A horse and carriage in Spetses.
A horse and carriage in Spetses.

A Family Villa Holiday in Spetses, Greece

By Natasha Salmi

This piece caught our travel-writing competition judge Deborah Stone's eye as “an amusing piece: a child's perspective of a hot walk to a church contrasting with a parent's enthusiasm to take in some culture, with first-person asides adding to the irony.”

We were staying on Spetses, an island off the Peloponnese, a long drive and a short water-taxi ride from Athens. We stayed with two other families in a nice villa that had three separate units. We had a big pool, a main dining area, a grass lawn, a shady sitting area next to the pool, cool walkways with lamps that are lit at night, and a view of the mountains across the sea. It was so AWESOME, but this day had a bad start…

Even when I woke up this day, I felt, in my super air-conditioned room, warmer than usual. I staggered up the stairs, like every morning, to the kitchen. I saw that my little brother was watching Road Runner.

'I’m watching Beep Beep', he said.

It turned out my parents were on a run. When they came back they decided to bring us on a walk to a church. Remember, it was 40°C (104°F) this day. I don’t like walks and I can’t stand not swimming in heat, but they said it would be fun and short like their run, but even shorter. Reluctantly, I agreed.

Let me tell you, if you can’t handle heat and it’s scorching hot, don’t go for a walk. First of all, I almost had heatstroke, and, second, it was a lot longer than they had made it sound. We were wandering around narrow streets filled with plants and flowers, and we never found the church. At one point my older sister was so hot she started to cry. My dad ran off and bought cold sodas for us.  We put the cold cans on our necks and they felt so good!

We stopped at a pizza restaurant and our friends from the villa and their three kids came over to eat with us. We were sitting outside and it was so hot we even contemplated leaving the restaurant, but finally we got used to it and everyone had a good time. After that we took a horse carriage to the main port and had ice cream. The ice cream was home-made and really yummy.

'So how are we going to get back to the villa, since the Athenians are here because it’s the weekend?' I asked. Did I mention that no cars are on the island (well, very few) are allowed and only seven taxis, and this crazy hot day was a Friday, when the people from Athens were all arriving on vacation?

We tried to wait for a taxi, but decided that was a bad idea. Then an ingenious thought came to us.

'What if we rented a scooter?' my dad suggested. After a bit of trouble getting the scooter, off we went. We were a bit scared and my dad got very lost as he ferried us, one by one, up the hill – but it was fun all the same.

When we got back to the villa I dived in the pool with my spirits raised up high and, in all, had a wonderful day. In spite of one single awful morning, the place you visit can still be very cool.

Read more about family holidays in Greece.

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