While I was on the Greek Island of Zakynthos (also known as Zante), I met Derek Linley who has been coming to the resort of Agios Sostis for many years and loves the place so much that he decided to start a website, SunshineZante.com to promote holidays in the area. Here’s Derek’s story;
In 1997 I was planning the holiday – I fancied Zante ( having been to Kos and Corfu ). I had only heard of Laganas and Argassi so went to have a look at Argassi on the “ Go Greek “ website, mis-clicked and up popped Agios Sostis bay . It looked OK, so in for a penny in for a pound ( Yorkshire talk ).
I landed at mid day and the ten minute taxi drive from the airport took me down Laganas strip. In 1997 it was no-where near as active as it is these days. Around the corner I was dropped off at Ageliki’s studios and there it hit me – the beautiful bay, the beautiful beach, the gentle sea = heaven. (the planes gliding in are no bother – just a visual happening). Ageliki’s was a decent quality studio set up – located on the beach with family on site to help their guests.
The locals had a pleasant demeanour and gave a gracious smile in the same manner given. The R & R on the beach starts the day punctuated by refreshing Mythos from Harbour House restaurant, excessive swimming to get out of the lovely and never ending sun and the selected holiday books are read.
Time to eat – back into Harbour House when the owner Antonis has never ending tales of his career in the Greek Navy and his exploits as a diver in the local area, this is backed up with a meal to die for from the local and international menu available washed down with wine from Harbour House’s own vines = bliss.
Next day, back on the beach, the seas parted and a diver appeared – it was Antonis and he had speared a massive fish (I had fish that night). He is indeed a local hero and known as the big boss man.
That holiday was spent exploring the surrounding Agios Sostis area finding a fish restaurant (Zeus) just off the beach area and a nice walk round the corner from the Harbour, the Afalios bar was located. A bar overlooking the sea with the view of what appeared to be an island in the shape of the Caretta turtle (the island protector and mascot) = more bliss and my introduction into Amstel. The holiday ended much too quick.
1998 was a “no contest “back to Agios Sostis – I booked Ageliki’s studios again (on the phone New Years Day through their English speaking 10 year old son) Arrived 6.30 in the morning to be met by the whole family (bearded dad, petite Ageliki – Kiki and the 2 sons) I had the same spotless room as last year and a bottle of their own wine was sat on the table awaiting me.
Next to the studios had appeared the Sabbia beach bar. Curiously I wandered in after the first venture into the sun and sea and the waiter, Babbis from Harbour House bar on my first visit was behind the bar – it was his. I spent a cracking afternoon catching up – eating his fresh pizza and salad grown in his veg garden and I felt more at home than home.
That year I extended my walks round the bay to Kalamaki calling in the Fishery Bar where the host Gil served me a Scottish breakfast (she’s Scotch) and walk into the hills towards Lithikia and other hidden villages that are a joy to find with their bars serving Greek cake and wine that should have a government health warning it’s so strong (but very nice).
As my love affair with Agios Sostis has developed I have become a student of sea adventure taking a boat out (under strict orders from Antonis, the Harbour House owner) and adventuring round the various coves and small beaches that can be found and I’m a particular fan of the Tartarouga area which is easier to reach by boat then ever walk it. I have ventured round the corner past the small beach strip they have round there, noted the hotels sat on top of each other, and found another local delight the Ole Ole traditional Greek and international restaurant where the owners take a delight in making sure you are well served and fed.
I have used Agios Sostis bay as my base to visit the island doing the tourisimo, Keri, Alkyes, Argassi, Tsilvi as well as a tour round Zante town. 2012 will see me doing a tour round the west coast seeking the place I hear the locals speak about – my adventure.
The accommodation beach located at Agios Sostis provides everything a couple or family might require for a good quality holiday – I’ve stayed at Niki’s, Ageliki, Kima and this year the Four Seasons, all self catering that allow the guest to be pleasured at the local restaurants ( no need for all inclusive here ).
The area has good facilities for water visits without “ mad “ jet skis and quads racing about the beach – the local boys love a challenge at volleyball. This area is a “secret” that is too much of a “secret”. I have seen the area suffer as people tend to think of Laganas and its extremes, not Agios Sostis, its gentleness, its charm and beauty and above all its people.
If I have mentioned too many bars and restaurants that is a weakness of mine: when you are faced with quality I admit a weakness. If I have dwelled on the beautiful beach, shallow and inviting sea, the offer of relaxation or activity I admit a weakness. If I have mentioned how much I like the bay area, the location of the studios, the people I admit a weakness.
On my 1997 holiday I sat on the terrace with Stathis ( the owner ) and his family, the 6 + 10 year old boys were learning English, we smoked and drank his wine and laughed and spoke through translation, in 2012 I did the same ( I don’t smoke anymore ) but the boys are are 21 and 25. My friendships with the people of the bay area have grown and I take it as mark of respect that I am kissed by the men when I arrive.
My thanks for this guest post to Derek Linley. Through his contacts and friendships built up over the years in Agios Sostis, Derek has set up a website SunshineZante.com to offer accommodation in the area of Agios Sostis around the small port area or Limanaki. If you would like a relaxing Greek holiday in the sun with a friendly welcome, take a look at SunshineZante.com
More things to do on Zakynthos
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