Corfu – Part 1

This trip started from home in Bristol, but because I couldn’t find any last minute deals from Bristol, we travelled to Gatwick, and flew from there.
Due to some unfortunate timing requirements, we ended up arriving at Gatwick 4 hours before our flight. Still, never mind.
Interestingly, for all the times I’ve shunned cheap flights from other airports because they’re going from “London” and “it’d be awkward to get to from Bristol”, I was surprised to discover that Heathrow (Gatwick coach goes via Heathrow en route) is only 2 hours from Bristol by coach. Considering how much extra choice it gives you (and how coach/train/taxi/lift/whatever is still required to get to Bristol’s miles-from-anywhere airport), I won’t be so quick to rule it out next time.
Sadly, it’s another 1.5 hours to Gatwick, but still – a lot more choice when you include London airports in your searches.
The bus is about £50 return, each, but the saving outweighs that in my price comparisons. It could be even cheaper going Megabus, but the Megabus doesn’t go to the airport directly, and worrying about extra transfers and train changes isn’t something you need when traveling.

We had 15kg max of hold luggage each. At weigh-in, 7.something and 9.something. Good news. Well thought-out packing saved us dragging heavy suitcases around.

I’m not the most confident flyer it’s fair to say. Nor a very experienced one. Prior to this, I’ve left England on a plane only 3 times (and returned each time too, obviously).
This 4th time I flew to Corfu, which was also where I went on my first ever flight. Yes – I’ve been before. But that’s boring?! To go back somewhere I’ve been before?
There was method in this particular madness.

When I came here before nearly 10 years ago, I was on a Club 18-30 holiday my mate won in a competition. Consequently, I flew to Kavos, spent a week with my mate and a load of massive arseholes, getting drunk (I got bored of feeling sick/hungover after about a day, but sadly the die-hard 18-30’ers didn’t), and then flew home. I saw absolutely nothing of the island except one street of bars and a visit to a water park.

This time, it was within my miniscule budget (and one of the few places that were, in a very expensive September (travel agents and online price comparisons confirmed this)) and I wouldn’t be staying in the chavvy bar section.
I wanted to come back with my girlfriend so we could explore it properly.

If I had a hat on, I would take it off to Monarch Airlines. Because we booked the trip so late through an agent, we were told we had to have the inflight meals, as they will have already been scheduled. What a surprise, then, to find it was actually nice.

Nice airplane food? What? Have I lost my mind?
Seriously! Chicken and tarragon casserole, hot, and where I could taste both main ingredients. It was actually bordering on Pieminister Chicken of Aragon. That nice.
Also, a very chocolatey chocolate mousse.
Then cheese, crackers, and fig and date compote. Has budget flight food massively improved recently, or is Monarch just setting some new standards?

On arrival at Corfu airport (24degrees at 1am in September), I was surprised to see how much had changed. Or to put it another way, nothing has changed.
It might say “International Airport” on the door, but there’s about 4 staff.
Two in charge of passport checks. One looks, the other does…something else. The person who looks checks the passport only – not sure they even looked at me.
There is 2 baggage carousels (for when it gets *really* busy) but only one is working. It looks like they built a temporary airport for tourists, and yet, nearly a decade from when I was here last, it’s exactly the same.
(According to the guide book my girlfriend bought, it’s only an international airport part of the year. If you want to go to Corfu in winter, you have to go via Athens, because they don’t accept flights from elsewhere.)

Found the holiday rep, found the bus, and we’re off again.
The first hotel looks quite nice.
Oh dear. Second stop is us. We’re the only ones getting off the coach.
The driver can’t drive to ours because he can’t get back out of the road again afterwards or something, so we have to walk across a dual carriageway, and up a road. Neither the rep nor the driver knows where we’re going, and it’s very dark. We lose the driver but the rep and us keep going, and find the key to our self catering apartment in the door, as was mentioned in a note given to us earlier by a different rep.

First impressions are odd.
2 single beds. Well they didn’t actually ask if we were a couple, I suppose.
Easily resolved.

I’d queried before booking what self-catering got you, cooking wise. “An oven, fridge, hobs, kettle, sometimes a toaster”, I was told.
We’ve got a small oven, a hob (singular), and a fridge. There is one plug socket in the kitchen, so neither the hob or oven is plugged in, and can’t all be plugged in at once.
On my last trip to Corfu, I bought a 4-bar extension lead, and a kettle.
Nothing has changed. *Adds to shopping list*

Last time I was here, they had terrible plumbing, which you couldn’t put toilet paper down. You had to put it in a bin after you used it (ew gross), and a cleaner would empty it most days (but not *every* day). I’m glad to see that 10 years on they’ve fixed the plumbing and now you can put it…no..wait..still? In a bin? Eugh.
My girlfriend is not best pleased about this. I may have forgotten to remind her about this aspect.
I’m going to assume from these things, it’s still not safe to drink the tap water.
Last time I was here, I was told not to accept ice in my cocktails because it would be made from tap water.
*Adds bottled water to shopping list*
(Girlfriend’s guidebook says tap water “should be ok”, but only if boiled first.)

There is some amusing DIY cockups dotted throughout our apartment. There’s multiple hooks for the shower, as if they swapped showers and couldn’t be bothered to take the hook down, or couldn’t decide where to put it to start with.
I went to open a drawer in the kitchen and the mock-front-with-no-drawer-behind-it came off in my hand, as it wasn’t fixed in any way.
Never mind. I’m here, on holiday, and I’m sure it’ll be nice once we get sight-seeing.

4am ish.
I can hear a local dog barking, a couple talking and someone (I think one of the couple) making noises I can only describe as trying to get two bouncy castles separate from each other, that have become quite entwined.
A sort of inflatable/balloon rubbing/squeaking. Odd.
And that’s a cockerel crowing? At 4:20am? Several times, then it stopped.
The couple have now started having quite noisy sex.
And somehow my girlfriend is sleeping through all this. I wonder if I can record it, to play back to her later. *unlocks iPhone*

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