Completely agree with Susanna on this. Unacceptable to be there all the time BUT I have to say that "personal space" is a concept almost unheard of in Greece. I get incredibly freaked out by queueing in the bank or anywhere else by people standing right on top of me. I hate it (especially in the heat).
The villa owner probably had no conception of the fact that you had indeed bought sole occupancy of the villa for the time you were there. He may have been nosey or he may just have been trying to make sure everything was running alright, but whatever his reason he should have left you in peace.
I remember renting a half finished house in Epirus years ago and the family from whom we rented moving four of their relatives in to camp in the unfinished half for six weeks one summer, without even mentioning it to us. They had no bathroom or loo so just used our hosepipe in the garden which was vile to say the least!
Not acceptable behaviour and I should take it up with the villa company if I were you. There are many other lovely villas to rent though where you will never find a similar problem. Please don't let it put you off.
"So is it normal for owners to visit their properties that often?"
So getting back to the original question, it is indeed "normal" (or sort of) for this behavour from Greek owners of villas. I must say that I would hate this. It is a shame as maybe be another reason some visitors do not return.
I've not rented a villa on Corfu but used have private apartments (from Bewil for one who made an earlier post).
I think what you Greekwife and Family went through for 18 days would certainly not have suited me. I recognise that cleaning and other essential tasks have to be undertaken but there needs to be a 'balance' to ensure that everyone is happy and contented with what they have paid for.
I understand from what Lavinia and others say that there may be cultural reasons but your Husband is Greek so he would surely have an idea of what is intrusive or not?
We all love the Corfiots' friendliness and helpfulness but on this occasion I would say that your experience was unfortunte and not really acceptable.
Message posted by janmanessi on 22 July 2010 at 11:25pm - IP Logged
Sorry you felt you privacy was being spoilt, but glad you were not so rude as JRK said you should have been- extremely unlikely that he was a 'social predator'- just someone who was delighted to find people who liked his home, and even better, and unusually, could speak his language- he probably looked forward to those conversations with your husband!
I do understand that you wanted to be alone and able to relax without thinking someone might walk in on you at any time though, but as Lavinia said there is little concept of personal space. A friend of mine who lives in the village has got used to neighbours walking in uninvited whenever they choose to, changing the channel on her television, and generally behaving as if they were in their own homes.
(Here in England I have a neighbour who was, like me, married to a Greek, and we go in and out of our houses taking bits of food etc. and she constantly mourns that in UK you practically have to make an appointment to visit, no casual calling round- a bit off the point but it led on from the topic, in my mind at least).
However, people who rent villas tend to do so because they want to feel more that they are actually living in a place, and the pluses are the gifts of freshly laid eggs, fruit from the garden, a bottle of local wine etc.- maybe an invitation to dinner...I think David1's description of it as something you have 'gone through' makes it all sound very dramatic,and I am sure that your husband could have explained it very tactfully without upsetting him- but maybe he too enjoyed his Greek chats!
Despite the above I do understand the need for privacy, and being able to relax without wondering if a stranger was going to appear suddenly, and am glad that this experience has not put you off Corfu.
I thought people who rented villas did so because they wanted privacy, proper self catering facilities and a pool they do not have to share with strangers. If the owner of this villa aspires to repeat custom and recommendations then he needs to grasp the concept of personal space fast. I know that the kind of intrusion described in the opening post would prevent me returning to this property and I would guess that it would put more people off than it would attract.
Message posted by Greekwife on 23 July 2010 at 4:48pm - IP Logged
Just want to say thanks to everyone for their replies and comments.
While my husband is Greek he has not lived in Greece since he was a small child so I think his ideas of privacy etc have been coloured from living elsewhere. I on the other hand do value my privacy more than he.
Deedee - you are right on the reasons why we chose a villa. Though we have been to Greece many many times this was our first actual holiday for our own little family of 4. Previously we have either gone to visit family or been joined by family.
I'm sure the owner thought nothing wrong in his actions and indeed he was very nice and he had taken upon himself the role of caretaker/gardener which I appreciate but having been to Greece many times to a house with a garden and a pool mostly in July/August I feel it hard to accept that either required that level of maintenance.
Also it was the times that he visited. At my parents-in-laws house there were always a housekeeper, cleaner, gardener etc and their presence never bothered me but they were never there post-3pm.
Now with my fair colouring and having 2 small kids we like to use the pool from 5pm until dinner around 7pm. He was frequently there then and as I said his shed/store was beside the pool. I in particular found it off-putting.
I accept in hindsight we should have said something but I suppose it was only on coming home and talking about plans for next year that we both realised how much of a factor it was for us.
I think if he had come say every second day and for shorter periods of time at a different time of day - it would not have bothered us.
It's a pity as we liked the villa and it was child-friendly and suited our needs but for this I feel we would have returned to that particular one.
Message posted by janmanessi on 23 July 2010 at 11:15pm - IP Logged
What a pity you did not just ask him to change his time- I am sure he would have understood.
Having said that though most watering is done in the evening if possible- it is bad to water plants with the sun on them, and also if you water in the morning it evaporates and does not do the same good to plant and soil than if it has the night to sink in.
I understand how you felt, but have been really upset by some of the replies. From what you wrote he was not intruding deliberately and some of the replies were so lacking in understanding and awareness- the reaction could hardly have been stronger had he been intentionally boorish.
Of course he has to learn the tastes of his clients, and should be asked to agree the number of visits and timing of same with his tour operator, but I do hope that it is done politely as I can imagine him being really devastated if he felt that he had upset anyone. Handled insensitively it could make him afraid to speak at all, and that would be a pity.
Your sensitivity on behalf of the Corfiots is completely understandable and superbly articulated as usual. A very small proportion of the replies probably fall into the category you take some offence at but I think the vast majority were probably just trying to give their views on the matter as requested by Greekwife
I believe that most people took into account the wonderful qualities of the Corfiot people and any cultural differences between them and the foreign visitor.
The key thing is that a valued member of this Site got a range of responses which clearly she is pleased with and hopefully have helped her and her Family return to Corfu with full confidence and eager anticipation.
Message posted by janmanessi on 25 July 2010 at 11:09am - IP Logged
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