It has been a really crazy two months, which I can’t believe has already come to an end. Today I will be concluding my tour of the London airports and flying out to Puerto Rico to join Adventure of the Seas. I’ve been constantly on the go since signing off the Ovation, at the end of June and I feel like I’m going to need a holiday to get over my holiday (yea that’s right, I’m still not calling it a vacation even if I do work for an American company).
The first week at the end of a contract, as always, consisted of catching up with friends, sleeping and coming back to reality. After that, a bit of work for my good friend Alex Eadle’s electric company helped fund trips to Greece with mum, flying from Heathrow, Barcelona, with 4 out of my 5 old university housemates, flying from Stanstead and finally Budapest with the fifth university housemate flying from Luton.
Each of my trips were completely different from the next and this post is going to go through the most unique of the three holidays which was a week on a 40-foot yacht sailing around some of the Greek islands near Athens.
My mum Christine, or Mrs C to those of my friends that are lucky enough to know her, has a highly stressful job working as a therapist so I was more than happy to join her in a relaxed trip on a boat sailed by an ex colleague. Her ex colleague, John, has recently begun a business with his partner Katie, providing sailing holidays where you can learn the basics of sailing or simply kick back and relax.
Flying with mum meant going a bit up market from my usual easyJet holidays and catching a British Airways flight from Heathrow to Athens. By coincidence we caught the same flight as John who had been to his daughters graduation the day before.
In Athens we shared a half an hour taxi from the airport to Flisvos marina where we met Moli, the centre piece of Santipurna Sailing and our home for the next week.
We each had our own cosy little cabin that had a double bed and not much else. That evening we ate at a nice taverna overlooking the harbour, with a view of Panathinaikos football and basketball stadiums, which sit side by side on the opposite side of the marina. We were then rocked to sleep for the first time. Sleeping on a boat is so easy I’d spend a large chunk of the next week doing it.
Early the next day, safety briefing completed, we made the way out of Flisvos using the engine before being able to unfurl the head sail and make the most of a light wind to float soundlessly across the small channel toward the island of Egina. Relaxing is not a sufficient way to describe that five hour sail in the 35 degree heat. Sleeping, reading and a bit more sleeping was how I passed the time before arriving in a beautiful little bay surrounded by hills and a small taverna.
We spent three nights in two amazing little bays, out at anchor held steady by a rope around rocks on shore (which I swam out to attach myself whilst avoiding sea urchins). The other two nights we spent in marinas wedged in amongst other yachts like a car park.
Each morning, Katie would produce amazing breakfasts and delicious lunches in the afternoon with just two small hobs to work with. I’ve been to restaurants with huge kitchens that don’t come close to the quality of food that she produced in the confines of the tiny galley. In the evening, more often than not, we would eat at reasonably priced tavernas where the fresh Greek salads put all salads everywhere else in the world to shame.
I spent the week in the crystal clear waters, relaxing and learning how to paddle board. Whoever it was that told me that those things are easier than they look is a liar because the first three attempts to stand up left me with salt water up my nose. I paddled around for a while on my knees and it did actually become much easier after that.
We headed back for the mainland on Thursday and battled through waves that were definitely higher than the forecasted 3 meters. A very rocky journey got us back to where we began for our final night.
We weren’t flying until late on the Friday so we had the opportunity for a cultural experience as John and Katie welcomed their next guests to the boat. The tram took us half an hour to get into Athens centre where we looked around the first stadium to host the modern Olympics, a temple of Zues and finally the world famous Acropolis. The whole experience left me marvelling at the ingenuity of those that came before us, especially when you see the cranes and scaffolding up for renovation work and you imagine how they must have built the amazing structures without such help.
We caught our flight later that evening, mum with a healthy tan and looking immeasurably less stressed out than a week before when she had just finished the school year.
I sit here on the plane (that looks more like a bus) at Gatwick airport, the fourth different airport I’ve seen this month and reflect on how amazing my last two months have been. Thanks to my
friends that I’ve caught up with, however briefly, in the last two months, see you next in February