Astrous is described in the cruising sailors bible covering the West Aegean, by the authors (Rod & Lucinda Heukell) as “one of their favourite places in the gulf…it is just a very pleasant place to be” and I have to agree, very relaxing, there is no real need to do anything but chill. It has a couple of good tavernas and bars, the harbour is clean enough to swim in and you can also pop over the breakwater to a tiny shingle beach 50 metres away for a cooling dip in the mid-day heat … or even better, to dive in to stop the rapid fluid loss after what is now becoming our very sweaty 7:30 am runs. There is a long promenade lined with eating and drinking places, all kept spotlessly clean and in front of those a long attractive shingle beach, part of which has been planted with a forest (more of a wood than a forest) of sunbrellas … but they don’t seem to detract from the peaceful nature of the place.So day one, Monday 19th with the temperature now solidly stuck in the 30’s, we did as the book said and did nothing but snooze, read and finished the day with a beer. Day 2 was not much different, although we did manage to sneak in a few chores, cleaning the boat and Mark got out his “big” hammer to straighten the davits which had become extremely curvy after some ferry wash pushed us into the quay … these tasks were rapidly completed and we returned to … snooze, read and have a beer – are you beginning to see a theme?Day three (Wednesday 21st) we were much more active. We woke at 7:00 am for a run before it got too hot, If you start an hour later, the temperature is in the mid-twenties and then this exercise thing is really no fun. Run complete, Mark didn’t hesitate, diving in at our bijou little beach on the other side of the breakwater, to cool off whilst I completed the housework and the clothes washing, then it was my turn to cool down – I get the feeling I’m doing this the wrong way around. Then, keen to explore the castle above the village before the heat of the midday sun (mad dogs and Englishmen, etc, etc), off we go exploring once more.
The steps meander up the side of the hill to the ruins (it was not too far as this is a small village), on route we pass a church or two … obviously … isn’t there always a couple. The castle is believed to have been built by the Venetians at the time Astrous was established in the 13th Century BC, but today it has no architectural or historical merit, it does however have a lovely view of the fertile valley with its plentiful citrus fruit trees stretching into the east. On the southern side the waters of the Peloponnese gulf stretch into the far distance. After our climb, we did manage to pass a few hours doing that relaxing thing, but then Mark decided to start sanding the teak deck. So with Mark happily pottering, I went off to have some pampering, I had found a charming little beauty parlour and booked myself in for a pedicure.Day four, you guessed it … another day in paradise… snooze, relax, swim, read and have a beer. We left the next day Friday 23rd, my Dad’s birthday – Happy Birthday Dad xxx and returned to one of our favourite spots, the anchorage at Wreck Cove, in time for the temperature to reach new heights in the top 30’s … definitely going to need a swim … or three.