Santorini – Day 15 – Departures

Before and after breakfast (which for me consisted of two chunks of ham omelette and a mini croissant) there was much packing to be done. As usual it amazed me how many things didn’t get used – a host of vest tops (I only used two both of which got so skanked up they went in the bin), my gym kit (surprise surprise), a bunch of tee shirts (because I couldn’t make my mind up when I was packing and brought too many) and two thin beach towels (as we used the ones provided by our hotel).

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My beach shoes from Primark managed to last the two weeks but got binned. The soles are peeling away but they were very comfortable and I’ll probably by some more for my next holiday. I think the heatwave was too much for the glue holding the soles on and the dunking they got in the sea one time probably didn’t help either.

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Apart from the beach shoes, the other thing that I did differently this time was to bring a 5 port multi-charger so we could charge our phones and Siggy’s Fitbit from one socket. In the future I expect to also be using it to charge my Kindle, but so far that bit of tech hasn’t made it out of my bedroom. I still brought a stack of paperbacks with me and still have about 50 unread at home. That said I do have two titles unread on my Kindle and I’ll be reading one on the plane home.

Siggy went for a final stroll around with her camera once all the packing was complete. My priority was to stay as cool and unsweaty as possible so I just had a lie down under the soothingly cool air currents from the AC – trying to relax before the hassle we anticipate we’ll experience at the airport.

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The coach transfer took about half an hour and seemed quicker than when we arrived. I think we were lucky in the airport because it was an early flight – we didn’t have to queue very long at all to check in and put or luggage through the scanners (two separate short queues). However, at the height of the holiday season I can imagine that the airport can get chaotic very quickly.

Once we’d checked in and got rid of our suitcases, we went along to the Olympico Taverna for a sit down in the wind and some drinks. It is very windy again today. There’s another Taverna called the Apollo next door and both serve (much like in Kos and Skiathos) as the unofficial departure lounges for the airport.

After the misleading easy first steps within the airport once we went through security things got typically chaotic and stressful. I don’t know why we thought it would be any different to any other Greek airport we’ve experienced.

It started with Siggy’s bag being rifled through by a plastic gloved official with body odour issues and continued as I stood for what felt like hours in a queue to pay for some water (which was surprisingly cheap) while four members of staff bungled about behind the food and drink counter, seemingly oblivious or uncaring to the queue forming.

There were around four times too many people in the area beyond security and the queue for passport control was in fact approximately 6 queues merging into a stationary bottleneck at the booth where the officials were supposed to be checking passports.

Thing was, none of the queues were moving because they don’t have the capacity beyond the passport checking booth to house even one flight’s passengers and so it was only when the bus was ready to accept passengers to take them to the aircraft that they started letting people through the passport checking process. All very stressful.

The situation was not helped by people queuing for flights that weren’t shown on the displays as ‘boarding’ – not that the displays were particularly accurate given that our flight at one point said ‘departed’ while we were still stood on the queue looking at the plane through the window. Arggh!

Once we were finally on the plane, the captain said that we were waiting for the buses used by the previous departure, and that we had missed our departure window, so more delays.

I opened my Kindle app to find that the two books I thought I had were not downloaded on the phone, so I had a mad dash to download one of the books before we were supposed to have set our devices to flight mode. Thankfully The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut downloaded in time for me to read a bit. It’s not featured in my holiday books post but will get a mention in a future post.

We flew over some amazing scenery while lunch was being served we flew near Dubrovnik and then Split along the coast of Croatia.

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Stara Novalja, Croatia

Passport control at Birmingham didn’t take too long although there was a big queue; the automatic scanners seemed to be working a bit better than usual. Our baggage took bloody ages to arrive and then it was a ride with Siggy’s dad back home.

Celebrity lookalike: Jared Leto was in the queue for drinks in the airport.

All in all a very nice two weeks in Greece again. I enjoyed Santorini but as you may have gathered (if you have persevered through these posts) I was somewhat disgruntled by the prices and dismayed by the behaviour of a lot of the holidaymakers.

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While I have perhaps exaggerated a little for dramatic purposes there is truth in how I felt. I guess it’s like a lot of places – it would be great if you could remove the ‘grockles’ but you are one yourself. We just try to behave politely while we are abroad.

While ‘Brits on tour’ get a bad reputation if I was to make a sweeping generalisation, based on the evidence provided to me in Santorini, I think there are certain other nationalities that are catching up fast and my heart goes out to those Greeks who have endure their nonsense while trying to make a living from tourism.

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