Driving into Elati, a small village up in the north of Greece was like walking into what I can only imagine what Santa’s home town looks like (wherever you believe that to be).
Huge Christmas trees towering above us and surrounding the village completely made it feel like a winter wonderland.
Elati actually gets its name from the trees. The name of the trees in Greek is Elato. It loosely translates to fir.
Everything is up on a slope and as they’d recently had a lot of snow, many of the roads had turned into rivers of slush.
It’s not unusual in Greece to just turn up somewhere and see if there are rooms available.
The very thought of this makes me nervous. I have to know exactly where I am going and what time I have to arrive and what room number I am and pictures to see exactly where I am staying.
However sometimes I just have to tell myself: ‘go with the flow, say yes!’
In the end we realised it was carnival weekend in Greece and almost everything was booked up.
My boyfriends dad kept telling me we can camp outside.
‘There’s only a few bears and wolves, not too much’
At this point my lid is flipping and I’m shouting ‘well you can all bloody camp outside but I’m staying in the car’
He was totally joking. They’d managed to book two rooms last minute. Thank God because I cannot sleep anywhere that doesn’t have 4 walls, a roof, bed and luxury welcome teas inside. Not to mention the toilet, bed and bathroom MUST look as though nobody has used it previously. Call me high maintenance but I just don’t wanna find a strangers pubic hair in my bed.
Getting out of the car into this village was a sudden realisation as to how cold it was. It was -2 degrees but this was clearly warmer than it had been. It’s just not a temperature you expect to experience in Greece.
We took out bags and brought them to the entrance of where we would be staying. It was very cosy looking. A wooden slanted roof and wood panelling all along the side giving it a ‘grotto’ kind of look.
Baring in mind they were the last rooms available in the whole town, when we actually arrived in the room I was a little sweaty and nervous. As I mentioned before, I cannot sleep somewhere I’m not comfortable.
I knew straight away I wasn’t comfortable. The day had been really long and it was only 4pm and I desperately needed a nap! This was the only sleep I got for the entire night.
Later on we went for a walk and there were some gorgeous little huts selling homemade gifts.
It was exactly how I imagined Santa’s Grotto!
The evening consisted of wine and more wine and a drunken stagger (not only from myself) to bed.
I can honestly say I sat on the edge of the bed the entire night as I was certain something was going to crawl over me.
Not to mention two doors down some kids were having a sleepover and the parents were nowhere to be seen. They were screaming, fighting and if I had spoken enough Greek at the time I think I would have gone in there and told them off.
The day couldn’t have come sooner and it was up, a selection of breads, cheeses and meats for breakfast and a journey further afield to even snowier climes…