From a different point of view
Margarita Manousou, the tourism press officer of Monemvasia Municipality, spoke with Mrs. Dilys Patten, who lives at Elea since 2008. Here are some of her thoughts about the area and the community she and her husband decided to live for some time.
As D. P. said, she and her husband are retired, and they decided to spend time in Greece, a country that they had visited with their family for holidays many times and over many years. Peloponnese is the area they knew better than any other area since they had stayed just about everywhere in the locality.
Their decision to build a house in Elea came about as they saw a wonderful site within their price range. This particular area was completely new to them even though they had had holidays in the Lakonia region. They believe it is one of the most unspoiled and unknown parts of Greece retaining a traditional way of life without excessive tourism. It has great amenities however such as interesting historical sites, a cultural life, as well as tavernas, bars and hotels. Most other areas that they had seen did not fit the above description in that they were already losing their identity to ‘Mediterranean tourism’
MInitially the house they built was to be for summer only but as they enjoyed being here so much and the family and friends were able to visit frequently, they decided to stay. Their house in England was let, so now the family spends their summer holidays with them at Elea in the Monemvasia municipality.
As D. P. underlines, all their visitors are amazed at the beauty of the region and its unspoiled diversity. Close to outstanding mountain scenery as well as beaches with clear sea and room to move. The traditional villages and small towns offer a completely different scene, unknown to most visitors to the Mediterranean areas of Europe.
When she was asked about suggestions for changes in our area, she answered that she would change very few things here. In fact she thinks that the challenge is to resist too much change too quickly. The beauty of the Monemvasia municipality is its traditional countryside and way of life that visitors find very attractive and come here to experience.
She remembers that four years previously there was a litter problem in the area but she has noticed that this has diminished, and that an awareness of re-cycling has risen with the introduction of blue bins. There are fewer stray domestic animals, but the economic crisis has not helped this problem, although there is a growing infrastructure to alleviate the difficulty, mainly through volunteers.
Since they moved here, she can’t remember facing any major problems, taking always into consideration the fact that they are in a different country, do not speak the language and at a very difficult time for all. Mrs. Patten mentions that many people have helped them with incidents that have arisen and have gone out of their way to do so.
Mrs. Patten underlined the fact that they are concerned about new taxation laws and lack of clear information from central government but recognizes that Greek people are in a similar position.
About the community here, she believes it is generous and hospitable and today they have made many friends and daily acquaintances. When they go somewhere there is always a greeting and conversation. Further she quotes: “Where else might ‘krassi’ be brought to your table or oranges left on your doorstep? “
As far as their life here, D. P. mentions that many British people buy houses in Greece, as do other nationalities and there is an interesting cultural mix of ‘foreign’ residents in this area. She quotes that so far it is not intrusive and hopefully does not interfere with a Greek way of life.
Regarding public services, she believes that they are doing very well in the area and she thinks that there has been a recent noticeable improvement in local services, despite lack of funds.
She mentions that an issue that needs to be taken care of, is Health Care. Due to the economic situation funds have been cut and this must be a great concern for all citizens in the municipality. As far as the Molaoi hospital is concerned she believes that the doctors and nurses are dedicated, experienced and working under tremendous difficulties from lack of the most basic equipment and drugs. She would imagine that the systems and funding is being closely scrutinized as a priority for the good of all who live in the area.