The flight out from East Midlands airport wasn’t so bad this year – this time people’s kids and iPods were the minor irritant, rather than the huge wedding party of adults behaving like children we had to endure last year. There was no in-flight meal unless you bought one and no thing on the televisions apart from the flight progress tracker which gets very dull after a while. I was in an aisle seat so kept getting buffeted by the staff and clipped by the trolleys. In theory I could have stretched my legs but it didn’t work out that way, sleeping was off the agenda and I didn’t get much reading done either. It made me appreciate the British Airways flights I have had now and again to Norway – free drinks, in-flight meal and plenty of leg room (and no kids!).

I was, as ever, happy to land, to get our luggage as soon as we got to the carousel, and to be recognised by the staff when we got to the hotel. The bus for Tigaki and Marmari was only about half full and we were the only people to get off at the Mayflower Apartments.

We checked into the same room as last year. Birds were nesting in one of the aircon units and had to be evicted, Christos is looking thinner than I remember but he’s just as friendly and professional. We got a free big bottle of water when we arrived which was a welcome touch and the bulge in the bathroom wall (potentially from a leak upstairs) has been sorted. The price of the air-con and the safe didn’t seem to have changed any and the place seemed to have had a lick of paint on the exteriors.

We left unpacking until later and got out as soon as we could to eat at Hercules taverna. All the meals will covered in seperate posts this year.

On our way to the taverna we saw a white peacock (or maybe it was a pea hen), and then the normal male one that we glimpsed once and heard daily last year, in the farm next door to the abandoned shell of a building next to the hotel. Not much seems to have changed. Nowhere has closed down (yet) and no new places seemed to have opened.

With a very reasonably priced mixed grill lining my stomach and a large Mythos under my belt, I let Siggy predictably drag me to Memories cocktail bar which was our home from home last year. Again we were recognised (no surprise given the amount of money we spent there last year tbh) which was nice. Even Mike’s dog recognised us and he largely ignored us last year. His penchant for chasing after cars hasn’t changed (the dog, not Mike, although I’m sure he has his moments).

The Euro 2016 football was on too which was double plus good. The match was France v Albania in which the hosts were lucky to score in the last minute and then put another one away in time added on to save their embarrassment.

I had a Hula Hula cocktail (fruity and probably involving coconut somewhere along the way – these posts are written in hindsight and post-dated so I will have lapses in memory and my notes are a bit of a scrawl at best due to the alcohol pops), followed by a Woo Woo, some free shots and another Mythos. Might as well start as we mean to go on in my opinon. We also demolished two or three little pots of free peanuts.

It felt good to be back in Tigaki. As the drinks flowed and the peanuts popped, I felt all the wound-up springs inside me beginning to relax. It’s been a bit of a nightmare at work in terms of job losses and the job of communicating them (part of my job these days) – all due to the difficult oil and gas markets globally. Siggy works at the same place and has had her own trials and tribulations, so it was good to immediately feel welcome and at home, and to know that there was little chance of bad weather or any hassle beyond perhaps what we might create for ourselves in choosing the wrong trips or the wrong day to go to the beach – you know – real first world problems.

The dogs just down the road from the hotel are still a pain in the ass when you’re trying to sleep – barking at all hours – but that’s what earplugs were invented for. The people next door are a bit noisy banging about and talking but hopefully they’ll be gone on Friday or next Wednesday when the next ‘rotation’ of guests happens. (Note in hindsight – didn’t hear much from neighbours at night beyond the first night – maybe we were the ones crashing about each night and bugging our neighbours? He he…).

[All images (c) Matthew Haynes]