My Week at the Kyrimai by Dinah Stocken, September 2015
Despite a few anxious moments about the state of the Greek economy earlier in the year, all worries quickly disappeared when we arrived at the quiet, unspoilt fishing village of Gerolimenas, about as south as you can go on the Peloponnese.
The Kyrimai hotel has been beautifully renovated by direct descendants of the original owner who bought it as a warehouse in the 19th century when the port was an important sea trading centre. It is situated right on the waterfront with direct access to the sea only a few steps down from the pool and outside eating terrace.
All the ingredients for a gourmet StockenBridge holiday were present in spades and here are a few of my favourite parts:
Culture: a trip to Mystras, beautifully preserved, and ancient Sparta, some imagination required, with Dimitris Vlachakos, our dishy and very knowledgeable guide. A second trip to the impressive Diros Caves and Areopoli with local guide, Anna Butcher, offered a good contrast; both included delicious lunches in a nearby taverna.
Walking: treks over the challenging, wild and barren Mani landscape guided expertly by Anna and her dog. Chapels, frying pans and prickly vegetation come to mind.
Lazing: enough sun beds by the pool and on the hotel’s little beach for all. All kinds of weather, lashing storms and wind but plenty of very hot sun and beautifully warm temperatures at all times, both in and out of the sea.
Food: the highlights were home made yoghurt and honey for breakfast, cooked lettuce parcels with shrimp and crayfish (back for the last night by popular demand), sea bass, swordfish, squid and of course moussaka (the real thing). The staff were utterly charming and nothing was too much trouble.
Bridge: sadly the risk of dummy flying into the sea made outdoor play chancy, but as always, excellent teaching from Zeb…. how does he do it? and most signed up for some spirited after dinner Chicago. Whilst not everyone may have mastered it all, everyone will go back with new skills. Prize-giving on the last night is now legendary - all took home a small memento of our stay in Greece.
The most important feature of these holidays and the real highlight for me is the company. This one almost wins my prize of “best ever”: a mix of old friends and new ones and the dinner seating plan ensuring that everyone meets everyone at an early stage is a winning formula. I can hardly wait for the next one!
What a week that was! Thank you so much for all your hard work and energetic example of how to tackle a ‘Bridge Holiday’ the Stocken way…..!
Another great holiday! A beautiful and very tranquil location, a very nice crowd of people and just as we were wondering what we could still try to learn, Zeb pulls a whole new set of rabbits out of the hat!
We truly enjoyed our week in the Mani. You are both to be congratulated on a really superior job at organizing and teaching.
A huge thank you for a wonderful week last week. It surpassed our expectations, and both Mum and I had a fabulous time.
Thank you again so much for everything, we really enjoyed Greece. Roll on 2016 and lots more Bridge holidays!
Thank you both very much for the excellent trip. The hotel was excellent and in a fantastic location and the whole thing was very well organized and efficient and involved a lot of work for both of you. I very much enjoyed meeting your mother as well and it was an exceptionally pleasant group of people to be with.
Everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming. Thank you both so much for all your efforts to give us a really excellent holiday at Hotel Kyrimai. I enjoyed it all immensely.