The week leading up to my departure was chaotic. Work was busy, the family were – well – my family and I had a real problem packing. I hate packing and procrastinated until I couldn’t procrastinate any more. God knows how many times I packed and then re-packed, trying to incorporate a wardrobe for all weathers and all eventualities. I’ve pared the toiletries right back and am even travelling with blocks of shampoo, conditioner and soap to reduce weight and space. (Plus it’s better for the environment).
The flight out of Manchester was fine albeit slightly delayed. A lady’s bag of medication had been left landside by the wheelchair assistance people. We missed our slot but once up in the air I had myself a cup of tea and a gin and tonic which made everything right with the world. I whiled away the hours watching the award winning film Aftersun on my laptop. Who doesn’t like a bit of Paul Mescal!
Once outside the airport I messaged my hosts for the night to let them know that I’d arrived. I’d stayed at Apartments Tina in Spata close to the airport in September. They pick you up from the airport and take you back to the airport the following day for your onward flight and this is all included in the room rate. It’s a straightforward process that shouldn’t be problematic. Except on this occasion, it was. I messaged and I phoned for an hour and a half to no avail. I was left with no choice but to go by taxi – bearing in mind there is now a minimum flat rate of 40€. This was compensated somewhat by the lovely taxi driver who told me he had family in Bognor Regis! We had a good old natter where we complained about our respective governments and agreed that the nurses deserve a better deal.
Once at Apartment Tina’s, I was met by the owner in the street. He asked me why I had come in a taxi when he had a van. And sure enough, there was the back of his van turning the corner at the bottom of the street. At least someone is getting picked up from the airport today! He apologised profusely and it transpired that he had just got a new phone that very day and was waiting for it to go live! After more apologies I was bundled into my humble little abode with a complimentary bottle of water. This is one of those times where you just have to shrug it off and go with the flow!
Well I’ve made it here and now the trip is almost ready to begin. As I have a bit of time to kill I decide to check out the neighbourhood. The streets are laid out in a grid and criss cross each other, alternating between ashfalt and dirt track. The houses are large with substantial gardens with some looking quite new and grand and others a little tired and forgotten.
Most gardens have at least one citrus tree. Whether it’s a lemon or an orange, the branches are fully laden with fruit. It’s warm enough to stir the aroma’s of the sleeping figs and the pine trees creating that very heady smell that is unique to Greece. I left Greece in early November just as everywhere was beginning to turn a little bit autumnal. Now we are definitely in full on Spring. Winter must have been the briefest of interludes. The taxi driver had told me that it had hit 21 degrees today but that the temperature will drop at night.
The streets are steep – nothing is on the flat. At the bottom of the street I can see the large hill that sits at the side of the airport – you know – the one with the lollipop on a stripey stick on top of it. At one point I can see the coastline too. Just a little further North is the port of Rafina. There isn’t really any where to go. If I have to do an overnight stay again with an afternoon to kill I may go just a few kilometres further from the airport and stay along the coast.
Back at Apartments Tina the owner tells me that his mother will cook a nice meal for 10€ – chicken, spaghetti, moussaka etc. This is great news because there really isn’t anywhere around here to eat that I can see. Meals on this trip are going to be a challenge for me. I recently had the mother of all gallbladder attacks that nearly had me admitted to hospital. Since then I’ve been on a low fat/no fat diet and believe me that is some feat! I did wonder that if I just proclaimed to be vegan, it may simplify things whilst ordering food. I don’t know – I’ll play that one by ear. Anyway for this evening I order grilled chicken with salad and a glass of wine whilst saying a heart felt prayer to the God of Gallstones!
During dinner I fell into conversation with two lovely ladies from Belgium – mother Yolanda (who speaks very good English ❤️) and daughter Lien with her beautiful young son. They’d been staying in Evia and were to fly home the following day. Lien and Yolanda were fantastic company for the evening. We ended up in the garden wrapped up in our coats putting the world to rights. The conversation was only interuppted by the planes flying what felt like metres above our heads. Lien I discovered is a very talented musician. Lien I love your music so much I really hope you get the recognition that you and your talent deserves! ❤️ Check her music out here:
Now on to the next leg of the trip!