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Windy week at the palace

1: Choosing the holiday

There is one ingredient that anyone planning a sailing holiday will need... and thatís wind. Unfortunately itís the only thing when arranging your trip that you have absolutely no control over. So exactly what do you do when huge winds and waves even prevent access to the beach, let alone any sailing? When I spent a week at Neilsonís newest resort on the island of Lemnos, I found out...

The plan was a simple one. Iíd just passed my dinghy sailing certificate and now I wanted warm waters to practise (and capsize) in, with a little more tuition to boot. The reality was somewhat different: gale force winds and damaging gusts that closed the beach to all except professional windsurfers at times. Fortunately, a resort such as the Portomyrina Palace, one of Neilsonís Beachplus Clubs, caters for a wide range of activities, and some that are not dependant on the weather.

The island of Lemnos (sometimes called Limnos) is in the north-west Aegean. The intriguinglynamed Portomyrina Palace is situated along the edge of the long stretch of sandy beach in the bay of Avlonas, with views over Mount Athos. Within the grounds there are even impressive archaeological remains of the pre-Hellenistic Temple of Artemis, which were discovered when the hotel was being excavated.

One thing the Greek destination did offer, even in the high winds, was plenty of hot sunshine. And, despite the disappointment the gales brought, I was still determined to make the most of my holiday. After a briefing session detailing all the other activities available, I decided that some tennis lessons wouldnít go amiss.

Tennis is one sport Iíve always wanted to play better and the resort offers personal one-to-one tuition (at extra cost) and also week-long group sessions culminating in a competition. I made the most of both.

The first task in the group sessions was to determine our abilities so that we could be put in to groups according to our skill level. I wasnít exactly surprised to be positioned in the beginnersí group, and enjoyed a week of expert tennis coaching which saw my skills improve vastly even in such a short space of time. The only setback to my burgeoning tennis career was a strained muscle that ruled me out of the tournament at the end of the week.

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Flying along with a big grin on my face, the perfect reward for all my efforts

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