A bowl of yellow and red fruit rests on a brown table in the lounge of our Bees Knees rental villa, in the Wilderness, South Africa, where you can enjoy a magnificent ocean view right from your lounge.

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Longing for Lesvos

In April this year we were supposed to fly from South Africa to the island of Lesvos to spend time putting the finishing touches on Philoxenia Retreat, our beautiful stone farmhouse in Plomari, preparing it for our first holiday rentals since buying and renovating. Devastatingly for the whole world, Covid19 hit and we were forced to cancel our trip. We soon came to terms with missing spring in Greece and possibly not sailing this season, but we were worried as we still had things to do in and around the house to get it ready for the season. However, over the next few weeks all of the bookings we had in our calendar disappeared like smoke. So, the pressure was off to get it ready, but we still felt sad. However much we have loved the glorious winter that the Garden Route in South Africa is experiencing, we are longing for Lesvos.

Our friends keep us in touch and have sent us photos of spring flowers, of hikes in the mountains and picnics in mountain villages. The photos of our lush citrus orchard, branches bending with unpicked oranges make our mouths water for the sweet freshly squeezed juice and the tangy, bitter marmalade we make. Nikos, our friend and care-taker of Philoxenia Retreat, has picked oranges and given them away, and he has also harvested and pressed the few olives from our trees producing a few liters of oil that we can't wait to taste when we get there.

Except we have no idea when that will be. Our borders are still closed and the situation in South Africa is getting worse, but Greece is emerging from a very strict, successful lockdown and is opening up to tourism. Slowly intrepid travelers from all over Europe are venturing to a welcoming Greece with careful and practical precautions in place. We spoke a few days ago to Nikos and Eleni, our indispensable coordinator, and they told us that Plomari is strting to buzz with the summer vibe. A steady stream of intrepid travellers are once more enjoying the sunshine, the tavernas are cooking up a storm, the beaches are filling up and the cafes are a cautious bustle of activity. So now the pressure is back on to make sure Philoxenia Retreat is ready – and Eleni, Nikos and housekeeper Anna have not let us down. They have been busy organising, painting, scrubbing, cutting grass, clipping trees and making sure that Philoxenia Retreat is fresh, sparkling and radiant!

We are delighted and only wish we could be there, but the good news is that Europeans and others who are allowed to travel again, can think about taking time-out to visit Lesvos - safe, peaceful and untouched by mass tourism. Our traditional farmhouse, just a 10 minute walk through the delightful, unspoiled village to the central square and just a further 5 minutes walk to one of the many beaches, is ready to welcome you! Take advantage of the 25% discount off all listed rates for this year. Contact us for more details.

(video) The magical road to Ballots
Loving the secret season at Ballots Nature Reserve

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