Showing posts with label Kefalonia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kefalonia. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

That Greek House ~ Waking from A Daydream

“Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die,
Life’s a broken-winged bird,
that cannot fly.”
                               --Langston Hughes
In this post, we continue to sidestep a bit from “travel” but then what travelers haven’t once or twice imagined themselves chasing a daydream of owning a home in some foreign location. . .

"That stone house on the hill. . ."
We’d arrived back in The Mani in late June to close in on that daydream of ours: owning a home in Greece. The purpose of our month-long trip was to purchase ‘that stone house on the hill’—the one on the far right in the photo above to be exact. We’d examined it twice last spring along with several others. It was ‘the one’.

DSCF0226Our offer had been accepted, a down payment made and a closing date set before we left the U.S.

By noon our first day in Greece we’d opened a bank account and secured tax ID numbers (both necessary for home ownership in this country).

A few days later we toured the house with its current owners (we’d met them last spring) and had a tutorial on details like power and water sources, and olive grove maintenance.

They were busy packing their belongings to ship back to their homeland, England. Their big boxes would leave several days before closing. They would leave Greece July 17th.

PicMonkey Collage
The house's front deck and view from it

As they prepared to leave; we prepared to arrive and function – if even on our planned part-time basis – in this new world.  We were learning to think of temperatures as Celsius, not Fahrenheit; measurements using the Metric System (cheating by using a dual tape measure we’d purchased that had both millimeters and inches) and we spoke of prices in terms of euros – not dollars. We were immersing ourselves in another culture – just what we had hoped to do with the purchase of a house here.

View from the bedroom deck
We all moved toward the closing date – the day we would take occupancy of this vacation home of ours: July 10th.

As we would have only 12 days in our new property on this trip we established a timeline of projects that would be undertaken or possibly completed before we returned to the U.S.

The 17-tree olive grove, pictured below, in need of some major trimming, was The Scout’s focus while I had my eye on painting interior walls and getting some new furniture in place.

PicMonkey Collage
I had brought the paint chips with us
We’d decided this home set amidst olive groves would do well with a bit of country rustic and had decided upon these pieces as ‘probable’ for the house that had both dark stone accent walls intermixed with plaster walls in its main living area:

PicMonkey Collage
The furniture we'd chosen
We were ready! Our funds were in the bank and all our paperwork completed except for ‘that document’ that I mentioned last week. So we set off to explore the Peloponnese peninsula’s most western tip during the few days we had before closing.

~ Waking from the Midsummer’s Daydream ~
Upon our return from the road trip we learned the closing date was going to be delayed a few days. The owner’s civil engineer hadn’t yet filed necessary paperwork for the property’s registration – it would ‘surely be done’ by the following week. Then ‘that document’ we’d been waiting for could be prepared and closing could still take place before the owners left for England.  (Perhaps on my July 16th birthday? Now, that would be memorable!)

Scene on island of Kefalonia

So with more days to fill while we waited we set off on a second road trip, this one took us to the Ionian Island of Kefalonia – an amazingly beautiful land mass in the Ionian Sea. I’ll feature it in an upcoming post.

Town square in Argostoli, Kefalonia
On our second evening on the island, as we were settling in on the town square to sip some wine, we received what shall forever be known as the daydream ‘wake-up’ call (that’s The Scout on the phone in the upper right hand corner) from our realtor:

New problems had just surfaced. . . other paperwork – several years worth of income tax reports, necessary for the sale of the house, hadn’t been filed by the owners.

(Note: If you own property in Greece you must file annual income tax returns whether you generate income there or not – in fact, you must file documentation each year to show from where your funds do come. You must file other income tax forms reporting the ownership of property.)

The owners -- who’d lived there for years apparently hadn’t known that—they’d never filed a report. It would delay the closing a minimum of another 10 days to 2 weeks. The owners would search for those documents after they returned to England as that’s where they believed the documents were.

And they also needed to find proof of their purchase of the house. . .it, too, was believed to be in England.

Bougainvillea blooms and blue skies on Kefalonia
Our flight back to the U.S. was July 22nd.

If found, none of their new documentation would even be submitted for review until the first of August. If approved. . .

So, it was that lovely warm evening on Kefalonia that our daydream got away from us. As we calculated the growing list of “if’s” that loomed ahead and the mounting costs of this already pricey trip, we called the deal off.

We had been so concerned about bringing all the appropriate paperwork we needed for the sale, it hadn’t occurred to us to ask if the sellers had all the paperwork in place that they needed – after all, the house had been on the market for more than two years. . .

Instead of closing in on that daydream, we spent a portion of my birthday at our Greek bank completing paperwork to return our money for the house purchase back to the U.S.  (It arrived a few hours before we did the following week.)

The owners left for England on their scheduled July 17th.

The freeway between Athens and The Mani
We left The Mani, drove to Athens and flew home on our scheduled date.

Instead of the decade or so we’d envisioned, our daydream ended up lasting only a month. But had we not acted on it, we’d have always wondered if we would have had the courage to do it.

This trip proved we could . . .

We came so very close.

And so ends the daydream tales from Greece – for now. We will get back to reality travel tales with our next post.  Thanks for joining us today ~ it always is fun to have friends along on the journey; especially when they don’t go as expected!

Linking up:
Budget Travelers Sandbox – Travel Photo Thursday
Sunday’s Weekend Travel Inspirations and Sunday Traveler
Mosaic Monday

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In Kefalonia With Captain Corelli and his Mandolin

Okay, movie aficionados out there, this post is for you -- especially if you like movies shot in wonderfully romantic locations like Greek islands.

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Kefalonia - looking towards Sami

Kefalonia (Cephalonia), one of the seven that make up Greece’s Ionian Island group. It was where we spent the last five days.  We weren’t on the island for very long before we'd been told by many locals that it is where the 2001 movie, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was filmed the year prior to its release.

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We were here because we’d taken a ‘getaway from this midsummer Peloponnese getaway’ of ours. The island is a mere three hour drive from The Mani where we are spending most of our time, followed by a another 1.5 hour f ferry ride. 

SmFjiGreecesummer2014 088Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz starred in the movie based on Louis de Bernier’s 1994 novel of the same name.  (While it didn’t do well at the box office in the US, it did very well in theatre’s elsewhere in the world.)

We learned most of the movie’s history at a  coffee shop on the main drag of the waterfront village of Sami, the place where most of the filming took place.
The shop had been shut down for some time while the filming took place. In fact most of the town had been rebuilt as a set to look as it did before the real-life 1953 earthquake leveled most of the island’s buildings. Then crews returned it to its modern-day state after the movie was shot.

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They had a photo album abut the movie’s filming for guests to enjoy so I took the liberty of photographing a few of the photos in it:

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If you’ve not read the book or seen the movie, it takes place during World War II during the Italian Occupation of the Ionian Islands.  (We saw this statue in nearby Argostoli town.)

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Nicolas Cage is an Italian officer who speaks Greek and Penelope Cruz is a beautiful Italian girl who lives on the island. . .the rest is up to your imagination – if you’ve not seen the film or read the book. The filming took place in Sami, the beach of Antesamos, and the town of Argostoli, and village of Fiscardo.

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That’s it for this week’s Travel Photo Thursday – hopefully I’ll be in the land of the internet and can link to Budget Travelers Sandbox, but if not, drop by and take a look at the photos there anyway.

We’ve had a very ‘hit and miss’ time with internet and therefore blogging  has also been none existent while in Greece these last few weeks.  We are most grateful for those of you’ve ‘hung in there’ with us. . .thanks for your patience and your interest!  We’ll be back on schedule after we return to the Pacific Northwest.


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