Europe · 7 Days · 95 Moments · June 2015

CasMatt & Twigs' Grand Adventure

14 June 2015

Home now and time for a nap! Really enjoyed the last week, but I think I need some time to recover!
Dinner at Frankie and Bennie's with the 8 of us that remain.
Brief stop at Adam and Charlotte's house in Weston on the way home.
Bye Bye Little Cleave! It's been a nice couple of days. I met great people, learned to play darts, had a swim in the tiny pool. Won 2 board games, had some particularly hilarious and inappropriate conversations about shitting yourself and assholes, and some intelligent conversations about living forever, artificial intelligence, space travel, the universe and the space time continuum thing, what is consciousness? And other deep (?) philosophy. Great weekend away!

13 June 2015

Dinner at a local pub. Great conversations, great food, great people! There were 13 of us booked, but in hospitality it's considered an unlucky superstition to lay a table for 13 - so we were joined by Georgio the teddy bear.

12 June 2015

We have arrived at our home for the weekend. A cute little 2 bed cottage adjoining cottages full of our friends (that I know through Matt) on either side. It's gonna be fun!
Arrived at Exeter where people were waiting to pick us up. Now off to Sainsbury's, hopefully they will sell towels because we don't have any!
This bloody place again. We didn't have to stop for an hour this time, small blessings. Now onto our train until Exeter
Here begins the third leg of our grand adventure - off to Dartmoor we trundle, via Reading again (oh the joys) and Exeter
We have arrived at Gatwick North Terminal
On the way down and touchtown...
On the way down to London Gatwick. I've now changed my phones time to local time in London - or back 2 hours.
Apparently according to a conversation Lilly the air hostess and our seat neighbours were having, Professor Green is on our flight. And, would you believe it, he was the complete knob we saw in departures that had booked two tickets in his own name and was pretty much gonna leave his 'lady friend' behind. I thought I recognised the face and the voice. Matt had said it would cost loads of money if he skipped our flight to stay with his girlfriend with no ticket, but now that I know he's a minor celebrity with actual money, I'm even more adamant that he would be a knob for leaving her! In the end they sorted it out so they both managed to get on the plane. Phew! Apparently he's sitting on the plane, hood up and headphones on, being rude to the staff. And he's posted a tweet saying he hates easyjet because some of his baggage was tagged. What a knob. Just because you're famous doesn't mean you get to be a twat.
We decided to part with some Euros for Easyjet plane food. The choice was somewhat limited. We opted for cheese sub rolls with some kind of lettuce and tomato jam type thing. I had a twix and an orangina (because my duty free water is disgusting) and Matt had a Pepsi and no fewer than 12 sour cream and chive Pringles. All for the knockout price of €15.50, but Lilly the air hostess said not to worry over the 50 cents.
Mountains! They always look so spectacular.
And here, wherever here is...
Me and Twigs don't know which Islands these are, but we want to go.
See you someday maybe Kefalonia?
Bye bye Zakynthos! We love you
And we're up!
On the way to the runway now.
All boarded and ready, if not willing, to leave Zakynthos and return home.
Just waiting for the Speedy Boarding people to get off the bus, so that we can follow immediately but without having paid an extra £10 for the privilege and actually having enough seats in our sitting area and our end of the bus. What a joke!
There's our plane
Well, here we are - back at Zakynthos Airport ready to end the Greek stretch of our 8 day adventure, onwards to 'sunny' england for a weekend with friends in Dartmoor
Saying bye bye to Denise, Danny and Lizzie. Me and Matt are back off to Britain for the third leg of our grand adventure. Denise commissioned a very doddery old man with no English to try to take a photo of us all, but he stood blankly holding her phone so there is no photo.
Last breakfast of waffles, Greek yoghurt, honey and candied orange peel
Me and Twigs are getting in a few more precious minutes in our reading nook, especially since the sun is shining and I can probably catch a few early morning rays without too much damage! I've packed all my shorts, so it's bikini or nothing. Sorry world!
Off for our last holiday swim, our flight is at midday so we have to get up early if we want to do anything today. Feeling sad, don't want this to be over yet!

11 June 2015

We tried a Pork Gyros from a Grillhouse. There were many many Mosquitos and the cashier had no fingers, like as in he had had them chopped off. A bit scary and maybe not fantastically hygienic but €2 can't go wrong! A pork gyros is basically like a dinner kebab, salad and chips but inside a thick circular pitta. Essentially drunk food really!
Saw a glow worm! Cool beans!
Came back to get Crepes with everyone else. So yummy. I had a crepe with Stracitella ice cream and chocolate sauce, Matt had a crepe with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Denise had a crepe with bananas and chocolate sauce.
Chilling with a Sangria. Then a lizard appeared.
Dinner of Chicken something or other and salad with potatoes cooked by Denise. Delish.
We couldn't hire a quad bike, so we decided I stop here for some Ice Cream and Crepes. Matt had a pistachio ice cream and I had a plain sweet crepe with Vanilla Parfait ice cream. I'm still not sure what vanilla parfait is, I think it's got but chunks and the odd squishy fruit thing. Either way, we concluded the crepes are delicious and it's a travesty we only discovered the place on the last day!
This little cave is where the sulphur comes from. Stinky!
Stopping here for a quick dip in the sulphurous waters. Supposed to be good for the skin, but smells like farts! I won't be getting in, I've been told it smells vile and tastes foul and I do not want to stink! Done plenty of swimming today.
Just passing St. Nicholas port and the small island of St. Nicholas. This is the second main port of Zakynthos, the largest being Zante Town.
Swimming and Diving at the Blue Caves
Stopping at the Blue Caves for photos and a swim!
The Germans built a road here, so that they could make crossing from Kefalonia to Zakynthos. There doesn't seem to be a port or anywhere for a boat to drop people off, so I'm not sure what happened there!Another spot with beautiful water and interesting history.
I think this is Kefalonia that we are passing now
This is San Andreas Island, you can see a small section of really old wall. Basically, what happened is that a huge earthquake destroyed this part of the island leaving just the little bit of San Andreas and the little section of wall standing. Apparently this is a highly active area for pirates!
We got to get closer to one of those places I mentioned earlier, where great chunks of the rock face have just come away. The water was that perfect shade of aqua blue again.
Leaving the shipwreck now, back off towards the Blue Caves!
After a very brief swim (it's bloody freezing in there!) I am now lying out on the beach to warm up and dry off. I can say I've been in, at least! The beach drops off very suddenly and the water is very deep, so not really a Cassie place to swim really.
We have arrived at The Shipwreck. It's funny, the boats just sort of power up the beach a little ways and ground themselves, then when everyone is off they just power themselves back off again. I don't think I've ever seen water so blue, it's absolutely beautiful. The sand, in the other hand, is horrible! It's so rocky and pebbly, it hasn't ground down into true sand, it's so painful to walk on that I've commandeered Matt's Toms to walk in, even my sandals won't save me!
Approaching the bay of The Shipwreck. The water is so stunningly blue it's unbelievable!
The boat trip is taking us around the side of the island (I think the north side because I think we passed Kefalonia on our right...) I can't get great photos because of where the sun is, but the geology js just incredible. It looks as if the Greek Gods have taken bites out of the island, great chunks of the rock face have just disappeared.
It's surprising just how much of this part of the island is uninhabited, uninterrupted native vegetation! For such a small Island it surprises me that there's any uninhabited areas!
Trying not to get motion sick now we've hit the actual Ionian Sea
Just passed the Blue Caves on the way out, apparently we stop for photos on the way back!
Having a great time on a very fast boat in the sun!
Brief stop at Alikanas (the other side of the bay) to pick up more passengers, but we managed to hold on to our excellent seats and our space! Yay!
Alykes is a very pretty bay, lots of beach for tourists, boats for hire and apparently a popular place for boat tours of the island to depart from!
Taking a glass bottomed boat out! Wowee!
On the bus and ready to go on the Blue Caves & Shipwreck boat trip!
Breakfast fruit! Then waffles, Greek yoghurt, honey and candied peel again for me! Matt will probably just continue eating his weight in cherries.

10 June 2015

We were given some fruit by one of the local shopkeepers! What a lovely surprise!
Eating at the Ammoudi Taverna again tonight, I'm having a Margarita pizza and Matt is having Stuffed peppers and tomatoes again, Danny had a Swordfish that I tried - was very yummy and reminded me of tuna steak. We also shared a Greek salad and some chips. The Father of the waiter that we see every night (who owns the Taverna) gave us a round of drinks on the house!
Yeah, not a bad view for a reading nook. Jacky the dog came back to flick sandy water all over me and tried to eat Twigs
Beautiful ocean vista. We didn't manage to find any sea turtles, it turns out that by day the protected beaches are just tourist beaches. I'm slightly disappointed, but what can you do - gives us something to aim for next time!
Pretty bridge on the way to the Turtle beach
Stopping for a light lunch before we venture off to find Loggerhead Sea Turtles. Matt is having a Greek salad and I am having 'Spinach Pies' Danny is having some sort of scarily large Prawn salad
Tried to get to Sekania beach, which is where the greatest density of Loggerhead Turtle nests are - but it turns out, the beach is so highly protected that you can't get down! So we found the Exhibition Centre for Sea Turtles and now we know where to go next!
"Jacky" the dog popped over to see us again.
The most delicious breakfast I have ever had. Waffles, thick Greek yoghurt, honey and candied orange peel type stuff.
The sea from slightly higher up again!
The sea!
Casual morning stroll up what feels like Mt. Olympus! Wonder if Zeus will be there to greet us at the top, or whether this spectacular view will have to do!
Morning walk

9 June 2015

Playing "The Ouzo" game - you do a shot of Ouzo and Matt takes a picture of your Ouzo-Face! 38% of pure alcoholic evil! I'm not playing because of my problem with Aniseed 😁
Drinks back home at our lovely corner table, with the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. Also, see Twigs with Uncle Dan and Lizzie
dinner at the Ammoudi Taverna again - Matt had a lasagna and I had a Lamb Kleftiko. We all shared another Greek salad and some chips.
Back at the Villa, having a little Sangria and eating Cherries. It turns out Matt and Dan are fairly proficient in-the-mouth-stem-knot-tiers, me and Lizzie can't do it for shit 😂 Yummy late lunch/tea of Salad, sun dried tomatoes, Emmental cheese, salami and bread and cheese. More cherries for afters
Found a Lidl! Twigs managed to find some cheddar cheese too!
Morning walk with Twigs, found the slightly bigger supermarket of the village and grabbed a few things
All washed and ready for bed on the first night in Greece 😴 What a lush day - the weather has been beautiful, not too hot not too cloudy as the weather forecast had hinted. Lovely chilled day, perfect after not a lot of sleep and quite a busy weekend!

8 June 2015

Off out for dinner at a seaside restaurant a stones throw from our villa. We had starters of a Greek salad and tomatoes, feta and garlic on toasted bread with olive oil. For mains, I had a classic Greek meatballs with rice and Matt had stuffed tomatoes and peppers. Matt is trying a Greek beer: Mythos, I'm sticking to a Fanta lemon. Tried a small chunk of Baklava and a few bits of Wayermelon
After deciding I wasn't going to swim, Matt eventually persuaded me into the water, of what is basically a private beach just on our back doorstep. It was lovely and warm with plenty of fish to look at through the snorkel.
Casual goat.
Beautiful view from the bottom of the garden ❤️
I've already made friends with a random dog. He just followed Dan into the house, all dripping and covered in sand.
We have arrived at Villa Alkyone. Beautiful sea views!
Arrived safely!
On the descent! I've now changed my phone to local time in Athens, Greece - or forward 2 hours.
On the plane, about an hour or so into the 3h10min flight - apparently just above Stuttgart in Germany (obviously no GPS tag because we are on a plane)
On the plane at Gatwick and ready to go!!
Arrived at the park and ride for Gatwick Airport. Bloody freezing and our confused body clocks are trying to suggest breakfast would be a good idea!

7 June 2015

Having a rest at Matt's Aunty Emma's cottage before we leave at some ungodly hour to get to Gatwick.
Arrived at Guildford
We did not enjoy Reading. Off to Guildford next.
Forced stop in reading! Had a quick drink in a local Wetherspoons.
Twigs is on her way!