People all around me seem to be going on holiday. Every day a new holiday snap pops up on my social media channels – an envious Instagram post of a beach at sunset, filtered Facebook photos of carefully positioned holiday cocktails by the side of a pool, even Twitter updates about flight delays…
As I have no holidays in the pipeline, I’ve resorted to looking back over my old holiday snaps, and conjuring up so many nostalgic feelings, it’s probably verging on unhealthy…
But one trip in particular got me reminiscing…
In 2014, my boyfriend and I went on our first holiday together. We decided to go to Corfu, a destination that multiple airlines fly to, with a hotel right on the beach. There was a town nearby to explore, boat trips to go on and, important for us, both a big pool, gym and of course the beach. It was an easy holiday – a typical package deal.
But there was a hidden treasure we didn’t expect.
We’d been told by the hotel about the nearby town of Pentati, along with the beautiful beach that could be found directly below it, and we decided to head over and check it out. We chucked on our trainers and asked for advice on how to get there.
We had two options –we could go by road and face a slightly longer journey but an easy walk nonetheless. Or we could be adventurous, find some walking shoes and try going round the cliff. We were told never to try this route in the rain and to summon up some courage before attempting it, but otherwise it should be ‘fine’…
Obviously we chose the trickier route.
To start with, we didn’t see what all the fuss was about. We walked over rocky paths, inclining gradually with lush greenery around us and a beautiful view to the horizon.
Once we’d gone a bit further though, the realisation dawned on us.
Just ahead, the path narrowed, and suddenly we were right by the edge of the cliff face. If I walked a few steps to my right, there was a steep drop.
To get any further, you had to literally edge yourself across the narrow path. A path that was uncomfortably close to the edge, and fairly uneven. Tiny stones littered the way, and the edge was menacingly jagged.
Yes, I had one hand on the wall to my left at all times.
Yes, I accidentally kicked a few loose stones and watched them tumble quickly off the edge.
Yes. I was ever so slightly scared. Any wrong footing and I felt like I would be going the same way as those stones…
Okay, perhaps I’ve dramatised that a tiny bit – but the path was unbelievably narrow and we did literally have to edge our way along!! The only thing I could think was that I hoped whatever awaited us on the other side was worth it…
After what seemed like forever, we finally ended up on safer ground. We stopped to refuel and quench our thirst, but we realised that there was absolutely no sign of any village or beach, as we’d been led to believe.
We (ironically) ended up joining the road, walking past empty houses and fields. We bumped into two people who told us that if we carried on walking, we’d get to a little village with a restaurant where we could stop and refresh. As for the beach, they simply shrugged.
Deciding we’d come too far to turn back, we carried on.
Finally, we saw the edge of Pentati.
We decided to explore and I’m so so glad we did. We wandered through quaint passageways between terracotta coloured houses, smiling at an old man sitting outside his house watching the world go by.
As we walked down one passageway, we ended up looking out onto a simply amazing view. We could see a complete stretch of beautiful coastline. It was breathtaking.
What was almost as incredible was that we were the only people walking around. Pentati was blissfully empty. There were no tourists, no hotels, no cars even. It was a little haven tucked quietly away.
We needed food before we headed back, so we stopped off at the restaurant we’d found just at the entrance to the village – Angela’s Taverna. Rather than being taken straight to a table, the owner shook both our hands, took us into the kitchen and showed us what he’d been cooking! We were stunned – everything smelt so amazing and looked so delicious, that we felt spoilt for choice.
He decided that after our journey, we should try a bit of everything. So he led us up to his roof terrace where we bravely fought off wasps and enjoyed a breather, before a banquet was laid before us.
And everything was INCREDIBLE. We had refreshing salads, sardines in tomato sauce, baked aubergine with green beans (which he grew himself) along with fresh bread for dipping. Everything was delicious.
On the way out, my boyfriend spotted a football shirt on the wall for the team he supports – Chelsea. Turns out, this lovely man from a tiny, tucked away village on the coast of Corfu supported the same team as my boyfriend. Discovering this, he insisted we had a photo together to send back to him.
We posed outside for photos, chatting about the island (as best we could with his limited English and our ignorant lack of Greek) and then left, promising to tell everyone about his little hideaway.
And we did.
So when you go on holiday take your own little adventure. We are now obsessed with planning our own trips, researching the areas we visit and chatting to locals to discover the ‘true’ identity of a place, visiting different places to just those the travel guides tell you about.
Finding this little gem off the beaten track, really made our trip special and it’s the thing we remember most about our holiday.
In my opinion, there’s nothing worse than an overcrowded beach where you’re fighting for your own space of sand. But an idyllic village tucked away, or a quiet cove which only the locals know about, is a tiny bit of heaven. Even if you do have to go through hell to get there… *
*We took the road route back by the way…