Back home now and trying to come to terms with Grey Britain once again. It has certainly been uniformly and dismally grey since I got back on UK soil and I’m told there has not been much else this summer.
The six weeks I was in Greece the weather was about as good as it possibly could be with scarcely a cloud in the sky the whole time and the edge taken off the early summer heat by the wind, sometimes gentle breeze, sometimes up to gale force, but never cold. Absolutely perfect for walking in the mountains and a swim in the sea.
It was a combination of revisiting favourite places and favourite walks and discovering new ones.
Nisyros is one of the most dramatic islands in terms of scenery because of the volcano and the well preserved ancient, stone-built landscapes. The inadequacy of the early-season bus service meant that I was pushed into doing longer walks than I otherwise would have done but that turned out to be thoroughly enjoyable and challenging. The friendliness and friendship of good people on Nisyros is a real blessing. It takes some of the edge off being on my own.
Though not as spectacular, Amorgos was brilliant for walking helped by good footpaths offering some long-walk options. By the end of my time on the island I was getting back to the level of fitness I had last summer. It was certainly worth spending time at both ends of the island because it gave more opportunities, though if I go back, and I would certainly hope to, I would check out other accommodation. The one place was inexpensive but really too small and the other was expensive, affordable for only a few days.
I spent more time than I would have planned on Kos and, though the end of the island which I saw doesn’t really offer my kind of holiday experience, I thoroughly enjoyed mooching around the archaeological sites with the camera. I would certainly enjoy doing that again, particularly now I have found a good hotel. Another option on Kos apparently is to visit the Western, less commercialised, end of the island which I’m told offers good mountain walking. I need to research that a bit more.
Undoubtedly top of the list was the week Ruth and Tim came out. Experiences are always better shared and it was great to share with them some of the great pleasures of Nisyros.
Another highlight was discovering new footpaths, well, new to me. On two occasions Enfys and I have had our stay on Nisyros extended because of problems with the ferries and each time we found new parts of the island we hadn’t seen and which were very different. Spending a month there meant that I could go back over favourite walks and also find new paths and combinations of routes. Very satisfying. Because it was my first time on the island, the paths on Amorgos were all new to me and therefore all fresh and exciting. Again, being there for two weeks meant that I could revisit paths and put together combinations of routes making it more challenging.
And seeing and photographing the snakes on both Nisyros and Amorgos were certainly highlights.
I thought that this year it would be easier being there on my own but in truth, if anything I found it harder. It isn’t simply being on my own, it’s being there without Enfys. People, well meaning I’m sure, often say that the first year is the most difficult. I can only say that for me, year 2 is certainly no easier and if anything more difficult.
In a way that was compounded by the relative difficulty of internet connection which meant it was very difficult to keep in touch via Skype. I started to write the blog last year as a substitute for sharing things with Enfys. I managed to keep that going and it again helped. It was good to hear back from people with whom something I had said chimed.
Will I go back later in the summer? I really don’t know. Being away for long periods means that I’m not in touch with family and friends. It also means that the garden gets out of control. Before I went I had generally got the worst of it under control after last summer’s neglect and the devastation of the winter. It isn’t as bad this time but there is still a great deal to do to just get back to square one. Thursday I collected two big recycling boxes of seed heads from the worst offending weeds before it started to rain again.
But that’s the problem. I started to rain again. This is now ‘high summer’ and it’s grey and wet and miserable. I love walking in the mountains and down to the coast but it takes all the fun out of it for me having to wear thick socks and waterproof boots and over-trousers and cags and hats. That’s fine in the winter. It galls me to do so in the summer.
Truth be told I think I’m now suffering from SAD. The thought of warm sun on my back is just so appealing.
So will I go back later in the summer? I really don’t know yet.
One thing I do know is that it is time to review whether I continue with the blog. I started it at the beginning of the Greek trip last year and kept it going through the Autumn into my trip to Canada with Ruth and Tim, and then through the spring leading up to this year’s Greek trip. Maybe I’m getting boring and this has reached a natural pause. I could blog about tackling the jungle which is now my garden and the crumbling fabric of the house and its need for TLC.
Perhaps blog readers will let me know what they think.