So, last year we took the plunge and quit our lives in the UK! After years of dreaming, we finally made the big decision to move to the picturesque island of Crete for a new life in Greece.
If you haven’t read my first post explaining how and why we ended up making this move, then go and have a read about why we quit our lives and moved to Greece. For those of you that have, I guess you want to know a little bit more about our new lives? Not that I’m assuming you’re nosy or anything!
Having saved hard for 5 years, we had a healthy bank balance waiting to be spent. After lots of deliberating, we decided it was best not to make a sensible and logical decision. Instead, we invested our money into two properties in Greece…yep maybe we are a little stupid!
A new life in Greece: how it all started…
Years of dreaming and talking of such a move led us to make an impulsive decision. We booked flights to Crete and set about arranging to view properties with an estate agent…Just to see, of course.
By the end of the first day, we had traipsed from one village to another viewing dilapidated ruins and run-down houses. The warm winter sunshine was peppered with rain showers as we wound our way up to mountain villages. Eager sellers greeted us and waited anxiously as we inspected their properties. One man picked us oranges from the garden in the hope that we could be swayed. To be fair, they were fantastic oranges.
Our little Greek ruin, which we affectionately call “Walnut Cottage” due to the massive walnut tree in the garden, was the first property we viewed. It was love at first sight, and by the end of the day we were negotiating the price and discussing deposits. Just like that, we were on our way to starting a new life in Greece.
I’m making this all seem quick and easy. In reality we witnessed the complicated process of buying an old Greek house in all it’s glory. At some point I will write a post all about the procedure, and how it took 18 months to finally own it.
Why stop at one property in Greece?…
We had originally planned to live in Walnut Cottage. We spent hours planning the layout and imagining our lives there. By chance however, we heard of another house for sale. It was only a few minutes walk down the track. We were instantly intrigued. We just had to find out more.
It was very fortunate for us, because property prices had fallen dramatically after the financial crisis. The second property we were considering buying was on the market for half the original price, which made it all the more appealing. It admittedly needed a lot of modernising and work, but the location and views were to die for.
And so…we ended up buying another Greek property, just a few minutes walk down a dirt track from Walnut Cottage. We never planned on owning two Greek properties, but as we started to think about it, we decided it made sense. It could be somewhere for our friends and family to stay, and a place that could be rented out for income.
We spent a long time deliberating whether it made more sense to try and rent the villa or the cottage. Recently we have made the decision to live in the villa, and rent the cottage out, once we have renovated it this coming winter.
I’m not sure how you distinguish between a house and a ruin, but our cottage is somewhere in-between the two. It does have 4 solid walls and a roof, so it isn’t actually falling down…yet. However to the untrained eye, it could pass for a neatly arranged pile of stones. Do we have water and electricity? No, don’t be silly!
It’s one of the last houses in the village, or one of the first if you’re coming from the other direction. The garden backs onto countryside and olive groves and it’s perfectly peaceful. We immediately fell in love with the simplicity of it, and have lots of plans to transform it into something beautiful.
This is where we live, the place we call home nestled amongst the olive groves. The villa was built in 2004 and is set over two levels with mountain views to DIE for! It never gets tiring to have breakfast out on the terrace, whist gazing at the mountains.
We have a vegetable garden, 9 olive trees, various fruit trees and multiple patios and terraces. We are trying to make the outside space as self sufficient as possible. Recently we’ve planted grape vines and there are plans for chickens in the future too.
The house is small but has everything we need, plus we have a very large workshop situated under the house. It’s really great at swallowing up our bicycles, solar ovens and tools, plus Mr Sidestepping-Normal finally gets the man-cave of his dreams!
It didn’t always look like this mind you. We spent lots of time and money modernising it last winter and it now looks like a completely different house. Although the views and location are superb, it’s taken me a long time to fall in love with this house. As time has gone on, I now really like the layout and style that we have given it. It felt like home.
There are still lots of things we have planned for our new life here in Greece… but as they say here, “siga siga” “slowly slowly.”
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