Saturday, May 03, 2014

Travel day

It is such an unfortunate fact that holidays have to end with a day of travel and that this detracts ever so slightly from the enjoyment of the holiday.

There weren't any photo opportunities today so no pretty scenes of the Aegean today.  The order of today was strictly utilitarian :

09:30 Taxi to Parikia
10:45 Ferry to Athens
14:45 Taxi to airport
18:30 Flight to Frankfurt
22:00 Flight to Johannesburg
09:30 Gautrain in to Sandton
10:00 Retrieve car from the office and
10:30 Arrive home after 26 hours of solid travelling.

Other than slight waits for the Ferry and the plane from Athens to Frankfurt it was a remarkably smooth trip and we even managed to actually sleep on the long flight from Frankfurt to Johannesburg so Caron is now determined that when we travel long distance it will only be in Airbus A380's from now on.  I must say that they are definitely more comfortable than anything else that I have flown in.

The security in Frankfurt is a little over the top and they made me take out each individual lense and then they had a look into them which I have never had to do previously.  In addition, when we got home we found that they had opened my baggage and there was a note from the German baggage handlers to say that they had removed the matches that I have for lighting cigars which was a bit of a cheek I thought.  They also had a look into the tin of origanum that we had bought and omitted to close the lid properly so by the time I opened up the suitcase I had origanum infused luggage.  A nice touch compliments of the Frankfurt security people I thought.

Friday, May 02, 2014

And so it ends

... at least until the next trip.

We all enjoyed yesterday afternoon so much that we had another beach day and headed there at about 11:00 and spent most of the rest of the day there doing pretty much nothing at all other than read, swim a little and just generally chill out.

The water was still as cold as I remembered it from yesterday but it was a little easier to get in today for some reason. Just in case anyone doubts that I did actually swim, herewith some photographic proof.

The van der Riets minus Alistair who seems to have been psychologically scarred from yesterday and wouldn't swim today were all in the water but only up to their waists so, kind person that I am, I ran in and helped Kirsten and Megan to get themselves wet.  Kirsten saw me coming and made a bee line for the shore so I only managed to splash her a bit but Megan was caught with me between her and the shore so now she can say that she really swam in the Mediterranean.  In getting Megan completely immersed I went under myself and the water is a bit more salty than we are used to so my eyes started playing up again and it was time to get to the shore and out of the salt water.

 In spite of  Megan's grin in the photo she wasn't going to thank me for ducking her even though she begrudgingly enjoyed having actually gone all the way under.  In the age of euphemisms, I think that maybe should be known as 'assisted swimming'.

Caron and I left the family at about 18:00 because that is actually quite enough beach time for me while the van der Riets enjoyed the last couple of hours of sunshine on the beach.

  We all met back at the apartment to go out for one last supper but on the way we had to take a tour past all the charter yachts and the one above seems to be about the right size.  The 'happy' song was blaring out from the cockpit and that got Kirsten dancing away on the quay while Megan and Alistair did their best to disown her.  There were some mutterings about possibly doing a yacht charter in the future but neither Carl nor Caron were over enthusiastic so we'll see if Kirsten and I can negotiate with our spouses.

The trip got really expensive at around this stage because Caron had spotted a pearl ring which she liked but, up until this point, the jewellery store had always been closed.  Unluckily, tonight it was open so queue a credit limit busting transaction and Caron was very happy with her new acquisition.

I can't remember what the name of the restaurant was but it was set quite far back from the quays on the main pedestrian thoroughfare and the food was quite good.  Unlike in S.A. the courses arrive as they come off the stove or out of the oven so some arrive quickly whereas others take quite a while to arrive but what is nice is that it is always fresh off the stove.  We did the food sharing thing between Kirsten, Megan, Alistair and myself which worked out pretty well.

So that is it, tomorrow is travel day but at least it doesn't start too early.

Around every corner ...

The end of the holiday is approaching rather more quickly than any of us want and we have mixed feelings; on the one hand nobody wants to start thinking and planning for work that starts next week  but we have done about as much on the island as we can reasonably expect and we have two whole days to occupy with very little to do in the way of sightseeing.

The day broke with low scudding cloud and the occasion spot of rain so we all spent the entire morning reading; the entire van der Riet family sitting quietly side by side on the one and only settee.

By lunch time everyone was feeling like we really needed to do something and the weather had cleared up so we went for a walk to the other side of town and caught a couple of "slovaks" for lunch at kargas which is the anglicised, bastardised version of what the store's name actually was.  What we actually ate were souvlaki's and they go down extremely well; very cheap and very nice.

I'm not sure why the world tilted so much in the photograph below.  I think I have an unconscious tilt when shooting that I need to correct.

After fortifying ourselves for the hill up to the big church at the top we pressed on and walked through the graveyard behind the church which had a couple of unusual aspects.  Firstly, almost all the graves were from the last 20 years and it is quite disconcerting to see more than a few of people that are or were younger than we are now.  People have been vrekking here for thousands of years and one would have thought that this graveyard, being so close to the main church,  would have been filled ages ago.

Carl commented upon looking at the graves that whether the deceased were successful or not, trustworthy or not, beautiful or not, christian or not; the marble gravestone with a name and date was all that remained and spoke nothing of the life that was. My contribution to the conversation was that in a couple of generations the hole in history that they had occupied would have closed completely like water around a pebble; not remembered by friend, family nor foe.  The philosophical thought of the holiday and, as unpleasant as it makes one feel, that is just the way it is so best we make the most of what we have while we have it.

After that philosophical moment we walked down the hill and found the most fantastic beach so it was decided that the remainder of the holiday was going to be an impromptu beach holiday and because the sun is so gentle here even I thought that I would manage that.  We returned to the flat and gathered towels and costumes and headed for the beach and spent until sundown there before walking back around the edge of the coast, past the harbours and home.

One happy family warm again and enjoying the last of the sun in the same bay as we had been swimming in.  It must be said that the water was near freezing and it took a bit of getting used to and a little courage to go right under.  Once all the adults other than Caron who refused to get into the water we all had a good laugh at Alistair coming into the water; the pain and shock on his face and the way his arms were held so stiffly at shoulder height made it look like he was being crucified.

While we were sitting on the beach and in fact several times in the week we had been here we had heard and seen a van with a loudspeaker advertising something in greek; it was all greek to us but we thought that maybe it was electioneering or something but couldn't quite work it out.  As the van drove past on the road behind the beach we saw that it was like a mobile chicken coop; the greek equivalent of 'mielieees' in South Africa.  A lot of chicken and egg based mirth followed as we lay on the beach whiling away the time looking out over of the Aegean.

Back at the shack we baked the cheese pie and miniature calzone's we had previously purchased for supper which was only moderately successful.  In fact that may be a bit kind for the supper that emerged from the oven.