And as to where in Greece - one of the best-kept secrets of the holiday world in Europe - the little port of Vassiliki on the Ionian Island of Lefkas off the West Coast of Greece.
Why? Well at the time they offered free windsurfing in the cost of the holiday (how many hours can you get in in three weeks?), and it just happens that Vassiliki is rated as one of the top three Windsurfing Sites in the world! This is due to the topology of the bay with long headlands at either end, a flat alluvial plain, leading eventually up to a large mountain at the end. So! What did this do for windsurfing? Aha! In the morning the wind was a gentle onshore breeze, just right for beginners, and at about lunchtime (always taken in a local taverna) the wind slowly switched to a stronger breeze, blowing along the shore toward the harbour. During the afternoon, this grew and grew and also moved round, till at about 6.00p.m. (usually watched from another of the local tavernas) if Eric (The name of the wind) was in the right mood, it grew to a Force 8 offshore blast howling down the valley from the mountain behind (catabatic wind!). At this point we retired for a snooze, and at 7.30 it usually stopped dead! Just in time for the difficult decision as to where we were going to go and drink (Zeus' Bar) and eat (George's Taverna).
Thus you had really ideal conditions - beginners a.m., intermediates after that, and the real screaming loonies after that. In addition, the catabatic nature of the wind meant that all the stuffy, moist air was blown away, such that although it might be 100 degrees in the day, the evenings were delightfully cool, and it's the only place in Greece where we have needed blankets on the bed in August - no hot sleepless nights!
So - after five years continuous three week trips, we were almost natives. What's the rest of Lefkas like? Well, avoiding Nidri (Blackpool with heat) and Lefkas town - ok, but a real working Greek town, the island is absolutely fabulous - and undeveloped to this day. Scruffy in places, deserted in others, with beaches you read about but need a boat or a mountain goat to get to, Tavernas with the right ideas about food, and a campsite in Vass, run by Onassis' ex-Chef - what more do you want! Ok - so Vass has a post office, ferries to here and there and a 24-hour medical centre with no less than SEVEN doctors! Perfect for those of a nervous disposition. And while we were there - NO DISCOS! Yippeee!
And to show how terrible life there is:-
So, come along with our tour of Lefkas and Vassiliki - and if you want to go - good luck in finding any travel company that does holidays there!
Getting There! - Around the Island - What to do - Wildlife - Locals - Food & Drink - Cats! - Tavernas - Shopping.