Corfu Part 1 – Travel

Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:56 | Filed in Travel

It had that ‘long day’ feeling about it from the outset. At six p.m., we were heading out for a meal. At two thirty a.m. our taxi would arrive to take us to the airport to begin our holiday. And as at six p.m., we hadn’t finished packing. Nor had we even begun to check through the things we had packed.

You do the maths.

By one-fifty a.m., we’d finished packing, checked through the most important stuff and the GLW was having half an hour’s doze, but I reasoned that I had jolly well better stay awake, as if both of us went to sleep, the chances of waking up naturally thirty minutes later to catch a taxi would be virtually zero.

After setting the airport scanners off (belt, money, keys etc already removed), I had to try again sans shoes which were examined while I was closely examined by a security guard who determined that the reason my trousers were setting the alarm off was ‘cos they had zip pockets. I must admit to having experienced a worrying moment when I saw him pulling a pair of plastic gloves on, though…

Two hours spent in an airport departure lounge in the early hours with the company of small children wasn’t quite the nightmare I had expected. Despite being over-excited and over-tired, the wife kids were reasonably well behaved which was a pleasant surprise.

We were on a Boeing 757 which took off about 20 minutes late as a couple called Crawford managed to disappear somewhere between the check-in desk and the plane so obviously we needed to wait while their bags were unloaded again. Given the flight time (5:25am), I presume they would eventually have been found asleep in the departure lounge somewhere.

Then we’re off and the ginormous lump of metal shoots up into the air. There’s something quite beautiful about looking at the tops of clouds (particularly as it’s not something you see very often) although at the same time it does remind you somewhat that you’re sitting in a little tin box way, way up in the sky.

I don’t know about other people, but I’m a slightly nervous flyer. I know statistically speaking planes are safe, compared to stuff like road transport, but it’s just the idea of being so very far above the ground and there being very little you can do about it if something goes wrong that I find somewhat disconcerting so I distract myself by looking at the scenery going past. I’m not that bad a flyer — it’s just a slight uneasiness — as opposed to some of the pale-and-clutching-the-armrests-whimpering brigade.

Anyway, breakfast was served on the plane. Like much aeroplane food, it manages to take a foodstuff I like — in this case the ‘traditional English breakfast’ — and repackage it in such an unappetising way that I couldn’t even face opening the packet. The fact that they then sell additional breakfasts at £7.50 a pop to those people who had been sensible enough not to book one in the first place rather demonstrates the power of having a captive audience.

By this stage I had been awake for more than twenty-four hours (eight a.m. UK time, ten a.m. Corfu time) as we are approaching Corfu airport. So there’s a few more hours to go (arrivals, baggage claim, coach transfers, check in at the hotel) before I can get anywhere near anything approaching a bed. Ah well, I might as well just leave it until that night, eh?

But other than the Disappearing Crawfords™, the flight was completely uneventful (which is, let me assure you, the preferred type of flight) and a little over three hours after taking over, we set down in K√©rkyra (the local name for the island, and also the main town).

Again, it was a remarkably painless experience: show passports, wander through, pick up baggage, find bloke in Thomas Cook jumper, get directions to coach, give baggage to coach guy, get on coach, vegetate on coach for two hours until we get dropped off at the hotel. Transfer time of two hours drags on more than a little but the scenery helps take your mind off it.

And then, about three hours after arriving at Corfu airport, about seven hours after setting off from the UK (about nine hours local time, owing to time zone changes), and more than thirty hours since I had last had any sleep, we arrived at the Roda Oasis Hotel.

…but that is another story.

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