Today we woke up here.
It’s our third week housesitting in Nea Styra, Greece. We’re on the island of Evia. From bed I look at the sea, it’s rough today, there’s been a storm passing through the last three nights and the strong winds push the fresh salty air through the eucalyptus trees and against the window panes.
The sea looks like an ocean today. Crashing and choppy, roaring in sync with the loud wind.
It’s time to let Public out, he sleeps inside tucked under the staircase where he feels safest during thunderstorms. He’s more than a decade old, so it takes him a moment to find his feet and we walk out the door into a gust of wind and rain. So much for cleaning my glasses. I give him water and feed him his breakfast, and at the sound of his kibble hitting the bowl, Kiset and Carmen are at my ankles. A symphony of meow and the loudest most percolator-like purr you can imagine. “Good Morning Kitties.” They also have breakfast, from their own bowls of course.
Don’t Count your Chickens
It’s time to check the chickens. They’ve been spoiled for choice with all the veggie scraps we create. Today there’s potato peel, carrot shavings, bell pepper stems, apple cores and cucumber skin. The last few days the one we’ve named Brave Chicken has been escaping (flying out? Stands on top of the other two?) and making us play hide and seek. Not this morning, he’s ready for the buffet. I change their water – which they see as a giant wading pool and make it rain veggies and feed. They start eagerly flapping and clucking, and once I open the door it’s a feeding frenzy.
With all the animals (minus Maddy) fed and in their proper places, it’s time to check the other houses for leaks. There are pots waiting to catch the spots where the spurts of rain test their strength. The carpenters are braving the road to come to work later today; it’s off season at the villa and time for the annual maintenance which a place like this needs. It’s isolated and only a short 30-meter cliff to the sea, it bears the brunt of many salty storms this winter. Sunny days give us a glimpse of what a perfect place this is in summer, a true greek haven.
Breakfast at the Sea
And when in Greece… I always prepare coffee on the stove. I measure out two tablespoons of the fine powder. Just the scent of it takes me back to my first visit to Greece in 2006 when I fell in love with this country. This morning Maddy and I will have breakfast inside. Normally, we eat at the outdoor table, next to the window to the Aegean.
I prepare Maddy’s tea with the water we collect by the well. It’s a tricky, slippery, and steep ride to the source. We navigate around potholes, a steep pitch, avoid the drop off into a valley, and sometimes slide on the slippery silt on the narrow lane. Yes, we are having an adventure!
I soak some gigantes beans for tonight’s dinner, Gigantes Plaki and wait for the top of the coffee to form the frothy volcano of caffeine. To the sound of stormy sea and purring kitties, I take my first sip of coffee.
Despite the misty ggray-blueshading of it, today is a beautiful day. I spend the next few hours reading, writing, and lunching with Maddy.
Time to Explore
After lunch it’s time to walk Public, this is his favorite time of day, and the weather has gifted us a break in the weather. It’s sunny and the wind is still. Public prefers to walk the road towards town instead of walking along the sea, so we follow his lead. He needs o leash, he always runs ahead about 30 meters, and then looks back at us as if to say, “ C’mon guys”. During the walks you’ll never guess his age, he’s at his most youthful and playful. He especially loves to race alongside Maddy, prancing like a deer. (Public, not Maddy that is)
Kiset comes on the walks, too. She’s a protective cat, with a very dog-like personality. We hike up the cliffs that look out over a minuscule island, just large enough for a house. (Hey, that gives me an idea…) Maddy is off to climb a crumbling cliff in the midday sun but Public and I camp out under the olive tree and enjoy the view. Kiset hops around the field of yellow flowers, pouncing after anything that moves.
Heading back home we come across a tortoise who charges at us, so we avoid her by taking a long detour through prickly bushes. Back at home, it’s time to check the property and make sure all the lights have been turned off by anyone working. As if sensing the return of the storm all 3 chickens are back in their coop, ready to be shut in for the night. We lock them up and get back inside just as the rain begins to sound on the roof.
Settling in for the Night
The wind is playing with the trees and the young green eucalyptus out the window is mimicking gymnast moves, bending in impossible ways. The rain is coming harder now, and the WiFi has blown away with the storm. Good riddance, there are plenty of good books to keep us busy here…
In three more weeks, we will be heading back to Spain where we will housesit four French Bulldogs in Madrid for a few weeks (and, of course, to say hi to friends and family) before taking another house sit in another new place: Palma de Mallorca!
We will be there for three weeks, soaking up vitamin D from the Spanish sun just 200 meters from the sea. 5 dogs, 1 horse, and us. Though we’re not happy to leave Public, Kiset, Carmen, or this beautiful house, we hope to visit them again next year!
Do you also love travel and animals? If you’d like to try housesitting think about joining Trusted Housesitters. It’s one of the best and fastest ways to find an amazing housesit. Out of all the sites, we have subscriptions to (four!) this one is our favorite. For $98 you can have one year’s access to thousands of homes that are available to sit for periods of 2 nights to one year!
Because of TrustedHousesitters deal (which you can use, too, once you join!), we will get 2 free months when you sign up using our link, so thanks in advance!