Love this image and yes it will be me in time. Why hoarse whispering, well having been a naturist for nearly 20 years now, sadly it’s still not a thing you can broadcast if you want to remain in the mainstream.
I came to Naturism after a particularly busy year where I was effectively frazzled and burnt out. So burnt out in fact I booked the first ticket out of Gatwick airport going anywhere. I ended up flying to Athens and then the following morning on a small aircraft to a beautiful Greek island Σκιάθος (Skiathos).
The journey across from Athens to Skiathos was noisy and nerve wracking, the single engined plane vibrating all the way. I stumbled out into the warm morning sunshine tired but happy to be away from work. I went through passport control/customs and picked up my bags. It was the first time in my life that I had just booked a flight with no holiday accommodation booked. I wandered aimlessly out of the airport doors and thought what now?
Within seconds I was confronted /affronted by a dusty dark haired unshaven greek guy in a holey singlet, dirty shorts and flip flops, driving the dirtiest clapped out Opel Astra I had ever seen. “You need a room?” “You come see my room, I rent you a room, its very nice” I politely declined and he said “No you come with me I have a lovely room you won’t regret it” I politely declined again and said I’m getting a taxi to the Tourist information office and with that a smart chap with a Mercedes taxi pitched up and said something which I took to be unpleasant in Greek and ushered me to his taxi put my rucksack in his boot and told me he would be a few minutes but not to worry.
I sat and waited and waited, then finally my smart taxi driver arrived back with three other people, put their suitcases in the boot and tied it down with bungees. I wasn’t used to this, normally when I jumped in a cab it was my cab, they took me to where I wanted to go and when we arrived I paid them. Normally, if I wanted to share I asked other people if they’d like a ride, but hey this was Greece what did I know. So we set off from the airport into town – not that I knew, but a short journey of about 10 minutes. We turned onto the waterfront and about halfway along the cab stopped and said he couldn’t take me to the Tourist Information office because it was up a pedestrian precinct and this was the nearest he could get!
Tired and hungry I paid my share and jumped out of the cab to be confronted by Nikos, the guy in the singlet and dirty shorts with the filthy Opel Astra. He said “You need a room?” “You come see my room, I rent you a room, its very nice” I politely declined and he said “No you come with me I have a lovely room you won’t regret it” I politely declined again and said I’m going to the Tourist information office in Papadiamantes Street. Nikos said “No No No you must see my room”. “You come with me” grabbing my arm and dragging me towards the Astra. “If you don’t like the room I will bring you back into town and take you specially to the Tourist Information Office” I was too tired to argue and that was the start of many very happy holidays in Skiathos.
Nikos took me to his white painted villa on the edge of town with three apartments up above his. We went up the concrete steps with beautiful pink bougainvillea trailing over the balustrading to a spartan studio apartment with double doors onto a balcony overlooking the town. It had a small kitchenette, a shower room and a double bed to collapse into. It was perfect and cost pennies compared to the nearest hotels.
Nikos said “what do you think? is it ok? do you want me to take you to the Tourist Office?” I looked up, smiled and said thank you it’s perfect. Nikos said “good good good you’ll be very happy” I crashed out and few hours later Nikos knocked on the door and woke me up saying “come with me, I take you to my friend, I get you a good deal on a scooter, you gonna need to get about” and so I jumped in the dirty Astra and off we went into to town. We met his friend and there was some chatter and arm waving and the next thing I know I’m trying on helmets. Nikos did get me a good deal. Most scooter hire was €19-€20 a day and mine was €14 a day including insurance and excess.
I guess never judge a book by its cover, Nikos was a diamond. He left and I had the usual tutoring etc and when I rode back up to the apartment Nikos was at the cafe on the ring road with his friends drinking very black black coffee playing backgammon.
On the way I stopped at the supermarket, picked up some tomatoes, salad greens, olives, olive oil, vinegar, fetta cheese, crusty bread and a bottle of the local vino and went back to my balcony for supper and spent the evening reading and watching the shadows creeping up the peninsula on the other side of the airport until it was dark. The end of a long first day in Skiathos and my Grecian baptism.
μέχρι την επόμενη φορά (until next time) Antio