Monday, July 30, 2007

Altii inaintea noastra

M-a sunat Oana si a zis ca exista un om pe lume caruia i s-a indeplinit ca acest om a scris o carte.. Deci zic in mintea mea: fata asta nu-i nebuna ca viseaza, ca iata, au visat si altii. Vi-l prezentam deci pe dl. Steve Allen.

"Our Thassos Dream Come True. Volume 1 - The story so far..."

The events described in the following pages of this composition are an actual account of our journey from the outset of booking our first holiday abroad and subsequent trips to Thassos.
The purchase of our land and build of our Olive Tree House, to the actual time where our move from England to Thassos in Greece becomes a reality.
We began at the outset looking forward to a great first holiday abroad with a view of visiting other places in various countries over the coming years of our lives. We were not to know that we were going to fall in love with such a wonderful island housing many wonderful people with unassuming and friendly natures.
We visited places including the Greek islands of Rhodes and Zakynthos, Athens and the Spanish Balearic island of Menorca. Although we enjoyed ourselves in all of these places with all of them having their own beauty and interests, we always had the pull back to the charm and special beauty of Thassos. In our view, it really is the Jewel of the Aegean Sea.
In the early days, we came back from Thassos with the anticipation of eagerly awaiting our next visit. We would arrive back in England to prepare for our back to normal, every day type lives again accepting that this what everyone does after a holiday. After each trip, the time to leave became more difficult and we would count the days down to when we could return in what some could call an obsession with the island of Thassos.
We realised that a lot of people return from a holiday with brilliant memories, as we had done ourselves before after holidaying in England in the past.
We would be the first to admit that those English holidays were very special too for varying reasons, especially as these involved the growing up and progress through life of our children who we hold very dear to our hearts.
Nothing though could have prepared us for the feelings we were to have for Thassos and the relaxed, stress free and idyllic lifestyle it had to offer.
This is why I would say that obsession is not necessarily true but rather a simple love affair with the place and the way of life it offers.
It is well documented that many people return with affectionate memories and with time these fade to just that memories, so that preparations can be made for the yearly trip to somewhere else next time, but for us this was different. Yes, this is easy to say but time had proved that it is different and not just the obsession as mentioned earlier.
So, we started to re-evaluate what our own country of England has to offer.
I mentioned before that our children are most important to us above anything else, but, they do grow up. As they have grown older they have proven to us that they do need us, but not necessarily on the everyday basis that they used to. We are proud parents after all and parents are supposed to be there for their children when needed. This will always be the case, but as they grow older this need is not as often as in adolescence. Their future needs can therefore normally be dealt with through a four hour trip back to England if necessary. We have five daughters you see, and they are also always there for each other too.
With that important subject dealt with through our own discussion and soul searching, what else besides family members is there to keep someone in England today? According to our research, not a lot!
We see our country with rising crime, high taxes, high prices, lowering standards of education and the very undesirable state of the health service to name but a few. We struggled to think of many positives except that England is our roots and there is nothing we can do about that, but in many ways the ’proud to be British’ slogan has lost its appeal somewhat.
To this end, when we can eventually make our move to Greece, it will be a happy and sad day to be sure. One thing is certain and that is it will be the right move for us, no doubt.

The words to come are extracted from diaries I have made on each and every trip to Thassos.

Hundreds of photographs are also available, as is endless documentation of our holidays, itineraries, flights, places of interest and of our house build from land searching to completion of the build.

Chapter 1
Booking the first holiday

It all started…….
when we one evening looked out of the condensation covered window at the winter scene of pouring rain backlit by the street lamp at the end of the back garden. It was cold and wet and we were wondering if this was the setting for next summer!
We decided that maybe we could go abroad for our holiday next year. I had never been abroad before and Debbie had only been once – to Malta.
The next day in October 2000, Debbie brought some holiday brochures home from a quick trip earlier to the local town centre of Thetford, in Norfolk.
After tea, we settled down to see what was on offer. It all looked very daunting! There were one week, two weeks, all inclusive, bed breakfast&evening meal, self catering – what did it all mean and which was the best choice for us?
All of the holidays on offer obviously looked very nice. They are supposed to aren’t they! How could they be sold otherwise?
After more investigating and leafing through the pages, we decided that we need to narrow down our choice to a country at least. Greece looks very inviting we thought. Why? So did the other countries. Greece looks very nice we thought again! Why? Oh no not again. We have to choose. Ok Greece it is.
Little did we know what was lying ahead and that this was to be the best choice we ever made.
We slept on it, had many more thoughts about our big adventure and decided to book a holiday in Greece.
The next thing in our indecisive routine was where in Greece shall we go. As complete novices, we didn’t have a clue where in Greece was best or which island was popular or where the weather was best. After more confusion we realised that we have to have some guidelines. Ok we thought, what do we want and not want.
Our criterion was not too exhaustive:
Quiet, not too expensive, hot or at least warm, not too many clubbers. Surely this couldn’t be too difficult to find.
We looked through the Thomas Cook Greece brochure and discounted the places that were always in the news like Corfu, Kos, Crete and Rhodes. These were probably great places too but hearing of the stereotypical lager louts and night clubbing and the English man with his England shirt on with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other sweating profusely didn’t really appeal to us. We now know and realise that all of the Greek destinations mentioned have good and bad areas like anywhere else, but we didn’t know that then and apologise in advance for our ignorance.
We used a pin with our eyes closed and came up with Thassos. Great that’s it, Thassos.
Little did we know what was lying ahead and that this was to be the best choice we ever made.
Thassos, Thassos, Thassos. Great, but where in Thassos. Oh no, not again!
We decided on the Ionnis Golden Club hotel in Golden Beach. The brochure mentioned that at the start of May the offer was two weeks for the price of one. Why? Is the weather not so nice then, or is everything closed then? No surely not. Let’s go for it.
Little did we know what was lying ahead and that this was to be the best choice we ever made.
The next step was to get it booked up so that we really know that we are going abroad next year. Maybe if we phoned the number on the brochure we might get a discount. Whether we did or didn’t we will never know but we were very happy with the outcome. I spoke to a man at Thomas Cook called Norman who was very friendly and helpful. He ran through all of the details and at the end came up with the price, but, he said that he would do a check and telephone us the next evening just in case he could do us a better deal.
The news the next evening was that the deal was two weeks at the Ionnis Golden Club Hotel, Golden Beach, Thassos Island from May 2nd 2001 with Thomas Cook, flying from Gatwick Airport south terminal at 06:15 with a £550 price tag for two. With the aid of the trusty credit card it was booked. Yes! That’s it then. At last after some big decision making it was all booked up. Now we just have to wait for the holiday start date to come nearer and nearer.
Little did we know what was lying ahead and that this was to be the best choice we ever made.
Over the days, weeks and months ahead before our holiday we did extensive research about the island of Thassos and Greece in general via the internet and magazines. This research only proved to confirm that we had made a good choice. Feed back from people who had been there gave very positive information which pleased us immensely.
Debbie bought some books and researched more about Thassos and created an idea of what we were to expect and places of interest for us to visit while we are there.
Gradually we were becoming more excited especially after Christmas, Easter and a few birthdays had come and gone, May is almost here.
Our suitcases had been packed for weeks with holiday clothes, foreign electric plug adaptors, sun block, after sun cream, cameras and my all important lists along with the all important traveller’s cheques..
I love my organisational lists!!!
After all of the planning, it was the Tuesday morning of the day that we were starting our travelling for our holiday and as you can imagine, we are looking forward to it so much.
Little did we know what was lying ahead and that this was to be the best choice we ever made.
Read on ……."

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