The holiday began in the same manner as nearly all our family breaks do; at 2am with a sister running around with last minute packing and a cat stubbornly refusing to get out of the car.
With much howling and struggle, India finally found her glasses. Squeak the cat on the other hand was more susceptible to food bribes so was less of a challenge.
The Bennett holiday had begun.
This time round the destination was North Corfu. A delightful Greek island with a geophical position which none of us were able to identify. India’s famous get out clause of “I study Human Geography, not Physical” would become a happy addition to our trip whenever we saw something of natural beauty on the island.
We were flying from Birmingham International airport, located in the Midland’s region of England. Birmingham airport is well renowned in Britain for it’s charming characteristics, such as it’s excellent value duty free lines:
It’s attractive underwear selection:
…And it’s unique and inspirational way of dealing with broken down facilities:
Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to fully utilise Birmingham International Airport as our plane started boarding on time (well, as on time as planes are). Thanks to a delightful couple spending all their time in duty free (who can blame them – see pictures above), we ended up sitting on a stand still plane for 45 minutes longer than need be. I had a quick flick through the magazine during this time and found some delightful articles, including this one:
Watch out – next season Thomas Cook will be releasing the new Unisex eau de parfum. They put a cat in a room with too much food and milk and whatever comes out first gets shoved into a bottle and sold for £70. An organic fragrance for him AND for her.
While the flight lacked the high spirited musical apparel experienced on other flights…:
…Once we took off Thomas Cook did a lovely chart to remind us where we were in relation to the world.
Soon we had landed in Corfu, well Corfu International Airport to be precise. Corfu International Airport may be smaller in size compared to other airports. But it is not to be sniffed at. It is
probably one of the best airports in Greece due to a number of factors lifted from British airports. It’s growing popularity can be placed on it’s great value duty free:
It’s reasonably priced, excellent quality 4.80€ coffee:
…And it’s handling of broken down facilities (as inspired by Birmingham International Airport):
(They’re still working on the queuing system)
Outside the airport we had to deal with the shocker that was being in a country where the sun actually shines. It was very hot. At 35 degrees it was by far hotter than anything we’d ever experience in the UK. Walking around at midnight in t shirts and thin dresses was quite a big deal for us until we were well into our seven day break.
Driving up to our hotel located in Roda we couldn’t but be a little concerned. During our one hour transfer this was a very common scene:
Literally piles of rubbish, casually sitting on public highways and in the centre of residential towns. On a bus full of British tourists there were muffled comments and concerns. When I first saw several mounds of rubbish I thought I’d say ‘rubbish’ whenever I saw one to break up the journey (this was at 14:00, when I’d been awake since 1:00 and had only slept for two hours beforehand anyway. I was desperate). This amusing game soon got boring when I realised I was saying ‘rubbish’ in every other sentence like a girl with a mild form of Tourette’s. I suppose it’s easy to forget of all Greece’s finical troubles when you’re fighting your own battles across the stream.
On arrival at Ramira Beach the family breathed a sigh of relief. Never had we been so settled by the thought of entering a gated community.
The hotel itself was great. We’d end up spending a good deal of time there utilising the all inclusive facilities. That said, Papa Bennett never did feel satisfied with the quality of the fire extinguishers.
(I also found a dead moth outside our room. Given we arrived on the 23rd June, the day of the EU vote, I should have taken this for what it was. A terrible, terrible omen.)
Food at the hotel was pretty decent in fairness. Points for the integration of Greek food into a client base that was predominately English, French and Eastern European. For instance I think Jamie Oliver himself would have been proud at the custom of deep frying broccoli:
I also discovered a new foodstuff I love. Fried cheese is the worst but the ultimate bestest thing to ever happen to me, I swear.
Grilled cheese in a beach front restaurant? Don’t mind it I do!
Probably one of the few places where the hotel didn’t quite meet expectations was the entertainment. The reps did a sterling job, don’t get me wrong, but it just wasn’t at the level we’d been spoilt by on other holidays.
(Yes, I was aware I was filming children, no I’m not proud of it.)
Not wanting to disappoint, I stepped in to demonstrate my skill set should the hotel seek out new talent:
There was also this scary image in the theatre:
…And the weird painting.
Of course this was all overlooked by the fact that the hotel had a creperie WHICH STAYED OPEN UNIL 1:45AM!!
That eatery will always have a place in my heart. Always.
The local town to the hotel is Roda Village. Roda was full of attractive shops which were always open:
With attractive displays:
And furnished with the unique ability to literally rent anything:
There was also this:
Anywho, Roda was a lovely town. In fairness my photos do the place very much down, it was a bustling little community full of beach side bars and restaurants which cater to all and tended to be catered by Brits. Always a bit surreal giving a drinks order slowly to make yourself understood to then have a tanned cockney repeat it twice as fast back at you. Besides, the town had inflatable sea creatures and ultimately that’s all you need in a tourist town.
The other top shopping destination on the island is Corfu town. The family went there one day, opting to go by boat to take in the dramatic coastline scenery (remember what I said earlier about India and her Geography knowledge?)
Corfu town was, again, very nice. Of course there was the tourist tat there:
And the What the Fudge is This Doing in A Hot Country? Stuff:
(We all decided that only one country/global region would seriously consider this look, and it ain’t Scarborough.)
No island capital would be complete without some dodgy photoshopped advertisements either.
Bottom right – that is one messed up finger hand if you ask me.
But that said Corfu was also a very nice place to visit generally.
A town full of culture, pretty side streets and rustic buildings. Worth a visit, it was only a shame we couldn’t have spent longer there. I mean after all, it did give India plenty of stunning camera shots for her collection.
While this was going on though, back in the UK all hell was breaking loose thanks to the outcome of our EU Referendum. As we were in a foreign country, our only news outlet was Sky News and the limited information we were getting from peers back in the UK. As Greece is two hours ahead of GMT we were discovering the news way before the people of Britain had even woken up. Safe to say on the first morning of our holiday the atmosphere within the family and indeed the hotel was shock, fear and anger. Nobody could quite believe what had happened. Staff understandably never mentioned this topic, but the hotel guests were not so close lipped. Given the mixture of cultures staying at the hotel, the place was awash with gossip and debate. Every so often I’d hear a couple talk away in German then say “Merkel” or “Hollande” and I knew exactly what they were talking about.
One evening we were eating our crepes and chatting away about something other than the EU, when two Polish men asked us if we were from England. When we said yes one man responded “why did you decide to leave Europe? Crazy decision!” Bizarrely we then had to tell these men that we wanted to stay. We kept repeating that we wanted the UK to remain part of Europe as if these two men eating strawberry shortbread ice cream could reverse the decision. Instead our pleas intrigued two German women to get involved with the conversation. The Polish men explained that their window business was now going to suffer but that they would find the work elsewhere if they had to, the German women kept saying “you all voted out? Why?” Their confusion was no doubt fuelled by Sky News’ wonderfully inaccurate map of the UK, which to those who weren’t native English speakers, would indeed support this belief.
The real result was a lot more complex and diverse and was a patchwork of blue (vote leave) and yellow (vote stay). Granted blue ultimately trumped yellow in the vote, but if I saw the same picture for, say, Germany, I’d understandably assume the country all wanted to leave. The 48% to 52% closeness of the vote didn’t seem to get through to other countries based on what we heard out and about and saw on the news.
The funny thing is before I went off on holiday I had heavily joked that if the country screwed up in the vote to remain in Europe I’d claim asylum in Greece. It was said as a passing comment when nobody believed the impossible could ever happen. How strange that what can be considered a witty joke one day can turn into a cruel jest the next. We honestly did have a good time in Corfu as a family, but we could never really shake off the fear of what we were coming back to. The only humour we could take from the whole experience is Papa Bennett rushing to the pool side with news updates which five minutes later were vastly out of date. That and naming India’s various mosquito bites after members of the Shadow Cabinet who had resigned. We called the worst bite on her knee Jeremy. You take what humour you can from a bad situation.
As the last days approached there was time for last minute glam shots including me doing my yoga on the jetty, looking moody on the rocks and looking glamourous with my family.
Oh and there was also time to squeeze in a outing on a pedalo. Just because.
(And on the last night we played a trivial guessing game which I won and papa Bennett lost. The score card ended up looking like something from Numberwang and I’m totally not smug about the fact I won. Not. At. All.)
So yeah, I’d say it was a good holiday. Would like to go back soon.
Sorry, what’s that? Nigel Farage and Scruff the dog have become Emperors of England, while Borris is now King of the North? And Nicola Sturgeon of the People’s Republic of Scotland is rising up on her dragons of war? Dammit, I knew I shouldn’t have overlooked that dragon cloud over Albania.
It’s the ruddy moth all over again. Sod it, TAKE ME BACK TO GREECE!!