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Published: August 7th 2017
We decide to get up early so that we can visit Myrtos Beach before it gets too crowded. I go down to get some breakfast to find that I am the only person here. Fortunately the apartment owner has a very cute Scottish Terrier called Freddy who decides to keep me company.
This is our last day in Assos, and it doesn't feel like we've been here for a week. Issy says that she has decided to re-rate Assos as a ten out of ten, and hope that some later destination can knock it off its perch. Each time we have come to Europe we have stayed at fewer places for longer than the previous time, but even a week doesn't feel like it's been enough here at Assos. Issy says that we should come here for two weeks next time. I wouldn't need too much convincing to vote to come and live here, at least in summer.
We take the long and windy road down to Myrtos Beach. There are quite a few people here even this early in the day, but we manage to find a car park at the bottom of the cliff. A man at
the kiosk tells us that we can claim any two empty sun lounges and umbrella, and someone will come around later for payment. There seems to be a definite pecking order here. The permanent rentable sun lounges and umbrellas are in three rows about thirty metres back from the water's edge. The rented umbrellas are all either white, or blue with white stripes. There is fierce competition for places in the front row of the rented section. We are too late to get a spot there, and have to settle for a pair of lounges in the second row. As Issy is about to sit down I spot a rusty nail on her sun lounge, and manage to stop her from sitting on it just in time. I think I may have just saved her from a nasty disease. As I am about to cart the nail off to a rubbish bin we realise that it is there for us to put though a hole in the umbrella stem to keep the umbrella up.
The area closest to the water's edge is reserved for the upper echelon of people who have brought their own beach umbrellas, and don't have
Upper echelon coloured umbrellas by the water's edge
to rent them. Their umbrellas are all very brightly coloured, presumably to ensure that they are very distinguishable from the rented variety occupied by the lower echelons further back from the water. I'm sure most people who come to Kefalonia would fly here. I wonder how they transport their beach umbrellas. Most of them don't seem to fold up, so I don't think they'd fit in an overhead locker. Even if they did, they've all got sharp pointy ends, and I suspect look a bit too much like weapons to be let on a plane. Maybe if you need to bring your own beach umbrella you need to come here on a boat. I suspect a lot of the people in the very front row probably own their own boats.
Issy goes for a swim. She says that the water is cool until you get used to it. I take my turn. While a lot of the beach is sandy, it is very pebbly close to the water, so I wear thongs, and leave them at the water's edge. The beach is steeply sloping, so I'm in over my head about five metres from the shore. The water seems
very salty, and much more buoyant than the water back home. I swim out, and then back to the shore. I now realise that I haven't taken enough notice of where I left my thongs. I spend a long time standing in the same spot at the water's edge, looking up and down along the beach to see if I can spot them. Eventually I look up and realise that I'm standing right in front of a group of girls sunbathing topless. I don't think they're at all convinced that I'm looking for my thongs.
I find my thongs and return to our lounges in the second row of the rented section. After a few minutes someone leaves from the two lounges in front of us. We move quickly to claim a spot in the front row, but we're too slow and someone else gets there before us. This is clearly a very cut throat business. We are going to need to get a lot smarter in future if we want to advance to the front row.
While I'm swimming, a man comes around to collect the rent for the beach umbrella. He says it costs seven Euro
for the day, and we can stay here all night as well if we want to. I wonder if anything happens here at night. The man tells Issy that he didn't sleep very well last night. I'm not sure why he tells her this. He prints out a receipt which he attaches to the umbrella with the rusty nail that is holding it open. A receipt speared by the nail is apparently proof of claim to the umbrella. As people leave, this same man needs to get to their umbrellas before the next occupants, so that he can remove the receipts. If he doesn't do this, the next occupants will claim the receipt as their own, and they won't have to pay. There's only one man, and hundreds of umbrellas. I suspect he has a very hard time running between umbrellas making sure he gets to the receipts before the next occupants, so I think it's a bit surprising that he doesn't sleep very well.
We hear a lot of whistle blowing, and assume that it's the life guards going about their business of preventing people from drowning. It seems that we are mistaken. While there are two life
guard towers on the beach, there don't seem to be any actual life guards, and the whistles are instead being blown by the parking attendants. I think that parking must be a lot more dangerous here than swimming. I wonder if anyone's keeping a lookout for sharks. I've read about sharks in Greek mythology. I wonder if they're only myths. I wonder about this a lot as I prepare for my next dip.
An English family takes up residence on the sun lounges next to ours. The father has a fresh tattoo of a pineapple on his shoulder. It's a very big pineapple, and it's all in black. He doesn't have any other tattoos, or at least any that we can see. I wonder why anyone would get a tattoo of a big black pineapple on their shoulder. Issy says that it must be a symbol of a secret society. If so, he doesn't seem to be trying to keep it very secret. I think it's more likely that he did it to win a bet, or that he got it late one night after spending a bit too long in the bar. I didn't think that you were
allowed to get tattoos while you were drunk. Maybe that's just in Australia. Things might be different here in Greece, or even in England.
We drive back to Assos. Issy rests up while I walk down through the village and up the other side of the valley to take some more photos. The views from this new vantage point are as mesmerising as they were from our previous vantage points around the harbour. We settle in for our final dinner in the main square. We're both feeling very sad, and we haven't even left yet.
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