17 August 2005

Oooh! That's a long one!

I'm back. Didja miss me? Whaddya mean you didn't notice I was gone?

I've just spent a week in Crete - my first proper holiday since 1998. So here's a not very brief summary of my jollies.

Place : hot, arid
People : friendly, welcoming and very polite
Food : plentiful, good quality and cheap
Weather : hot & sunny

Tuesday - got up at 3.30am, got to the airport and found that the flight was delayed by 3 hours. Grrrr. Good news: got a meal on the plane. Bad news: it was full of tomatoes (I'm allergic to them), so I couldn't eat anything except the blueberry muffin. Yak. Felt sick on the coach from Chania to Plakias cos I was so hungry. The coach driver, Costa, was a star; he knows exactly how wide his coach is, which is a good job, given that he drove it through the Kourtaliotiko Gorge, which has some very tight turns and rocky overhangs.

My suitcase got damaged somewhere between Manchester Airport and Chania Airport. Family from hell on the coach, with mum gobbing off at everyone and one of the kids being a complete pain in the arse.

This pic is of the German Alps, just close to the border with Austria. Not bad, for a pic taken out of the plane window.

Wednesday- spent the day exploring the village of Plakias, where we were staying in the Apollon Studios. Nice room, excellent pool, hard bed, even harder pillow. Had to use a folded up blanket as an extra pillow. It was so windy at night that it was like sleeping in a wind tunnel. Family from hell in neighbouring studio block complained about everything in sight and kept having a go at the rep.

Thursday - boat trip from Souda Bay on the MV Ostria. Fantastic! Great tour guide (Kristo) showed us the cave of Barbarossa (a pirate)
and I had a ride on the 'banana' (don't be rude! It's the big yellow inflatable thing they tow behind a speedboat). Managed to skin my thumbs whilst trying to stay on the damn thing. It stung like hell when I had to jump in the sea to get back to the boat. Lovely dinner on the boat and then a bit later, another opportunity to swim in the sea which was, surprisingly, very warm. We were on the boat for several hours and the trip was well worth the €42. The taxi-driver (supplied by the rep) who took us from and back to Plakias, was very nice, but completely bonkers. He yattered on at us in Greek for the whole journey, not seeming to be at all bothered that we didn't understand 95% of what he was on about.

Thursday evening, mum of family from hell ran out of studio, shouting 'fire'. Turns out that a palm tree at the side of their studio (on the shaded side) had somehow 'spontaneously combusted' (yeah, right) giving mum another reason to gob off at the poor rep (flat full of smoke, no smoke alarms, everyone could get burnt to death in their beds, etc).

Friday - did absolutely bugger all other than laze around the pool and read. Was very pleased to learn that family from hell had been moved in the middle of the night to another resort. Yippee! Peace at last.

Saturday - same as Friday, except got roped into a game of piggy-in-the-middle with a bunch of kids in the pool. Great fun (sez me who usually hates kids). Hot enough to boil a monkey's bum.

Sunday - hired a motorbike - a BMW F650. What a bloody nightmare. The bike was ok-ish (if you don't mind getting vibration white-finger and a numb arse) but my pillion was crap and whinged almost all day. The roads have no grip whatsoever, junctions are only marked once you actually get on them (scary!) and there are some very nasty hairpins on the mountain roads.
Cretan drivers seem to ignore speed limits, helmet/seatbelt laws, double white lines, etc. and love to beep the horn at every possible opportunity. I was enjoying the ride, despite the 32° heat, until I got to one particular hairpin between Rodhakino and Suda. There was a car coming the other way and a car behind me, and as I tried to turn, the bike started sliding sideways, so I put my foot down, and that started sliding too (I told you there was NO grip), so the bike started to go down and the slave decided to put his foot down. Him being smaller than me, this meant that I couldn't lift the bike back upright again because his leg was in the way. Then he gets off completely and grabs the bars off me, yelling "just let go, will you?" to which I responded "I will if you let go of my bloody thumb!". Anyway, I gently laid the bike down and got off, whilst the car drivers were tutting about the delay. Bollocks to 'em. No damage done, except to my pride.

We visited Rethimnon, which was a lovely old town with a Venetian fortress on top of a hill. We also discovered a beer called 'Vergina', but we weren't tempted to try it...

Monday - The mad taxi driver took us to Rethimnon to join a coach trip to the excavation of the Minoan settlement at Knossos. Our guide was a real-life genuine archaeologist/boffin and she completely blew out all the stuff I'd been taught at school. She pretty much said that the Welsh archaeologist, Arthur Evans, who excavated the site in the 1920s and 30s was a bit of a prat who came up with some dud theories and then tried to make up a story about the 'Palace' - even throwing in a 'throne room' for good measure. It wasn't a palace at all, and the 'throne' was just a chair. The silly bugger even claimed that the big clay things were baths. No they weren't - they were coffins. That's why some of them had skeletons in them. Unfortunately, Evans also decided to reconstruct part of the building, using concrete, and got it wrong, and now they're pretty much stuck with it.

Got back to the studio mid-evening and then swam a kilometre in the pool :o) Found the anti-mozzi spray and decided to use it - and got bitten 5 times. I didn't get bitten at all before I used the spray :o(

Tuesday - Back home again. Queued for over an hour to get the luggage checked in at Chania airport and then pretty much got straight on the plane. Uneventful flight, and then had chicken chow mein from the chippy for tea. Looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight.

Oh yeah, and a miniature bottle of Ouzo got broken in my suitcase, and everything smells lovely.


Blessed Teacher said...

I've found myself checking out a good number of
blogs over the past week. Your has top 10 potential. Keep posting!

I'm working on a Child Charities site. It not what I want yet... its a work in progress.

Stop by if you get a chance.

Karen said...

Hmmm, yes. Definitely top 10 potential.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. There are few things more entertaining than a good British rant.

Sam said...


The holiday sounds lovely - nice to get away, isn't it...managed my first holiday in 4 years last month and it was fantastic!

Thinking about the bike - they're so cavalier on the continent about safety. I rented a scooter in Croatia when I worked there and they gave a bit of reconstituted cardboard to wrap round my bonce. Better than nothing, I s'pose.

So er, yeah...keep up the good work.

Womble said...

Oooh, I don't like the sound of a cardboard lid. It might have prevented scratches, but not much else. The open-face lid I got was too big for me and parachuted a bit when I was going over 60kpmh. It made me appreciate a full-face lid too - it hurts when you get hit by flying beasties.

Sam said...

I bought a full-face lid for ponceing round on my scooter in England after coming off one time. I've got a lovely scar on my chin from the rear-wiper of a Peugeot 205...

Shirl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shirl said...

Welcome home Womble. Glad you enjoyed??? your holiday. You seem to have packed a lot into the one week :o)

I'm impressed by the detail of your message and love the photos. I have to admit when I go on holiday the last thing on my mind when I get back is to write a report on it ;o)

Deb said...

Welcome home :-)
You were missed on Sunday night, somehow no-one else is quite as good as thee & me at bringing the level of chat down to gutter level ;-)