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Friday, August 14th, 2015 - Comedy, Events, Fun, Our Team

Just spent a lovely week on the island of Skopelos (Greece), recently made famous as Mamma Mia was filmed there though not seen it myself – it’s a musical and not West Side Story
It’s a bit of a trek to get there as it doesn’t have it’s own airport (should be twinned with Crouch End that doesn’t have it’s own underground station). So you fly to Skiathos, hang around for a few hours then catch a Hydrofoil to Skopelos.
A slightly protracted journey, but worth it for the final destination.  A beautiful, pretty much unspoilt island.
I eventually got used to being constantly mistaken for Pierce Brosnan (& occasionally Meryl Streep strangely) and got on with the business of sunbathing and eating.

Week over, journey back to Blighty starting with a 5.30am wake up call, a short coach ride to the port and the Hydrofoil.
It was an extremely choppy ride, sick bags being handed out like confetti with scenes reminiscent of the “wafer thin mint” scene from Monty Python. My daughter very much leading the way.
We staggered off the boat for a two hour wait before the next coach arrived to take us to the airport, as there is no synchronisation between boat times and flight times.
We arrived at the airport the obligatory two hours before take off to discover that all flights had unspecified delays.
Skiathos airport is not a Gatwick or Heathrow. Or even a Luton. It’s very small and very basic. Not a place to be stuck at . And as passengers were arriving to add to numbers already there, it was chaos:
nowhere to sit other than the street outside, screaming kids, queues around the block, boiling hot. Nightmare.

About six hours after arriving, with no information forthcoming, holiday reps being hounded for news they didn’t have, we were finally put out of our misery and told that our flight (Stansted) plus the Newcastle flight had been cancelled for the day.So we had to collect our luggage and get the coach back into Skiathos where the staff of “El Grecco” were waiting for us with Greek salads and chicken n chips suppers. The veggies in our party were not best pleased.
A single rep accompanied us furnished with no information to face the angry mob with, so was verbally abused by some scary looking Londoners & Geordies, joining forces for the evening which was lovely to see. Solidarity between North & South.
Finally, Manager rep arrives with fresh info. We were to board a ferry at 11.45pm (5 hours after we had arrived) which would sail for 3 hours, to be met by a fleet of coaches ( there were about 400 of us) which would journey for a further 2.5 hours to our destination for the night,  Thessaloniki, to a  hotel 345km from Scopelos.
We were informed that there would probably be one flight to accommodate all passengers the following day that would go to London via Newcastle, but they couldn’t confirm this.

What to do in Skiathos when you have 5 hours to kill? Adopt the British never say die attitude & get hammered.
Forward wind and we are boarding the biggest ferry I have ever seen (one that takes vehicles, animals and people) that was already fully loaded, so no places to sit and lounge on the comfy sofas inside, but up and up to the only available seats on top deck. Those orange plastic seats you cannot be comfortable on. Designed to guarantee that.
There were seats available inside, but they were first class cabin seats & patrolled by security guards. Probably armed security guards such was the gusto they protected the area with. You would have thought, screaming exhausted kids, older people, all without decent seats, would have been allowed in just this once, but these bastards were protecting the empty space as if their lives depended on it.

Outside on the upper deck was no fun; people trying to sleep on the flow, wind blowing a gale, my hair not blowing in the wind because I haven’t got any, but would have been back in the day.

Three hours, or nearer four we were on a coach to the hotel, which arrived at 7.30am. So we had been up for 26 hours by now.
Finally got some kip in a very strange hotel that was either just opening or just closing, but could take 400 people at a drop of a hat in the busiest part of the  holiday season, so something wasn’t right.

Awoke to no messages from reps telling us what was happening, but informed by our fellow travellers what rumours they had heard.
Coaches arrived at 3.30pm and we were informed there were two flights. The original one to Stanstead and one to Newcastle, but as there wasn’t enough room on the Stansted flight for all original passengers some would go on the Newcastle one, hang around until Newcastle passengers had departed & then go on to London.
But they wouldn’t tell us what flight we were on until we were checking in. The Newcastle flight arriving 3 hours later than the London one.

Yes this story has a happy ending!!
We got Stansted flight. And the extra legroom I shelled out for when I first booked which is the reason we still got on the flight and were “chosen”.
Money talks.
Let’s see if compensation does too.

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