Aegina Home & Living - Living in Aegina

 

 

 


LIVING IN AEGINA

What is it REALLY like to live in Aegina?

 

                                                           LIVING
 

LIVING                                                                      LIVING MAY 2009

                   IN PURSUIT OF URBAN ACCOMODATION

 

I learnt the Greek word for sanitary towel quite by accident. I neither needed nor wanted to know the Greek definition but I received it nevertheless like a bullet, which dispersed a wave of tingling humiliation throughout every cell of my body. The word was screamed at me from a balcony by a man, whose bite was worse than his bark, clutching a hairy terrier, sporting a red satin ribbon whose bark was worse than her bite. I won’t write what was yelled to my husband or to the kindly agent who’d worked hard to find us a property, an apartment in a desirable area of Piraeus, a bargain with a rural view and close to the sea. Extremely interested, we asked our potential neighbor whether his little dog barked just a little or all day, an important question we thought, as our children would be studying for many hours in the evenings. We never learnt the answer but we all quickly left the building to escape his furious fists and were glad at least that we had learnt much about the man who could have been our neighbor! It was this moment that persuaded us not to buy but to rent until we knew more about the area we were to live in!

Searching for rentals was also an interesting experience. We spent many hours in the scorching heat of July looking for the ideal property to suit our need for temporary urban living within easy reach of the port. Having exhausted all of the agents’ repertoires, we decided to try independent searching by responding to adverts tacked onto tired fruit trees.

One memorable visit was to an apartment which was one of many owned by a short, ball-like man who resembled Danny De Vito. He parked his brand new Mercedes outside the property and proceeded to shout into his mobile to a locksmith whose services he needed to smash off the door-lock, as the key was lost. His silk shirt clung to his belly and his gold medallions sparkled in his mane of chest hair and each time he strode past us, the air filled with a waft of sickly sweet cologne.

My son and I sat squat in the shade and amused ourselves by assigning famous characters to passing look-alikes, hence Danny de- Vito was assigned to our puffed up owner of many glitzy properties. When he took a moment to alleviate his lungs of nicotine assault, we took the opportunity to enquire about his occupation. He informed us that he worked for Customs and Excise!

 Our son was easily impressed by the newish shine of the apartment block but I was alert to the superficiality of glare and when I saw the floor tiles which were cream and shiny with a water-mark pattern in grey and flesh pink, I could only think of histology slides and cross-sections of diseased human tissue.

George wanted safety and proximity to the port. I wanted cleanliness and some sort of spiritual kinship with a property. Our children wanted flash and gadgets. Being responsible parents (we told our children), we returned to the first block we had initially visited. ….An older property, it smelt of lavender and bees wax and was as sterile as an operating theatre. Like a favoured grandparent, it possessed an air of solid security, of wisdom and calm.

We took it, glad to have made the decision and grateful at last to have finished our gruelling journey in the heat.

 

TIPS:

If you are looking to rent accommodation on the mainland, the best time to look is during July and early August; this is when most students are on holiday and there is less competition for better properties.

Estate agents are good at finding rentals and will help with general liaison and paperwork.

Other ways of finding rentals are by looking at newspapers with property supplements and reading the bright yellow adverts seen on lamp-posts and trees but be prepared to spend time phoning to make appointments.

Take a notebook with you as well as a street map and write key points about each property so that you remember likes and dislikes. Remember too to note down the addresses and contact telephone numbers.

Be prepared to get tired. Viewing properties is exhausting, therefore start viewing early in the day, and carry supplies of water and packs of sweets to maintain energy levels.

 

Alison Lorentzos                                                             copyright 2009



 

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