Over the years we had spent many a happy hour discussing what it would be like to own a holiday home...as one does! In the early years we would return from our caravan holidays in Devon wishing we could afford to buy a caravan. As more money became available we would take the children to Spain and it's islands...by now we were now dreaming of a holiday apartment in the sun!
In 2001 we decided to do something about it. We bought a house in Edinburgh, renovated it in the evenings and weekends then sold it on making a hefty profit in the process. We then bought a flat went through the whole process again. It was all hard work and no play but it's not easy bringing dreams to reality!
All the time (during my day job!) I was researching, contacting Estate Agents and making phone calls. Initially we wanted to invest in Spain..shock, horror I hear some say, but scratch the surface and it's easy to find the good parts of this country. Cheap and plentiful flights from our local airport was a big draw for us, imagine finishing work on a Friday and spending the weekend in the sun!
After a few reco' trips we still could not find exactly what we were looking for within our budget. We wanted a village, 45 minutes at most from the airport and within a taxi ride to a large town for the kids to party in.
On the last day of one particular trip we were returning with long faces from the mountain side village of Competa, beautiful as it was it had one road in, one road out which would have driven me stir crazy!!! As Keith tackled the twisting and turning road my mind was doing overtime....it was time for a rethink of our plans.
We liked and still like Spain. We had not been in high season for many a year as we would visit Greece for our main family holiday.
We loved Greece. But surely Greece was such a pain to get to out of season without spending a lot of money on flights?
O.K lets think about where we have been to in Greece and where we would be happy to go back to.
We had all enjoyed our stay in Kassiopi in 1992 which offered something for everyone, it was important to us that we chose somewhere we could all enjoy, not necessarily just what Keith and I wanted.
Corfu was also one of the (slightly) easier islands to get to out of season via Athens, or cheap flight to Italy and onward by ferry. We always wanted to buy somewhere we could drive to in order to spend time in other countries thereby not spending all our holidays in the same place.
Meanwhile we had both received the good news that we were to be made redundant, Keith had been with his company for 36 years and I had been with mine 23. Whey hey, just what we wanted...a forced change with redundancy packages at the same time!
All of a sudden our criteria for our 'place in the sun' changed. The investment part became a bigger issue, we needed to put our redundancy payments to good use and not fritter them away (much as I would have enjoyed it!).
So a few days before Keith finished work I checked out a few last minute deals to Corfu. We found Arillas and Ag.Georgios South at ridiculously cheap price. There was very little information about these two places on the net in those days, but we did find a photo of a very windy and desolate Arillas which swayed our decision!
The day after Keith finished work we were on our way. It was low season, we arrived in our hire car in the early afternoon...the place was deserted...just like a ghost town! Yegods where have I brought us!!! We checked into the Mathraki and were pleasantly surprised at our lovely apartments with their lovely welcoming family.
We spent the whole of the following week out and about, returning in the evening feed and refresh ourselves for the following day's reco'. At the end of our first week we were sitting in Graziellas and it suddenly struck us that we had fallen for Arillas, no more days visting towns and villages...this crafty little place had crept up on us and into our hearts.
And that is how we found Arillas!!!
The rest is history....