first we wanted to walk around the resort and see what was there.
Just outside the main building, which housed the dining room, a bar, several conference rooms, and a few guest rooms, the main pool sprawled. It definitely was the centerpiece of the resort. The pool was a rough rectangle, with a large island in the middle. There were two bridges to the island, as well as two “feet wet” wading walls, for lack of a better term. These short walls allowed maybe two inches of water to pass over them, and they separated a full-sized deep swimming pool from the much more shallow “playing” pool, which made up the other three sides of the rectangle. We loved the design, which was beautiful and practical. Alexa could stand and play in most of the pool without worry about accidentally stepping over into water that was too deep for her.
We had been told that there were two additional pools at the resort, so we decided to find them. One was beside the beach, so we headed that way first.
We walked down beautiful paths to a tunnel that took us under the highway and to the beach.
We walked out on a short pier, from which we could see a longer pier that we just as easily could have walked out on. We saw the mainland across the narrow channel ahead of us.
We turned around and saw the resort’s beach area behind us.
Then we walked back to shore for a closer look at the beach.
There was another beach area that was just as lovely.
Then we found the beach side pool
and a cool wall beside it.
Seriously, I don't know why I was so fascinated with this wall and its windows and door, but I was utterly enthralled.
We passed by the playground but didn’t stop—Alexa was begging to go back to “the first pool” to swim.
We walked back along the picturesque path,
found a sweet little chapel,
and caught a glimpse of the third pool (but didn't take a picture of it).
Then we gave in to Alexa’s oft-repeated desire to change into swimsuits. I couldn't resist taking a picture of the pretty little scene that greeted me every time I opened our door, though:
After changing, we (well, Jeff and Alexa) braved the cold waters of the huge, lovely pool outside the main building.
After some time in the pool, when we grownups couldn't stand the chill any longer, we went back to the room for hot showers and dry clothes. Then our friend invited us on a drive up the mountain to see the view. We happily accepted.
We stopped at a beautiful little church nestled near the top of the mountain.
The exterior door was secured against the wind, but unlocked. We took that as an invitation to go in and light a candle. Apparently casual visitors were not so welcome in the sanctuary, which was locked up tight.
We marveled at the cool patterns of the branches growing at the cliff's edge. These branches grew up for a little way, then quickly curved back down and extended below their roots.
After we left the church, we drove up a partially-paved road to an electrical tower at the mountain's peak. From there, we had a clear view of the resort-strewn waterfront area.
On our way down, we had a clear view of the less populated, uncommercialized, beautiful interior of the island.
We also found some goats that utterly enthralled Alexa.
Finally, we drove through the small town of Evia on our way back to the resort, which is located between the villages of Evia and Eretria. I loved the picturesque little dock area.
After our drive, we relaxed at the resort for a little while longer before dinner with our friends. We found a cute little sitting area,
and Alexa made friends with one of the resort's permanent residents.
Dinner was served on Greek time (in other words, late), so we went back to our room pretty much right after dinner. The next day was a full day of breakfast, swimming, lunch, and the drive back to Athens. We were joined for one last evening with our friends before they headed home Monday.
Our time at the resort was a wonderful way to relax after a few weeks of settling in to Athens and before a hectic time of accepting delivery of and unpacking our shipment from Kosovo. Eretria Village Resort is classified as a 4-star resort (with one 3-star hotel on the premises as well). I think it falls a little short of the 4-star mark, but it's still a beautiful and relaxing weekend getaway. I expect that we'll visit again.