Sea sun and Spetsai

Cocooning in my garden, in brilliant sunshine, in thought -why does the Rogerstown Estuary in front of my house not reflect the blue of the sky like in Greece all those years ago?; 1963; memorable for the deaths of J.F.
Kennedy and Pope John XXll 1… In my reverie I drift back in time …… .
As news of the death of this charismatic Pope was announced, my late
husband and I were en route to Dublin Airport. He was a Radio Engineer with Aer Lingus and therefore had travel Concessions with most airlines
and, we were setting out on a trip to the birthplace of Democracy -Greece.
Our odyssey began with a night in London and a very early flight to
Frankfurt the following morning. A night in Frankfurt when I felt the
warmth and comfort of a Duvet for the first time in my life. Another early morning flight to Greece where we spent 3 days in the ancient Plaka district of Athens taking in the Acropolis and other iconic landmarks.
Another lasting memory is that in Athens, our ‘Aer Lingus’ shoulder-bags were like Ambassadorial calling cards, as police, shopkeepers and everyone went out of their way to help the ‘Irish’ visitors.
Wanting to see as much of the country and its islands, we took a taxi to the port of Piraeus and boarded a ferry around the mainland, calling in at the
spectacularly picturesque islands of Poros and then Hydra where poets,
authors and songwriters found inspiration and fame; Henry Miller and
Leonard Cohen come to mind.
Our next port of call was the stunning island of Spetsai (Spetses) where the small bustling harbour was seductively inviting and so, disembarking, we succumbed to its charm. There were no cars allowed on the island which added to its serene appeal. We rented a place near the harbour; a bedroom, small kitchen and a toilet. The shower was open-air style – in the garden, where incongruously, there were two wooden rocking chairs. With the sky and sea an exquisite shade of shimmering turquoise, we settled in for the most memorable holiday of a lifetime.
We took a sightseeing boat trip around the island and watched dolphins giving balletic displays of grace and elegance in distant splashes of blue. On lazy sunny days we swam in the beautiful clear waters, roamed around the coastline with the rippling, rhythmic flapping of water at our feet, walked through olive groves, dodged rambling goats and bought honey from the farmer whose beehives added to the natural bounty of the island.
In the evenings we dozed in our rocking chairs to the chirping of crickets with the perfume of Bouganvillia blossoms wafting around us. After a refreshing outdoor shower we sauntered to the Harbour Restaurant for dinner; Greek salad, freshly caught fish that been swimming in the sea a few hours earlier, washed down with the local wine. Dining al fresco in the sultry hot air with the waves providing a seductive symphony, we danced Greek­style and merrily raised glasses to Poseidon, Bacchus and all the Gods of this ancient civilisation.
After a week of sun, sea and rest, it was time to leave this beautiful place, the memory of which still lingers over half a century later. So much has happened in the meantime but sometimes, in sad reflective mood, photographs in an album wistfully portray carefree days of youth, joy, sea, sun and Spetsai.
An ever-present reminder of our idyllic sojourn there, we named our house ‘Spetsai’, albeit soothed by the sight and sound of the sea on the point of the Portrane peninsula for the past 60 years!