How have you wiled away the hours as storms Dudley, Eunice and now Franklin batter the UK?
Chances are, at some point, the barrage of wind, rain and grey skies combined with the relaxation of lockdown restrictions have led to some wishful thinking of warmer days ahead in ideal holiday destinations.
Internet searches for holiday locations are now higher than in any previous year and several surveys have found for Brits there’s one area of the world in particular we pine after during the dark winter nights.
The Mediterranean is the most visited destination on the internet for UK holiday planners – with the Greek island of Crete topping the Yahoo search poll.
Just a four-hour flight from the UK, it’s a long haul from what is regarded as the UK’s first package holiday in 1841. Including a train trip from Loughborough to Leicestershire with a ham sandwich and free entry to a Temperance meeting, the jaunt was organised by Thomas Cook who would go on to form the global travel business that bore his name. Humble beginnings, but within 30 years he was organising 222-day world tours taking in New York, China, India and Egypt on the way home.
The advent of cheap air travel, which drastically undercut the price and travel time of ships, brought foreign holidays within the grasp of ordinary people and led to a holiday boom in the 50s and 60s.
Nowadays with the world to choose from, it is some accolade that the delights of Crete hold greatest attraction for British holidaymakers.
The largest of the Greek Islands, Crete is the place where myth and fact merge in a history as rich and diverse as the famous meze platters served up in local cafes and bars.
As centuries have passed, Crete’s position in the eastern Mediterranean has seen it draw from the cultures, art and cuisine of North Africa, the Middle East and Southern Europe.
In Vai you can walk along beach paths lined by palms said to have sprouted from the pips spat out by visiting pirates.
There are only a handful of pink sand beaches in the world and two can be found on Crete along with the hippy caves of Matala that were home to, and inspired, a generation of sixties artists including Joni Mitchell.
Whilst Crete might instantly conjure up images of sun-drenched beaches, the mountain ranges that run the length of its 160mile spine are often snow topped and provide deep gorges and valleys that support a vast range of flora and fauna.
Crete is famed for the food of its tavernas, a cuisine 130 millennia in the making which can justifiably claim to offer the best of all worlds.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait until your summer holidays to sample it as the summer snacking selection of SK’s Mediterranean range brings a taste of the Med to your home.
So, kickback, ignore the howling wind and rain outside, dip into a delicious meze and imagine yourself on a sun drenched, pink sanded, palm lined beach. For Brits dreaming of paradise this summer, Greece is the word.