Skiathos 2013 – Day 1 – Arrivals

The subject of the next batch of posts is going to be my summer holiday in Skiathos. Hopefully it will be a little more entertaining than the essays you were asked to write at school entitled ‘what I did on my holidays’ and will provide the potential visitor with some useful insights into this wonderful Sporades island. It was my third time visiting the island with Siggy, staying in Troulos, and once again we were not disappointed.

The first day is always about getting there with as little hassle and delay as possible. With that in mind we planned to get up at 5am. In actuality I lay awake from 4am onwards after having a vivid dream about oversleeping until 7:30am and Siggy falling downstairs in the ensuing mayhem. As it turned out we left the house without incident at 6am. The bird that sounds like an alarm clock was trying its best to wake the neighbours and if that didn’t work us slamming the car doors probably did the trick. Sorry!

The airport wasn’t as busy as expected, the Download Festival (I still think of it as Monsters of Rock) next door wasn’t causing traffic chaos at that ungodly hour; when we flew over the main stage and camping area later it appeared that everyone was still asleep in their tents. I didn’t have to take my shoes off for airport security for the first time in years – obviously I am looking less like a shoe-bomber as time goes on. Paul Smith has a ‘Summer’ EDT out which I almost bought, but settled on a squirt of Armani instead. I bought a Berlitz guide to Berlin. Siggy pointed out that this was pretty random given we were going to Greece, but it is to help me with another book I am writing.

The aeroplane food was a companied by turbulence – Carter would’ve been proud (see CDA2Z post for the letter ‘C’ coming soon for more about Carter). Saturday Kitchen’s James Martin had a hand in creating the food. It was okay, with the highlight being a banana muffin. I tried to sleep most of the way amazed at how the girls in front could talk about teeth-whitening for hours seeming to pause only to watch noisy videos of themselves on their mobiles. I tried to get into Champions of the Force (see holiday books post later) but struggled as it seems so badly written after Stephen King’s Joyland. Gone are the days of in-flight movies and so I drifted in and out of the land of nod. We were twenty minutes early landing and had to wait ‘on the apron’ for ten before they would let us disembark. More conversation about teeth occurred. Maybe they were dental students?

The advantages of the small airport at Skiathos become clear as the wait for your baggage is minimal – there is no time for the usual paranoia about your suitcase not appearing on the carousel to kick in. Jodie our transfer representative was efficient and friendly and seemed to be coping well with her too tight uniform. She rattled off the joke about Greek plumbing in exemplary fashion and also mentioned the Beatles and Mamma Mia – tick, tick. No mention of Goldie Hawn though, cross. Because Skiathos is a small island the transfer times from the airport are minimal.

The staff at the hotel were genuinely pleased to see us again (this was our second time staying there) and after a quick unpack we ventured down to the pool. I thought it best to meet the challenge head on. I was taking adult swimming lessons last year until some stupid little arsonist chavs decided to set fire to the swimming pool – I suppose it sounded like a challenge. It was therefore with some trepidation that I ventured in, kitted out with my new prescription goggles from www.goggleyed.co.uk. The water half way along the pool was twice as deep as the training pool, but it went okay and I did a few widths quickly realising that the crawl was going to be my stroke of choice. Confidence is the key… that and not trying to breathe in when your mouth is underwater.

After a bit of sun-bathing and a supply run (bottled water is required) we went out for tea. Please note here that I call my meals  breakfast, dinner (or lunch), and tea in that order. I am not one of those people who refers to their evening meal as dinner. If dinner is the evening meal then why are dinner-ladies at school called dinner-ladies hmm?

We know to expect service to be slow in Greece, but we went to Kalivi Taverna that had one guy trying his best to wait on ten or so tables; the expected waiters (two vaguely Scandinavian-looking men) from previous years were not there. I’m not sure if the business has changed hands or they were just taking a break. A skiing holiday perhaps? He managed okay and once the bread and our drinks I relaxed. Ah… Mythos, the drink of the Gods. There is another draft beer called Alpha on the island and the two are a little like Amstel and Heineken. Both are very moreish; yellow, fizzy, wet and best served in an iced glass out of a chest freezer. Bread is pretty much obligatory at most tavernas and you tend to get charged if you eat it or not, so you may as well eat it. I don’t think it is good form or a smart move to refuse the bread. One impatient couple walked out in disgust, fed up of waiting, obviously rookies. We shrugged. It was their loss; the food was great and not too pricey. I had mixed grill for about 4 Euros less than the going rate which in Troulos is about 12.50 Euros.

While we were waiting we supped our drinks and engaged in round one of our holiday game entitled ‘celebrity lookalike’ which is a lot more blog-friendly than ‘worst tattoo in the world’. The game featured guest stars Paul Gascoigne and George Michael. Then it was off to Christaki’s Sports Bar for cocktails. The sports bar features in Broken (yes I will be plugging the book).

Chris gave us a warm welcome back and free nuts and some Bugles. Bugles are crisps shaped like little vuvuzelas; usually cheese or paprika flavoured and sadly not found in the crisp section of the local shop during our supply run. I did see some ‘Fonzie’ crisps and bought a packet of what looked like onion rings but turned out to be circular Wotsits with straight Wotsits in the same bag – both shapes were the same flavour – pointless.

Chris had numerous televisions on the go showing – golf, rugby, Coronation Street and BBC1. Unfortunately there’s no Euro or World Cup this year. However that doesn’t mean that Chris hadn’t planned ahead and arranged some choice entertainment (more details later) and also the holiday wasn’t devoid of football altogether (again more later). We saw a weather report for the UK which made us laugh.

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