Big fat Greek birthday surprise

Keeping a secret is not a strength of mine. However, it was Mrs FOMOist’s milestone birthday and I wanted to do something special for her. I started by [successfully] keeping her little brother and best friend’s visit from Australia a secret. However, the next big secret was a more elaborate affair. I told Mrs FOMOist that I’ll be whisking here away on a city-break over the bank holiday weekend (over a month after her actual birthday), but didn’t tell here where we were headed. Oh and the reason why I can’t keep a secret is because Mrs FOMOist is a pain-in-the-backside, who keeps nagging for clues relentlessly to get the relevant information out.

This time however, I did manage to keep a secret and booked a trip to Zakynthos (or Zante). Now, we haven’t been in England long enough to even know that this place existed, but after I had booked the trip, I saw a TV Show where a bunch of horned-up teenagers go to Zante after their A-Level exams in search of booze, babes and beach. Needless to say, I was starting to question my decision, but it was too late.

Before I get into how much fun we had while we were there, I would like to point out that Mrs FOMOist is as far from being a morning person as the bottom of the ocean from the sky. So, the 5.55am flight from Stansted on Saturday morning of the long weekend was not received well. Then, we get to the airport and she says, oh Zante, cool, is it a Greek Island? upon confirmation [thankfully] she was back in the room!

The "lazy beach" in Argassi
The “lazy beach” in Argassi

We arrived at the Zante airport at 11.30am, got picked up by our Airbnb host and arrived at our apartment in a small village called Argassi. We wasted no time, dropped our bags and asked our host where the closest beach was. He pointed out that there is a beach 10-minute walk from the apartment, but it’s a beach for lazy people because it wasn’t the best. Once you have been living in the UK, any beach is a good beach. However, upon his advice we decided to hire a car for a tiki-tour around the island the next day.

We spent Day 1 at Argassi Beach, had a boozy and yummy seafood dinner at Syrtai. The lady outside the restaurant has a 90% hit-rate of hustling people in. The food and service are spectacular and a post-dinner shot of ouzo is appreciated by all.

Mrs FOMOist got a jeep!
Mrs FOMOist got a jeep!

Next day, we begrudgingly woke up at 9.30am, pick up our rental JEEP (I know!) and set off on exploring the island. Starting at the crystal clear water of Alykes Beach, we made our way to the sulphuric water, rocky paradise of Xigia. As for most tourists wanting to explore this beautiful island, the Shipwreck beach was on top of our to-do list, but due to fire in the area, we weren’t allowed to go there. So we took a quick peek at the Porto Limnionas, before snoozing at Keri Beach.

After a quick dip and a short kip, we drove to the infamous Laganas area. You have no idea how grateful we were that we weren’t staying there! It’s a cheaper, yet show-offy version of Cancun, with no class where teenagers and grown-ups alike struggling to stand straight, let alone walk at 1930! We made a quick visit of it, drove around Zante town centre and went back to Argassi for much-needed RnR.

Xigia Beach
Xigia Beach

On our last day, we booked a 21.00 flight, which meant we had the whole day relaxing at the Banana Beach, which was 15-minutes’ drive on a free bus from where we were staying. Since nothing in life is free, while disembarking the bus, we were given clear instructions to make purchases from a restaurant at the beach, if we wanted the ride back. We happily obliged, renting sunbeds and umbrella and alternated between baking in the sun and dipping in the beautiful warm water. A real relaxing and enjoyable trip for me, and feedback from Mrs FOMOist has been encouraging.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Given the current state of the Great British Pound (GBP), I thought I will point out the importance of paying for everything in the local currency of the country you’re visiting. I used my card wherever possible in Greece, but also got cash-out from an ATM. When withdrawing money, it gave me an option of getting €0.97 for £1 if I wanted to get charged in GBP, or take the “risk” of not knowing what my bank will charge. I ended up getting €1.08 for £1. Moral of the story? When using your card, ALWAYS pay in the local currency of the country for the best rates!


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