Pisso Livadi, Greece – my new happy place
Pisso Livadi. When I read that name 2 months ago before our visit to Greece I didn’t have an image in my head at all. After spending a week there recently, I love it so much I am even using it as my new ‘happy place’.
‘What is a happy place?’ I hear you ask…
Before I go on, let me explain the ‘happy place’ concept. This is a place you can visit in your head when you need some respite from the craziness that is life today. I was taught this technique many years ago as part of learning meditation skills. The idea is that you picture a place, real or imagined, where you feel completely safe and where everything is beautiful. As part of the meditation, you walk a path to this place and spend time there enjoying your surroundings.
For many years, in my head, this place was a beautiful cove beach we used to visit when I was a child. Over the years I’ve spent lots of time there in my head even though I haven’t physically visited for a long time.
I think I’ve found my new happy place.
Welcome to Pisso Livadi – one of the happiest places on earth
From the second we arrived on the island and were collected by our lovely driver (whom we didn’t realise at the time was Lefteris, the owner of the hotel we were staying in) I had a sensation of calm and warmth that I haven’t experienced in many other places.
Piso Livadi is the opposite side of the island from Parikia, where the port is located. It’s about a 25 minute drive, which gives you some idea of the size of the whole island to get from one side to the other.
We arrived at midnight and Lefteris drove us straight to the hotel. I could see the twinkling lights of the little villages along the way and felt the warm breeze on my face as we drove along with all the windows down. Traditional Greek music piped through the old radio and set the scene for an amazing welcome to this lovely place.
We arrived at our home for the next week, the fabulous Hotel Aloni, and were greeted by Lefteris’ beautiful daughter Stella. I’m pretty sure that by the time anyone leaves this hotel, they are completely in love with Stella and our whole family was no exception. There’s something about this girl that is very special and the magic that her and her family weave into this little place is worth many a visit.
Good morning sunshine
We awoke in the morning and stepped out onto our enormous balcony to be greeted by the most incredible scene – steep slopes covered in traditional whitewashed Greek cottages leading down to the beach and boardwalk. The white of the walls of the buildings is offset by the occasional spark of colour from bright pink and orange Bougainvillea and Hibiscus flowers and the bright blue shutters and doors of the buildings. It was like a scene from a movie.
And it just kept getting better.
Breakfast was a traditional buffet with fruits and bread along with small bites specially prepared to enable guests to try different tastes of the island. And, as with all Greek buffets, there was the obligatory bowl of Greek yoghurt. We used to get Greek yoghurt in Australia, and it always had quite a sour taste to it and was often a bit watery. This yoghurt is like nothing you’ve ever tasted – thick, creamy, subtle taste. The Chubs went to town everyday having multiple bowls and even Miss Sparky who is the first to reject yoghurt any other time, was going back for seconds and thirds.
Our days were spent wandering down to the Pisso Livadi village, hanging out by the pool, enjoying the local wines and seafood at some of the many cafes that line the beach. And most afternoons we would enjoy sundowner cocktails or wine and watch the sun set behind the mountains while the kids played at the park on the water’s edge. I just don’t think you can get much closer to paradise for a little family like ours.
Even paradise has its challenges…
I don’t know if it was the wine or the fresh air but Lovely Hubby seemed to develop a bit of a snoring issue while we were in this zone of happiness. At first, I was (understandably I think), a little irritated by this blot on the perfection of our stay. Lovely Hubby of course would argue that he couldn’t help it and offered the solution that I should just try harder to go to sleep (!)
Not wanting my equilibrium disturbed, I took the noble path of looking for the positives in the situation.
As I was gently nudged from my early morning slumber by the echoing of what sounded like a freight train next to me in the bed, I would take the opportunity each day to steal some time to myself. So I put on my sneakers and my running gear and headed out to do some exploring and watch the sunrise over the ocean.
I can confidently say that these were some of the best moments of our entire holiday – bear in mind that we were travelling with two kids so any moment of solitude is pretty damn cool!
Behind the village, there is a road that goes up the steepest nearby mountain. It’s a great workout to get to the top of the road – unfortunately the road doesn’t got to the actual top of the mountain where there is a little house perched (I couldn’t work out how to get up to that) but it goes high enough that you get the most incredible view of the coastline looking out to the other Cyclades islands. I would stand on top of the hill doing my burpees, lunges and push ups waiting for the sun to peek its head over the horizon and begin to warm the day – absolutely incredible scene!
I think I was getting so carried away with the relaxed nature of this village and lifestyle I started looking around to see what property was for sale and began gently introducing discussions of our retirement plan with Lovely Hubby. I of course was greeted with rolled eyes and sighs of “oh whatever”, but I didn’t let it steal my chi.
and, of course, a small amount of poop
I think at one point I was so chilled that I also relaxed my normally staunch nappy policy with the Little Chubs. I know it’s important that kids feel the air on their skin and feel carefree, so one afternoon I took off his nappy and let him run around on our enormous balcony with his little butt bare.
He was so excited – he’s a real little nudie.. can’t get enough of it. So we left him for a while as we were doing some packing and sorting.
The next thing, we hear a scream from Miss Sparky and we go running, fearing the worst – has he fallen over the balcony? Has he fallen on his face in his excitement to bare all? Has he run into something while running and done permanent damage to his manhood? All manner of possibilities.
So we walk into the main room and what do we see? Only the world’s largest poop lying in the middle of the floor. I look up in time to see a Little Chubs streaking towards the door, brown feet and all, making a break before anyone could figure out what happened.
And I tell you what, if there was a dog on the premises, I totally would have blamed that! This poop was incredible. How did such a little tummy and cute little butt even produce this monstrosity?
So after a few minutes of all three of us: me, Lovely Hubby and Miss Sparky, jumping up and down, squealing and making various ‘ew..ew..ew’ sounds, I was delegated the poop cleaner-upera. And let me tell you, it was a mission to get that thing to flush!
Its still magic
So there you have it – the good, the amazing, and the ugly.
Whilst Piso Livadi is not the place to go to party or if you want to be involved in endless tourist-type activities, it is a tranquil escape from the world and somewhere you really can go and just get happy. And as far as a new ‘happy place’ goes, this is somewhere I intend to visit a lot over the next few years, especially while we are living in the big sandpit that is completely devoid of much natural beauty. The warm clear water and lush gardens of Piso Livadi will stay with me a long time.
And once I remove the image of the world’s largest baby poop from my head, I may even feel safe enough to include the magical Hotel Aloni in my meditation as I believe it really does hold a little bit of magic!
Enjoy your happy place this week – I hope no child shi… whoops, I mean defecates on it! 🙂