One of my favourite things about summer holidays in the sun is the opportunity to read some of the books I have stocked up all year. This year, my family ignored all the scare stories in the media about food shortages and cash restrictions in Greece and headed to Skiathos. We have been to the island two times before and had many happy memories. I am pleased to say that Skiathos visit #3 didn’t disappoint. There has definitely been a Mamma Mia effect in that numbers of tourists have increased, but certainly not to the extent that the island has been spoiled. There are still lots of beaches where you can escape the crowds, if you have a boat or a 4×4, and the increase in restaurants and cafes is a benefit to all. Nor was there any clear evidence of the financial crisis.
Although the owners of our villa said bookings from Greek families were down slightly, there still seemed to be plenty of Greeks on holiday there and eating out in restaurants. We saw no queues at cash points, and the shops were well stocked.
We stayed in Panorama, which is up on the mountain overlooking Skiathos town, where you could escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy a cooler breeze – well sometimes. Temperatures still reached 36 to 38 degrees some days, so we were glad of a pool to cool off in.
So holiday reading… well this year I loaded my Kobo with quite a few titles, including some cracking best sellers. My favourite had to be David Nicholls’ Us. I have been a fan of his since Starter for Ten, which resonated with me as a former Bristol University student of the 80s. But I think Us is his best yet and yes, it did make me cry – probably because my own son is about to leave home for university, so some of the emotions and anxieties in there felt very close to home. Thankfully though, neither my husband nor I have announced that we are leaving one another any time soon. 😉
I also enjoyed Rachel Joyce’s The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey. Having enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, reading this book was like coming home. I immediately remembered why I love Joyce’s writing so much. Her descriptions are quite beautiful, her characters real and her storylines gentle yet powerfully moving.
I raced my way through Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train. Yes it’s a real page turner and great holiday read. Then I finished with Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests, which offered a pleasing change in era and was quite excellent.
I can honestly say that I would recommend every book I read in Skiathos. I just wish I could have had another two weeks in the sun to keep that reading list going. Ah well, there is only so much Greek salad and squid you can eat.
See you again another year, Skiathos … I hope!