Author Topic: The reason why it's been nearly 10 years since our last holiday! - PART 2  (Read 1425 times)

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Offline thecorfiot

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I am forced by the 20,000 character limit to continue our tale. Bob

Sami ... At Last!
We arrived at Sami at 6.15pm, some nine hours after leaving Corfu on a three hour journey! We were hot, we were hungry and worse still we had no car hired!

Determined not to have to fork out the taxi fare for the twenty-six kilometre journey to our hotel in Poros, we set off into looking for car hire companies. I remembered seeing one on the way in with a nice looking black Fiat outside. It was good to find that my sense of direction was as good as ever, for we found this hire company within ten minutes. The only problem was that they had just hired the Fiat to the young man sat smugly in their office. The swine!

We were referred to a company that we had just passed down the road, Athena Hire. In truth we had walked straight past as they only appeared to have scooters and motorcycles outside and I never noticed that the sign outside advertised cars as well as scooters.

(Robert) David Meets Goliath!
We got to the front door and I peered in to see what I at first took for a gorilla sat behind the desk with a 15 inch knife in his hand and a melon in front of him. The latter had been summarily split into four pieces. Dilemma! Do we disturb this creature at feeding time? Then again, we did need a car and this seemed the only possibility.

In we marched. "Show a little respect"' I thought. "Kalispera! Mi pos ehete ena aftokinito?" I asked (rough translation of the phonetics: "Good evening. Do you have a motor car?") "Ti aftokinito thelete?" came the response. (What car do you want?) It was at this point that I made a big mistake by showing our desperation! "Any car", I responded. "I have Subaru. You want Subaru?", said the Gorilla now anxious to show that his English was better than my Greek. "Fine", I responded. "You wait here. Missus, sit down", he directed at Tricia. Tricia sat down. I waited, rooted to the spot.

At this point, Mr Batistatos, for that was the gorillas name, stood up and shuffled out of the office. For the benefit of the reader, it may be worth fully describing Mr Batistatos. He was obviously Greek with a beard and a mop of dark hair tied back in a pony tail. He was enormous - about twenty stone in weight. Well actually, he was about eighteen stone due to the absence of one leg!

The Car
He returned driving an elderly, small, Subaru. "That will do", I said as he came back into the office. "You sure?" he enquired. "Yes, yes", we both chorused in case he changed his mind. Details were recorded and a hundred euros changed hands. "Where are you going?" Mr Batistatos asked. "Poros", we replied. "OK", he said with a doubtful expression on his face, "You take it slowly, slowly".

We left and made our way towards Poros. The road is across country and through some spectacular mountainous scenery. The fact that it is mountainous is important to this account because it was whilst descending the first hill that I discovered the importance of taking Mr Batistatos' advice literally and taking it "Slowly,slowly!" The car had no brakes! To be precise, there were brakes but they were minus any form of brake lining.

What to do? If we returned to Sami, there was sure to be no other car available and so we decided to venture on, VERY slowly, slowly! The handbrake was actually more effective than the footbrake. After a few applications of the footbrake, there was a continuous grating sound coming from the front brakes. "How loud was this grating?" you may ask. Well loud enough that by the time we had reached most villages, most of the men were waiting outside the Kafeneions, trying to see what this awful sound was approaching from about a kilometre away!

Poros And The Riviera Hotel
We reached Poros unscathed at about 7.15pm and found the Riviera Hotel with relative ease. Something had finally gone right. Not for long though. We got to our room and found that there was no key in the door as promised! Still the door was open and so in we trouped. "Don't unpack", I said, fearing the worst. I telephoned the rep and within ten minutes our key was delivered to the door. We were in the right room after all!

Should anyone wish to follow in our footsteps, we can report that the Riviera Hotel is basic, but clean. Our double room cost 32 euros a night in high season. (38 euros if you want an English breakfast thrown in). It is right on the seafront, separated from the 'Blue Flag' beach by a quiet road. I think it fair to say that the hotel had seen better days and was probably due for re-furbishment.

It was however, fine for our needs. The only thing that we would have liked was a fridge and tea/coffee making facilities. Still, there was always a bottle of Metaxa and Sprite from the nearby supermarket! Shame there was no ice though.

It would be unfair not to comment upon the plumbing. It was in the main what we expected. It comprised a toilet WITH seat and which flushed, a sign warning you of the perils of placing anything including toilet paper in the toilet, a shower which worked with shower curtain that allowed only a modest amount of water to go outside and finally a washbasin. It did however have one quirk. Be honest now, it wouldn't be Greek if it worked perfectly would it?

The first attempt I made to run water to shave with was met with a stream of continuous cold water. Not only was the water cold but the plug was about a quarter of an inch smaller than the plug hole. (We always carry a universal plug for such eventualities!) As you will by now have gathered, when faced with such situations, it is my habit to curse. I cursed! I contemplated the prospect of a shave with cold water. I contemplated complaining to the management. Then I turned on the cold tap. Eureka! Hot water! Gallons (or should that be litres) of the stuff.

After the experiences of that day I was almost reduced to tears. Only almost you will understand. Instead I did what millions of visitors to Greece have done before. I cursed Greek plumbers!

But What About The Car?
There was now the question of the car. There was no possibility of driving it further. I had run out of expletives to describe it. There was nothing else for it but to telephone the company. I thought up every argument possible. The best line of defence being attack, I decided that I would demand a replacement or threaten to return it via the local Police station.

As it turned out, I was met with an apology from Mr Batistatos' brother and a promise that a replacement would be delivered to the hotel before 10am the next day.

Having met and beaten every crisis, we decided that in my case at least, a shower was called for before slipping out to explore the town and dinner.

Poros wass a little like the Riviera Hotel. Much of it had seen better days but it was pleasant. Apparently it was the first place in Kefalonia to embrace tourism.It boasts a picturesque harbour which receives ferries from the Kyllini on the Greek mainland. Regrettably the only photographs that I have are of the beach taken early on the morning that we departed. I hope to rectify this during a future visit.

At the end of an interesting day, we sat on our balcony, sipping large Metaxas (drunk from the glasses in the bathroom!) whilst listening to the waves lapping the shore just across the road.

The perfect end to an imperfect day.
Grammar lesson: "I before E except after Old MacDonald had a farm!"

Offline Trisa

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Re: The reason why it's been nearly 10 years since our last holiday! - PART 2
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2012, 10:14:40 AM »
This story still makes me laugh! What a day!!

Think before you speak! If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

Offline Viviene

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Re: The reason why it's been nearly 10 years since our last holiday! - PART 2
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2012, 10:17:14 AM »
Morning Bob

Loved your Tale.  Really enjoyed reading it.  Thank you for sharing with us.  Hope you have many more to tell.

By the way from Part 1 of your Journey.  Funny how some words stick in your mind when learning another language  ;D ;D as soon as I read that word knew what it meant immediately  :-X

Viv 8)
Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting.

Offline daveyh

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Re: The reason why it's been nearly 10 years since our last holiday! - PART 2
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2012, 10:27:36 AM »
Excellent account. I loved your account of the water as that is exactly what my rented place is like today......the landlord put in the water pumps and insists all is fine and refuses to let a plumber look at them............I can run a hot bath from the cold water tap only; two flushes of the toilet and it is full of warm water to help with the cleaning!! Still you get used to it after a while.

Offline yaya

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Re: The reason why it's been nearly 10 years since our last holiday! - PART 2
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2012, 11:42:32 AM »
Enjoyed reading your story Bob it reminded me of why i love Greece and the Greek way of life so much...apart from the plumbing that is ;D

Yep, I also knew the meaning of that word. I've heard waiters use it under their breath many times when someone has given them a hard time!! :-X

Offline ellenjay

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Re: The reason why it's been nearly 10 years since our last holiday! - PART 2
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2012, 08:11:39 PM »
I enjoyed reading it too, have made a mental note not to hire a car from a big one-legged man with pony-tail on our may/June Kefalonia holiday! ::)

Offline Steve

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Great story,

Nothing suprises me in Greece anymore!

At least all Islands are consistant!

Steve,  8)
The "Corfu Villages Printed Book" is now available as the Corfu villages website. Price 9.95 it contains 60 stunning pages in high gloss featuring 50 villages with text and unseen photographs. All money raised will go to the Corfu charities and the less fortunate on the Island.

Offline shakespearstar

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Loved your story Bob.
Only in Greece......!
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life!



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