My last trip to Europe, if you recall, was to Brussels (Belgium) and was a bit of a disaster, culturally. Not much got done, bar one museum trip, other than excessive drinking, making bad life decisions, and learning all about Iceland’s weird incest problem via a night of boozing with some fellow tourists. In our defence, when a city’s number one attraction is a tiny statue of a boy pissing into a fountain, maybe our decision to basically just get on the ale for two days was for the best.
A few weeks later, towards the end of September, I found myself in Greece for a week with an old Uni friend. You may have thought, given the fact I barely saw any of Belgium other than inside bars, I would perhaps try and see the most of Greece; maybe some ruins, visit a famous lagoon, or even pop over to Athens for the day.
You didn’t really think that of me, did you? Shame on you.
No, we had one aim for the holiday, and it was to spend as much time of it in the sun; reading and eating until our bikini’s became snug. 7 days and 5 books later, I was tanned, full of feta cheese and struggling to put my jeans on for the flight.
Here’s a few things I learnt while basking in the heat:
1. Running for a plane is scary
Before any of you smug sorts start, I am one of you – I have no time for anyone that turns up at an airport without a passport and I judge people who seem to think that being on the last minute is something to be proud of. Hear me out. We arrived at the airport a handsome six hours early – so bloody early that we couldn’t even check in and get through security. We had no choice but to get bladdered in a Wetherspoons and miss our calling hours later. As we ran past 70 gates to catch the plane before it departed without us, I thanked God I’d hammered the gym for the past few weeks.
2. Raki tastes like paint stripper but is strangely addictive
We were first introduced to the Greek’s drink of choice via a resident piss head at our hotel bar. It burnt the back of my throat and I wondered why everyone was so keen for it. Fast forwarded seven days, I’m in the local offy buying water bottles filled with the stuff. Apparently the honey flavoured stuff is great for keeping colds at bay *Hiccups as writing*
3.”The best-laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry”
With me being into my politics (aka boring all my friends at 4am after a few drinks and droning on about the impending privatisation of the NHS), I have had a passing interest in Greece’s politics of late. Realising they were to have an election of sorts while we over there, I had some grand ideas; maybe I’d take my dictaphone and do some crowd sourcing of the locals opinions? Perhaps I’d do a live blog of the results as they happened?
The reality? I noted that they were many A for Anarchy signs graffiti around the place and that’s about as deep as I delved into Greek politics. Also, I got out of the pool and toasted Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership victory with some dirt cheap prosecco with my friend. Champagne Socialism at it’s finest.
Secondly, prior to landing in Greece, I had well voiced my intent of getting at least 20 lengths done in the hotel pool before breakfast (a healthy fruit option, of course) and perhaps a few hikes – coming back with a tanned, toned body.
That was the plan. What actually happened was that I managed 12 laps on the first day and then started having Barcadi Breezers for breakfast….
4. As soon as you’re out of the country, all your taste leaves you
I like to think of myself as a classy drinker; after years of working behind a bar, turning my nose up at anyone ordered a WKD (and pronouncing it Wicked – the worst sort), I’m the kind of girl to order an Old Fashioned on a night out these days.
Get me in the sun with a cheap bar metres away and I’m all about the Orange Bacardi Breezers and a cheap Marlboro Light. Bloody Brits abroad, eh?
Most shameful thing about all this is that our small, quiet apartments had to actually make a run to the local wholesalers to get more Breezers in, solely for us. Don’t worry – I’m writing them a glowing Trip Advisor review as soon as I’m done.
5. I’m an accident waiting to happen
I hurt my knee quite badly one day. Did I fall over drunk? Get too into Greek dancing?
No. On a bus back from the old town, my thunder thighs had become quite sweaty. When I stood to get off, the sweat on my legs caused me to slip and fall, quite dramatically, onto a step.
It’s a shock I’m single.
6. Greece’s economy is great for a tourist
I feel for Greece at the moment but once I learnt I could get basically half a bottle of wine in a glass for 2 euros, I quickly stopped thinking politics and switched my thoughts to just how much food and drink I could get into my system.
We ate like kings for a week and I still spent way less than I had done in Malia nearly 10 years ago.
7. Karaoke is fun
At our local restaurant, where we had dinner every night (it was a choice between three places and one of those had an pissed up owner who would forget to bring you your order), we made friends with the two young girls working there. They begged us to do karaoke, as they’d only ever heard their manager’s rendition of Frank Sinatra’s hits every week for the past six months. We protested, claimed it wasn’t our thing, but then a few wines and rakis later and we were giving one hell of a performance of Alesha Dixon’s ‘classic’ The Boy Does Nothing.
We then hogged the mic for the remainder of the night and argued with Pam and George (The Ex-Pats in charge of the evening) when it was time to wind down. If you happened to be dining there that evening, I can only apologise.
8. Working by a pool is amazing
I still had work to be done while I was away (don’t feel too sorry for me, I’m cramming a lot of jaunts abroad this year) so I had to take my Mac Book* with me and crack on by the pool a few days. It was amazing – give me some sun and the incentive I can take a dip once I’ve hit 500 words and I’m the most productive woman in the world.
*Apologies I said Mac Book when laptop would have sufficed. I’ve only recently got one and can’t stop showing off.
9. It’s great to switch off
Although I had to work now and again still, it was actually great to switch off. My job requires me to constantly be on my phone and connected to the internet. It was boss to be away with someone who barely checked their phone which rubbed off on me.
While on one my little browses of Twitter (well, I wasn’t going to go cold turkey), I found this great post from Girl Lost In The City about how to handle your time online. I’m still yet to get the correct balance but it was a great blog.
10. Buying actual reputable sun care products is grown up and wise
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I'm on holiday in Greece and today's plan is to swim, tan & read all day. Top tips for holiday: that @nivea_uk cooling mist sun protection is a God send when you need a bit of a cool down when tanning. And @euceriin do a great face protection creme which doubles as tinted moisturiser 👌🏿👌🏿👌🏿
I’m normally a girl who gets the cheapest sun cream on the shelf. However, I spent a couple of quid over my normal 99p budget and reaped the benefits. Reaching the end of my twenties (*gulp*), ageing of the skin is a number one concern and these beauties from Nivea and Euceriin were worth every penny. Same goes for splashing out on a decent bikini – as I mention over on my blog about boobs. Big up Bravissimo.
Hotel, Flights & Transfer (which was just a taxi for two of us): £300
Spending Money: £280 changed over into Euros. A couple of presents and duty free treats put on card.
Total: Roughly £600 for a week of non stop eating and drinking in the sun.
Greece, you were an absolute pleasure. Maybe one day I’ll come back and actually explore a bit of you.