I'm on the "Going" list for June, but as we're flying today we'll have our first day on 1st July so feedback is appropriately titled July.
So I have time to write this because we are subject to delay - captain says because the parking space at Skiathos is small - you could have fooled me!
But Birmingham airport is becoming less attractive these days. They sent me three emails before we travelled, telling me what a wonderful new experience I'd have with their new parking layout. We arrived at 4:40am, but with the closed driving lanes and therefore long queues, then finding that I had been directed into the wrong car park, it was a long walk and 5:10am before we approached the check in desks. Fewer desks this time meant that we didn't flow through as smoothly as previously.
At least we hit security checks at a reasonably clear moment and only queued for a "normal" time to get through. For a change, neither of us was jumped upon by the detector.
We had only about half an hour in the departures area until our gate opened at 6:15am for the 7:10am flight. Then it went ting pong again. They didn't even start boarding until 7:20. Then we were all on board at 7:40am when he said we'll be delayed another hour and ten minutes. GRR. Soon after he said "Hurray, good news, I've got it down to 45 minutes".
Anyway, instead of being at 30,000ft and 500mph, I'm squished up between these thin people's seats for an extra hour before we even get pushed back.
But I'm STILL going to Skiathos, so don't get your mocking going.
At least you fared much better than those flying with Small Planet from Gatwick I think who are still in the UK as their delay extended to today! 😟 Glad to hear from you Dennis, take care and hope you both have enjoyed your first early sea swim!
Did you change in to your "Grumpy Old Man" T shirt Dennis? I did try to watch your take off on Flightradar, but gave up. I did catch your landing though. I don't know if it's just my iPad but it's still a bit worrying when I see the plane veering off the runway when viewing in 3D! Bob
Hmmm wonder why Dennis hasnt updated for a couple of days? Hope all ok... wonder if the wifi at Villa Maria is still as poor as last year unless you are around the pool area.. Dennis Dennis come jn Dennis! 👍🏼🙂
That was my excuse, Di! If we'd had wifi in the room I could have done my updates either last thing or early morning (as I'm always awake early). There was good wifi at the pool, but there was a big group of us & it would have felt rude. Perhaps Dennis is just having too much fun!!
Can you believe me? I'm the one who slated Philip for being late with reporting an here I am, we landed 56 hours ago (that's half a day more than two days ago) and I haven't written a word. Thank goodness the meet with Phil was yesterday otherwise I guess he would give me a very hard time!
I regret that landing in a million degrees heat knocked me over. I have been forced onto a diet of beer and more beer, with no time at all to tell you all how wonderful it is here. My beer consumption rate has doubled, there's just no other way to cope with this. The pool is better than blood temperature, for goodness sake. Normally at this time of year, I get in very gingerly, allowing my bits to cringe in terror of the cold, but right now I just get in and think maybe I've forgotten my soap!
So what can I report apart from the heat, which others have already chronicled? Well, we landed on Friday, just an hour behind schedule. The flight had the first turbulence I've experienced for some years and it came before I'd even laid my lips around my first Baileys! So it was a relief to land, although only after another first, my ears gave me real pain for the first time in zillions of years - clearly I wasted my £70 on having my ears sucked out a few days before we flew!
As we got into our transfer coach, the queues to get into the airport looked awe inspiring and I shall try to put them to the back of my mind. We had a coach full and our turn for delivery to Villa Maria came an hour after landing, where daughter Stamatia crossed us off her clipboard and directed us to our appointed room, number six on the middle floor, lovely outlook over the pool and fields of sheep with tinkling bells. Complimentary beer waiting in the fridge didn't last long! I supervised the unpacking and then instead of going to the supermarket for supplies, we retired to the pool. More bath than refreshment. We were greeted by any number of Villa Maria regulars who had been asking where we had got to, overdue!
After a decent warm wetting, we repaired to Varelli taverna - tzatziki, two lamb kleftiko, large water and two beers (that's one more than usual) and off into the supermarket for our initial supplies. Back home (to Villa Maria) and flopped onto our beds to see if we could beat the heat and get to sleep. We certainly could. I confess I am sleeping Commando (don't ask!) in this heat.
Great to hear from you at last Dennis. Consider yourself reprimanded for your tardiness as you had a few of us a wee bit worried. We did know that you had arrived because Tre told of the meet at The Boutzi. I was disappointed to hear that you weren't wearing a carnation and carrying a rolled up copy of The Times. I hope you and Vera have a great time and keep well hydrated! Bob
Call off the search party!!! Phew I/we are glad to see Mr Grump (joke) back to his usual journalistic self! I remember that pool being a tad too warm Dennis, I thought maybe with it being a nice small size the water didnt down much being as there wasnt a big amount.. anyway you are forgiven (just) for your lateness in your attendance this time but dont make a habit of it 👍🏼😀
After a good night's sleep, we woke at 6am, decided to leave breakfast until after our swim and off we strolled to the beach. The sea was like glass, it was almost warm enough for my bits to accept and we gently swam up and down for an hour. On one 'length' I suggested we extend this leg to swim to the buoy at the far end. When we got almost there, it turned out that the buoy was a boy, so we turned back - we had already turned back from the other end because a couple of lads were stretched out asleep on a hire speedboat and we didn't want to wake them. Two swans came along accompanied by what seemed at a distance to be a baby, but turned out to be a goose. I explained the Danny Kaye song about the Ugly Duckling to two German women. They smiled and politely said thank you, but I'm not sure they appreciated it.
Off to to town with a young man conductor, not one of our regulars. We walked down Papadiamantis Street to buy a few essential items of clothing, then up to Plateia Sandwich bar for our snack. We were just within the right timescale for the meeting with Philip, Liz, Theresa and John, but unfortunately the sandwich boy had to get on the phone to the bakery!
I had to leave Vera to call on a friend in one of the peripteros to follow me on to the Bourtzi. I joined the 1pm meet at 1:30, not knowing how to apologise sufficiently. Phil was not yet aware of my reporting failures, so at least he was generously welcoming. All four of them were a successful turn up for the books - you know, you always wonder what's going to happen with a blind date but all four were great. Vera was not far behind me and we all enjoyed a lovely time. It turns out Phil and Liz are staying in accommodation directly opposite my dentist and as he doesn't bother with window blinds, they could have watched my ne gnashers take form if they'd been there last year.
We ate Saturday evening at Salt and Pepper - kalamari for Vera (and the complimentary litre of water), sea bass and two beers for me. €42.50. Vera asked to keep the receipt to be able to show to all those silly people who accuse S&P of being expensive.
Commandos must sleep pretty well, because I did. A little oversleep this morning, we didn't set off to the beach until 7:30am. The sea was a little choppy - not uncomfortable, but enough to surprise my bits with a wave of coolness! In a similar period to yesterday, we only managed a few lengths up and down the bay because choppy water is hard work.
A slightly more familiar bus conductor, still not our favourite. We had discovered yesterday that our favourite waitress at a particular gyros shop was no longer in attendance, so we have withdrawn our custom and asked our barman at the Villa for a recommendation. We ended up in Taverna Nikos, the one on Papadiamantis street with yellow fencing, just up from the cinema. The gyros were so delicious we had two!
We had already exchanged two of yesterday's clothing items and the extra time on double gyros (and beers) persuaded us the pool back in Troulos was more important than anything else, so off we went.
Pleased to hear that Skiathos life is just about as you remember it. We will be joining you at Villa Maria in just a few days so please get your car hire done and out of the way before then. We do not want to use up the luggage allowance with umbrellas, raincoats, etc when it can be saved for ouzo on the return trip. Hopefully your flight delay will be a one off and not a regular Friday occurrence. We look forward to reading your reports in the meantime.