July 2009

July 2009

Greece In July

Greece In July, July 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Greece and her islands are in the enviable position of being able to enjoy all year that extraordinarily blue of skies that instils the feel-good factor in many of us. But by July the other colours that she is naturally blessed seem even brighter and, if possible, more beautiful than at other times of year.

Greece In July, July 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

The ever changing greens of the hillsides, hues taken from the olive groves, ancient cypress trees, vines and grasses that flourish thanks to the winter rains and warming spring sunshine. In the towns and villages the brilliant splashes of colour are vibrant against the whites and creams of freshly painted walls. These come not only from the beautiful and abundant bougainvillea and oleanders; but also from tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and zuchinni that grow in old feta tins on steps and ledges as well as in gardens and allotments.

Perhaps the most sumptuous in all this feast of colour is that found when looking out to sea. The most aquamarine tones through greens to the inky blue blacks, the sunlight dancing, sparkling white gold shimmers on the gentle ripples that pass for waves. Words alone cannot capture the true beauty of that sight.
Add to it all the amazing yellows, reds and oranges that visit us almost every evening as the sun dips low on the horizon, and it is beyond doubt that Greece has the most dazzling palette of colours any artist could dream of!

A Good Question

A Good Question, July 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

At Agni Travel we are used to questions like "Are there any cats at the villa?" Or, "what is the water temperature in the pool in the mornings?"
We normally have no problem in answering these queries, as someone in the office will always know the answer. However, one quiet Thursday afternoon an email arrived in the inbox of our Paxos office, which enquired, "how many people can you get in a Fiat Punto?"
Now whether it was a moment of madness brought on by the heat, or a genuine attempt to provide an accurate and meaningful answer we are not entirely sure. But the query was seen as a challenge, and that challenge was taken up.
Car hire company employees might find it appropriate to look away now.

A Good Question, July 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

A Punto was duly acquired, along with a number of 'willing' volunteers. Totally ignoring the frequent cries of "Oi, watch what you're doing with your elbow/knee/chin", it was, after much pushing, shoving and mathematical precision, ascertained that you can, if you pack the boot properly, get 12 people into a Fiat Punto.
Spurred on by this discovery it was decided that the vehicle should then propel its passengers from Gaios to Lakka, but for some inexplicable reason it only managed about a metre.
At least you can be assured that if you ask Agni Travel a question about your holiday, we will make every effort to ensure you get a concise and accurate response!

A Good Question, July 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Local Paxiot, showing off with how much he can carry on a moped!

Express Travel

Few of us can say that we have never heard of Jules Vernes book, 'Around the World in 80 Days'. However, after hearing rumours of Nathan's recent trip to the far flung corners of Kefalonia I wondered whether he may have tried to rewrite the story, condensing it into 'Around Half the Ionians in 18 Hours'.

Express Travel, July 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Curious, I went in search of the truth. After many dead ends and false leads I found it when I sneaked a peak at his diary:

Sunday 21st June.

05:30hrs. Board Corfu to Igoumenista ferry. Sea calm, sun rising, snack bar sandwiches are fresh.
06:45hrs. Disembark safely and without taking the seasickness tablets. Head for Preveza Airport.
07:00hrs. Stop in airport car park and settle down for 40 winks in the back.
07:02hrs. Got cramp. Back seats of a sports car are too small for my 6ft frame. Move to front seat.
07:45hrs. Rudely awaked by passing Boeing 737. Fortuitous really as I haven't set my alarm.
07:46hrs. Head for Lefkada. A quick pit stop at the Agni office in Nidri en route.
08:30hrs. After fully refuelling (large coffee and croissant) its onwards to Vassiliki in the south.
09:00hrs. Board Vassiliki to Fiskado ferry. Kefalonia is calling.
10:00hrs. Disembark ferry. Feel slightly queasy but unsure if it was the crossing or the croissant.
10:05 hrs. Take scenic coastal route to Lixouri to view a new villa.
13:00hrs. Board Lixouri to Argostoli ferry. It probably was the croissant as I feel OK this time.
14:00hrs. Drive from Argostoli to Katelios to look at some more villas. Prioritise my workload. Got to keep my strength up, so lunch first, viewings after sustenance.
17:00hrs. Retrace my steps to Fiskado and board the Lefkada ferry. Feel sure it was a dodgy croissant.
18:00hrs. The long drive to the mainland and Igomenitsa lays ahead, and not a Little Chef in sight.
22:15hrs. Board Igomenitsa to Corfu ferry. Sea calm, moon bright, snack bar sandwiches are stale.
23:30hrs. Disembark safely and no need for the seasickness tablets. Head for Agni and home. I wonder if there are any leftovers at the taverna?

A battered BlackBerry helping to make trips like this possible!, Express Travel, July 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

So there you have it. The story of one man on a mission with only his car and his appetite for company. In 18 short hours he managed two mainland journeys; three islands traversed; four villas visited and five ferries boarded. The lengths some people will go to in search of that perfect holiday destination for their clients.

Apparently, since this race against time Nathan has also managed to slot in a day trip to the UK, but more of that next month. You heard it here first folks!

So 'til next month...

So 'til next month..., July 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

If you are returning to the Greek islands this month on holiday, you will find very few changes from previous years, apart, of course, from the implementation of the ban on smoking in public places. Don't forget, this ban is designed to protect people who work in public places from the effects of 'passive smoking', and is not intended as a ban on people smoking in general.

For those of you travelling to the southern Aegean islands such as Symi be warned, take plenty of high factor sun screen and take care out there! The Ionians have been basking in temperatures that have reached the low 30s in recent days, but further south temperatures have been fast hitting the 40s.

And finally... The last few days of June saw a disproportionately high number of politicians on Corfu when it hosted the informal meeting of OSCE foreign ministers. Residents and visitors alike noticed an unusually prolific police presence around the Town, whilst youngsters were delighted to play 'spot the helicopters' that were patrolling the coastline. It is reported that it was a very productive meeting, and a beneficial knock on effect has been that a number of roads have been improved around the Kommeno and Gouvia areas where the event took place.

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Ships, boats and planes? Let the taxi take the strain!

Ships, boats and planes?  Let the taxi take the strain!, July 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Last month the BBC reported on an innovative scheme launched in the City of London to help combat the travel problems caused by a 48 hour Tube strike. This novel new idea? Taxi sharing.
Yellow vested officials used a complex system of colour cards and queues to organise commuters arriving at Waterloo Station into groups that could share their onward journey.
It's not often that Greece finds itself leading the UK when it comes to new ideas, but in this instance England is certainly dragging her heels by comparison.
In Athens taxi sharing is the norm. It is nearly impossible to complete a taxi journey there without having the opportunity to pass the time of day with a fellow passenger.
And nowhere is the concept more prevalent than on the little island of Paxos. Here the hydrofoil carries up to 150 people to the island in each crossing. Many, especially during the summer, are holidaymakers seeking a taxi transfer to their accommodation once they alight onto terra firma. So, to put a new slant on an old joke, how many taxis does it take to transfer a boatload of passengers in Paxos? Answer, just 5!
The taxi drivers of Paxos have sharing down to a fine art, and travel weary visitors spend surprisingly little time hanging around waiting for their transfer vehicle. Perhaps the lads at Waterloo should pop over for a training day.

Meet Janice and family. A story of everyday Greek life.

For those few of you who may never have met Janice Manos and her family, let me take a few lines to introduce them. Janice is British by birth. Brought up in the deepest of Lincolnshire fenlands she and her best pal, Sharon Jones, decided to do the grand tour way back in those heady days of 1984. Janice and Sharon had both completed their A levels and been offered places at Hull University, Sharon to study chemistry and Janice an art history degree. Before embarking on this educational feast they decided on a working holiday, spending for three months island hopping around Greece.
They flew out early one June morning in a none to regal Monarch Airlines Airbus. With rucksacks full of hope and anticipation and purses filled with money hard earned as Saturday girls at Woolies, they made their way to the closest beach.
After booking into state of the art accommodation (complete with flush loo and a shower head that dripped warm water between noon and 3pm), the girls went out in search of excitement. Spying a hire shop they decided to splash out on a couple of Honda 50s and go to see what they could find.

Meet Janice and family.  A story of everyday Greek life., July 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Janice found a pothole...
As she regained consciousness she became aware of a mop of dark curly hair and a concerned gaze topped by pair of liquid chocolate eyes looking down at her. Holding out a hand, Kostas Manos helped Janice to her feet and led her to his parents' bar, Taverna Manos, where he plied her with ice for the bump on her head, iodine for the grazed knees and Metaxa for the shock. The die was cast!
Sharon went on to visit 23 Greek islands in 12 weeks, before achieving her 2:1 in Applied Chemistry. She is now Head of Research for a large pharmaceutical company in Birmingham.
Kostas offered Janice a job in the taverna and she never quite made it as far as Hull.

Meet Janice and family.  A story of everyday Greek life., July 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Janice and Kostas married in 1985. Janice delighted her in laws by becoming pregnant almost immediately and producing not one, but two babies, Maria and Manolos. Eighteen months later Spirodoula arrived, and by 1989 their family was complete with the arrival of triplets, Makis, Akis, and Takis.
When his parents retired in the summer of '92 Janice and Kostas took over the daily running of the business, renamed the '2-1-3 Taverna' in recognition of Kostas' paternal prowess, which to this day remains the talk of the village.
Kostas, always 'mine host', can oft be found at a table in the taverna holding court with his numerous old pals, whilst Janice is never happier than when serving the fabulous Greek dishes that she has become so adept at cooking in the tiny taverna kitchen.

Meet Janice and family.  A story of everyday Greek life., July 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

A plethora of local information and knowledge, Janice is always the first to offer advice to friends, family, relatives, neighbours and guests, in fact anyone willing to listen.
As for the rest of the family? Well these days Maria is married to Yergos, who runs a car hire business. They have two children, Nikos and Katerina. Maria sometimes helps in the 2-1-3 whilst Janice spends time honing her art as the perfect Ya-ya to her grandchildren. Her brother Manolos inherited his mother's wanderlust, and after several years working for an airline is now finding himself, as Janice describes it, at a yoga retreat in India.
Spirodoula, determined not to follow in her mother's footsteps, is studying art history at Athens University, whilst the triplets are currently in their last few months of their national service. During their home leave, which is most weekends, they dance at the taverna and sometimes wait at table.
Over the next few months we will be hearing more of everyday life at the 2-1-3 Taverna and the comings and goings in the seaside village of Savalia. But for now the sun is shining and Janice's famed Stifado is on a low heat. Kostas is, as always, sitting at his favourite table. He's currently having a siesta, glass of retsina firmly clutched in one hand and head gently nodding into a bowl of fresh tzatsiki.

Meet Janice and family.  A story of everyday Greek life., July 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Agni Travel Brochure

Agni Travel Brochure, July 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Now into our 7th year, we thought it was time for a professional makeover!
With more Greek Islands being added to our listings and our move into Italy where Tuscany, Southern Italy and Snow Skiing are planned for next season, it was time to improve our image.
You will start to see the new logos and website colours very soon.
This month too, our printed brochure is now available. Email sales@agni.gr for a copy to be posted to you.

Time for a clean caption!

Time for a clean caption!, July 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

In May, the Greek and UK Toyota MR2 car club joined up with a mainland and Corfu meet. Events were arranged that included driving to the top of Mount Pantocrator, mainland coastal 'sprints' and trips to Lefkas and Paxos. During that time, some of the cars need cleaning...........
Add your Caption

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