When you return to the same resort on holiday six years running, there’s obviously no doubt that it’s a place you love, and is somewhere special. But I think one of the main things that sets Porto Sani Village in Halkidiki apart from other places we’ve travelled to over the years, is the staff.
Obviously, having been there six times, we know many of the staff pretty well – I’d go so far as to say some of them are good friends (two of whom are coming to stay with us in November). There are a lot of seasonal bar and waiting staff, in the main in their early 20s, on secondment from hospitality management university studies, mostly from Eastern Europe.
Overall, I’d much rather spend my time interacting with the staff rather than the other guests – let’s just say that the majority of British people who frequent Sani are a ‘certain type’. But that’s a whole post for another day!
We were invited out with the staff in the evenings several times this year – on one evening we were taken out to dinner in a local village (fabulous night), and on another couple of occasions, we partied till the wee small hours in various too-cool-for-school beach bars.
At some point on one of the evenings, I found myself sitting for a moment alone on the periphery of the crowd watching it all going on around me, and oh, how I yearned to be 20 again – tanned, slim and effortlessly gorgeous, with enough energy to party until it’s getting light then turn up for work at 10 am the following morning; and having wildly inappropriate love affairs with gorgeous Mediterranean men; and no responsibilities other than for myself.
And I wanted to tell them all somehow (because with hindsight I know it to be true), that they should cherish every moment of the fun they were having, because in the blink of an eye it will all be over, they’ll be married with kids and up to their necks in mortgages, school runs, laundry and tedious routine. Spontaneity will become a last minute family meal at Wetherspoons on Friday evening, not dancing till dawn under the stars on the Med.
Even though I’d done all the same things that they were doing now – I worked in a bar in Spain for a summer after my A levels, went to university (in Wales rather than Kiev, admittedly), and spent five years travelling the world and having an absolute whale of a time on board cruise liners – I felt INSANELY jealous of them all.
Don’t get me wrong, I like my life now, but I would give anything to go back and live my early 20s all over again. And I think this holiday just brought it home to me how far away those days are now, and made me sad that I will never have them again.