Day 11 - Travel days…..don’t you just love em’!
Although we’d had an early night we didn’t sleep too well due to it being hot and stuffy. We didn’t even need our blankets, having needed one ever since the evening we arrived. Nevertheless we were still out of our beds by 7am and the day that greeted us when we opened the balcony doors was slightly overcast and the air was considerably cooler, to the point that we felt a tad chilly. What we need is a good thunderstorm to clear the air, but we have been reliably informed that tomorrow is ‘the day’!
As this was our last day in Kos during a regroup yesterday evening we decided to sit in a part of the restaurant we’ve not sat in before….. overlooking the road, under the canopy and out of sight of the breakfast staff. Our cunning plan was to make up some bread rolls to take on the plane with us but obviously we had to be discreet. We took my beach bag, inside were our laptops so it looked like we were doing stuff on them rather than pilfering some breakfast goodies. We did the deed, wrapped our rolls in serviettes and finished the blog. It’s actually been much quicker using the Wi-Fi down here than back in the room, probably due to the fact that we’re much closer to the signal!
Back in the room we started packing which seemed to take us forever considering all we had to do was re-pack everything we brought out with us back into our cases. Let’s face it, you’d think there’d be more room now that all our toiletries have been used up but I suppose we have purchased some items that are bulky and which have also added to the weight. There was so much repacking going on that in the end we decided to go out for our final frappe. We didn’t need to vacate our rooms until midday so we had plenty of time, the million dollar question was, where to go. We relented and decided to make one last visit to Ipanema and we’re so pleased we did as Emma was back on front-of-house duty. We even told her we didn’t care much for the guy who took her place as he had absolutely no people skills whatsoever and Audrey and Alan from Newcastle, who were sat on the table opposite felt exactly the same. We had a lovely chat with ‘A&A’ and in that short space of time we’d put the world to rights …..so happy days to that. It’s a shame we didn’t meet them earlier in the week because we had some lovely conversations and had a laugh, which as we know, laughter is the best medicine. Talking of which, the splinter I acquired under the nail finally worked its way out although I now seem to have a swelling on my little finger, probably caused by a bug in the night!
Back at the hotel we finished packing and not only did we leave a tip for the cleaning ladies as they’re all so lovely we ‘made’ up a woman on the bed…..a parting gift for them which I’m sure they’ll appreciate and hopefully find amusing.
We dragged our suitcases to reception and regrouped around the empty bar. What to do now? There was only one thing for it. Maice whipped out the oversized playing cards and I went to order the Mythos beer and we sat playing gin rummy. Once again Maice won the majority of hands…..I did wonder that if I sat in her chair with her cards would I win as many times as she did!
For lunch we walked up to the Aliada Taverna but unfortunately it was closed so we decided to lunch at Ikaras, next door to the hotel and which claimed ‘home cooking with loving care’ so in we went and ordered another Mythos beer, whitebait and a selection of grilled vegetables. The whitebait wasn’t quite up to scratch but the grilled vegetables were delicious and the waiters were very friendly. We looked at the time and it was 14.30 (!) so for something to pass the time we decided to ‘time’ my newly purchased extra large egg-timer. I guessed it would take 7minutes to pass through and Maice guessed at 10minutes. Well, it must be an egg-timer for hard-boiled eggs as it took 15minutes and 20 seconds!
The coach arrived at 4.20pm with a combo of German and English guests on board. It was almost full when we boarded but it still went ‘round the houses’ and we ended up in Marmari where we cycled to the other day. We saw a bit more of the place but both agreed we were glad we hadn’t stayed there as there doesn’t seem to be too much to do as it just looks like lots of hotel complexes rather than a resort.
At the airport the queue for the check-in desks was long so there’s only one thing you can do when everyone’s shuffling their way to the desks…..people watch! Please don’t let that ‘loud’ family with the four kids be on our flight, or be sat anywhere near us, we whispered to each other. Honestly, what a nightmare. One of the girls, who must have been about eight years old wouldn’t get off her little wheelie sit-on case and was being pulled around by her parents, getting in the way of everyone, bumping into things and generally being a nuisance. Fortunately it transpired that they were going to Cardiff and not Bristol. Phew, that was a lucky escape! We know that TUI are very strict on the weight of luggage so we crossed our fingers that we wouldn’t be over the 15kilo allowance. My 15kilo luggage on the way out was now 16.5kilos and Maice’s 12.9kilo luggage had gone up to 14.9kilos!
We were advised by the ‘rep’ that all Brits must go immediately through security due to it now being a more arduous process so we did just that however, as modern as the airport may be the security part of it is actually quite antiquated. There are no conveyor belts that move the ‘boxes’ full of all your hand-luggage bits and pieces, oh no, you have to move it along yourself, added to which there was a Greek security lady who was practically screaming to everyone to ‘hurry up, hurry along, this is what you do…you take the box like this, you put your things in it like this, move on, move on’! Honestly, she was more frantic than the actual process itself!
After our experience at Security we found ourselves in the departure lounge and sat on a seat in the French Bakery enjoying a cappuccino, a latte and eating a slice of Maice’s leftover pizza from yesterday evenings meal. It was really rather tasty. With two hours to spare we thought we’d just make our way to Gate 9, passing through passport control before we got there. To while away the time the extra large playing cards came out again and off we went with our gin-rummy tournament. The lady next to Maice admired the cards so much she asked if she could take a photo of them!!
It looked like the flight was on time so we all boarded the waiting buses to take us out to the aircraft and literally two seconds later, or as Maice stated, in 10 yards the bus had arrived at the plane. It was so close to the terminal building that it would have been quicker for us to walk, but of course it’s all to do with Health & Saftey. To say everyone was a tad amused was an understatement!
As flights go it was rather uneventful although I did leave my reading glasses in the toilet, which I only knew about when the cabin crew made an announcement over the tannoy, much to the amusement of the plane load of passengers……how embarrassing! We landed at Bristol airport at 10.05pm and our bus that took us from the plane to the terminal building had to stop on the way due to a rogue piece of luggage causing an obstruction. It had probably fallen off a luggage trolley but who knew, could it have been something more sinister? We knew something was amiss when we walked through customs where there were quite a lot of ‘security police’ who looked like they were looking for ‘someone’ and then when we stopped to get a coffee for the journey Maice overheard a further call for more ‘back-up’ security and airport staff could be seen rushing off somewhere. Who’d have thought there’d be such goings on in a little place like Bristol!
So now we’re back on UK soil, what can we tell you about our experiences of Kos. Well firstly there are the lessons to be learned, most of which is common sense and what most people already know but in our case it’s something we must add to the ‘Control Dartboard’ and of course ‘take heed’ of our own advice, which we don’t appear to have on this holiday!! So here we are, these are the things we didn’t do…..
Before you book a holiday always check the dates of school holidays etc. If you don’t not only will the holiday be more expensive you’ll be spending it with lots of children and you’ll be charged an ‘admin’ fee if you want to change the dates…..
Always figure out how much local cash you need before you go as it’s expensive to take cash out from the ATM machines in resort. Of course everywhere now takes credit cards but cash is good for sun-beds, tipping in restaurants/bars/cafes, tipping the cleaners and other incidentals…..
Bring walking shoes for any adventure you may find yourself on. Flip-flops are not always practical, particularly for long distances, which always catch us out……
Make sure you take the right beach bag with you, preferably one that has lots of pockets, one that has has substance to it, has a zip and is not floppy because if it’s anything like the one I purchased before the holiday it will so get on your nerves you’ll have to buy another one…..
Check out the prices of sun beds in advance to see if they are a) attached to a taverna/cafe. If so, are they free if you eat or drink in the establishment and b) are they near any public toilets if not attached to a cafe….
Purchase bottles of local beer or wine to consume on the balcony which can start from as little as € 2.80 for a very nice and palatable bottle of wine….
Try and speak a little Greek, or whichever the language is in the country you’re going to. It goes a long way when you attempt the language however little you attempt. Maice did really well just asking for the bill much to the amusement of the waiters….
Say hello, good morning etc to all staff at your accommodation and be friendly with everyone. It really is appreciated particularly by the cleaning staff….
Be willing to try the taverna that doesn’t look the most fancy or modern. More often than not they offer the best food and service….
So that’s it. Our holiday to Kos has come to an end. As always when we go away we’ve had a fabulous time and even though the weather hasn’t been hot and sunny every day we weren’t deterred. We went walking, we hired bicycles, we shivered on our sun-beds, we’ve played cards, we’ve eaten loads, we’ve drunk even more and as always we have laughed through our holiday. Yes we know how to live it up when we’re on our holidays!! But most importantly, we’ve met some lovely people. Yvonne’s Greek friends Popi and Michalis were lovely, so hospitable and generous and we’re glad we got to sit with them on the blue chairs and table outside their shop. And how can we forget Mary Martin with whom we spent a lovely hour soaking up the sun in a cafe by the Hippocrates Tree. There was Lisa and Mick who we had such a laugh with at the cafe by the bus station, ah the list is endless and we can’t name everyone. Nikos, the barman looked after us well and what a lovely chap, always spending time with his customers making sure they were happy. And when we left, Barry and Vicky, Barry who seemed to think he was the bartender and would go and help himself behind the bar, made a point of saying farewell to us, how sweet. Meeting so many lovely people has really made this an extra special holiday, it’s been so easy to chat to and strike up conversations with people of all different nationalities and we’ve loved it. It’s been great!
Finally, we’d like to give a big Happy Birthday shout out to Franca, she of The Horse with the Red Umbrella and long suffering wife of John. Franca, we hope John has plied you with lots of love, gifts, champagne, taken you out for supper……..however you celebrate your day we hope you have a lovely time.
That’s all folks until next time……and thanks for watching