No matter what amazing part of the world you live in I believe it’s still important to get away, to see, smell and experience other places.
Amanda and I had a cracking good week in Greece, on Kefalonia.
Several friends laugh at the thought of us going away when we’re lucky enough to live in the place where most people want to be for their holidays.
But to me that’s part of the joy.
By getting away you’re hopefully excited by what you see, perhaps you pick up ideas from the way life’s lived in other parts, and most important of all – if you’re really lucky you’ll get back home and go “Wow!” we live in such a great place too.
That certainly happened to us.
We flew from Bristol. We miss the days when Manchester Airport was a £10 taxi ride! But distance aside, arriving back in Britain was a wonderful shock of green.
Kefalonia is Greece’s greenest isle, fed as it is by regular rains on the mountains that filter down through the limestone to feed all of the island and keep it more verdant that many of its neighbours. But oh how green is the green of Britain when the leaves are new, fresh and clean.
Where Kefalonia wins hands down is the sea temperature. I don’t care how hardy you are, swimming in a sea that cools but doesn’t leave you shivering is a damn fine thing. Many of its beaches are of limestone pebbles that look amazing under the sea, reflecting so much light and giving the sea that unbeatable azure colour. We loved driving along, seeing a good beach, pulling up and diving in for a cooling swim. I guess in the season when the island is crawling with a million tourists then that’s no where near as much fun, but in June when it’s mostly older folk who stay where they know, the roads are quiet and parking easy.
I mentioned smell as one of the experiences of travel.
The smell of Kefalonia in June is special indeed, and in a positive way, unlike the drain smell that permeates much of the Mediterranean. Fennel and thyme dominate, but as the temperature rises so the pine sap and cordyline flowers add to the scents. While walking early in the morning it occurred to me that an Ouzo hangover might not be helped by the whole countryside smelling of last night’s poison – fortunately we skipped that one this time.
Then there’s taste. Well, it’s certainly not gourmet, but we did have a couple of good and well priced meals on the trip – our favourite being Paradise Beach Restaurant above Agia Effimia, we visited it twice on this trip, and twice on our previous holiday there.
All in all a good time was had.
So back to the title. Why would you go to Cornwall when you could go to Greece?
How long have you got to listen?
While Greece was just what we needed to turn our backs on the jobs for a week, and it’s a fine and pretty place to go, driving down through Cornwall on the way home gave me a thrill to live somewhere so beautiful.
I’ve spent half of my life here and yet I’ve still only scratched the surface. A year living in St Just has left me wanting to know more of the rich and varied history of the far west, not just the recent history of the mines and the wealth and pain they brought, but also the nature of the many settlements a walk across the moors will take you through. To better understand the sea, and maybe to spend more time in it too.
And then there’s the art.
And then there’s the depth of creativity.
But above all, there’s the variety. From the rolling hills of the border lands between St Germans, Callington, right up to Bude, then heading this way next up are the lunar landscapes of the clay pits, while on the south coast there are benign estuaries and chocolate box scenes, on the north there are high rugged cliffs, Delabole slate, giving way to tin bearing granite. In the far west there are the ancient sites, and the remains of our industrial past gradually being softened by furze and bracken.
There can’t be many places with such diverse scenery all in an 80 mile stretch such as the length of our peninsula.
So back to the title, I know that for a couple a trip to Greece may be less expensive than the same time in Cornwall. I know you’ll come back from the Med with a tan, when wind burn may be all you can hope for in the far west. If you can afford both in a year then that’s perfect, but if you can only do one or the either then it should be a difficult choice. My money’s on the incredible variety of Cornwall.
But then I am extremely, and unashamedly biased!