And my final entry in this fabulous A to Z challenge is... (drum roll)...
The island of Zakynthos - also known as Zante!
We discovered Zante in 2007, abandoned it for a much less enjoyable holiday in Crete in 2008, and have been back there every summer since.
Zakynthos is a Greek island not far from the Peloponnese (part of mainland Greece). In fact, you can see the Peloponnese on a clear day. It is also close to Kefalonia, the setting for Louis de Berniere's wonderful 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin', which you may have read. (If you haven't, what are you waiting for?!)
When we first started going abroad as a family in 2005, we agreed that we wouldn't go to the same place twice, but that went to pot when we fell in love with Zakynthos. It's an amazingly green island - it rains almost all winter - and the people are like none that I've met anywhere else. They are naturally warm, can't do enough for you and genuinely value the holidaymakers. There is little in the way of work on the island apart from farming olives, raisins or wine-making, so the bulk of people's income is made during the holiday season. Sadly, the wonderful restaurants are making less and less every year - and I'm sure it's the same all over - as 'all inclusive' holidays become more popular. I can see the financial reasons for an all inclusive holiday, but a huge part of the experience for us is deciding where to eat each night and the pleasure of being recognised and greeted like old friends (year in, year out) by the restaurant staff.
If you fancy trying out Greece for the first time, I highly recommend Zakynthos. Unless you like to party with the youngsters, avoid Laganas (although the beach is beautiful) and go to one of the other resorts. Tsilivi is our haunt, but Argassi is also good, although smaller. Tsilivi is a real family resort with lots of bars and restaurants but isn't too loud or spoilt. If you want somewhere smaller and quieter, you could check out Alykanas or Alykes.
Anyway, here - for the final time - are some photos! Bye for now and thanks so much for reading!
|A perfect example of Greek warmth and friendliness - Angela (L) - the lady we always book our trips with!|
|Kefalonia in the distance|
Thanks so much for reading - this A to Z challenge has been brilliant fun!>