What’s is really like getting to Paxos? Well last time we went to Paxos I wrote a daily diary.
Paxos Holidays – Part 1 Day 1 – Getting To Corfu From The UK. This is the beginning of journey. In this post I will tell you all about getting to Corfu from the UK, which is the first leg of the journey. In the next post I take you from Corfu to Paxos.
How we are getting to Paxos?
We were flying from Bournemouth Airport to Corfu, and then had to get across to the port to catch the ferry from Corfu to Paxos. You can read all about how to get to Paxos in a separate post.
Getting up in the morning – early in the morning that is
The alarm was set for 3.30am. That was a bit of a shock. It’s funny how things work out. A relaxing two weeks in the sunshine on the wonderful Greek Island of Paxos starts with getting up at 3.30am on a Friday morning!
Yes it’s a Friday morning! But whilst it might be an early start it is for the best of reasons!
All we had time for was to grunt good morning to each other, drink a cup of tea (how very English I know), get up, finish packing and make coffees for the drive to the airport. Oh yes and get dressed.
Always a tricky one that – what to wear flying from the UK to a much warmer place? I went for shorts and t-shirt – dress how I intend to arrive. Flip flops are a bit too much for me though, especially sat in the back of a taxi at 4.30am.
Side point here (there will be lots of these) – the travel cups will turn out to be a genius addition to our packing.
Getting to the Bournemouth Airport
Our taxi was booked for 4.30am. At that time of day it is a 20-minute drive from home to the airport, which is to be perfectly honest luxury!
The driver was wide awake happy and chatty but realised quite quickly into our journey that we were not in chatting mood so left us to it which was nice of him. We use Airport Cars who are very good.
It was the first time I had gone from home in Poole to Bournemouth Airport via Wimborne, but we still got there in less than 20 minutes which is great. And a shortcut for me to remember the next time I have the misfortune to be queueing on the A31!
Bournemouth Airport is tiny, which is great. I love how they call it Bournemouth International Airport, as though we would not get the International bit, it being an airport and all that! They may have dropped the international bit from the name thinking about it.
Checking in at Bournemouth Airport
We did not have seats booked this time but managed to get two seats together at what appeared to be the back of the plane. This could be a good or a bad thing. And there is the unknown in all of this – what will the people around us be like??
I put the bags on the scales, and not an eye was raised when both our bags weighed 23.1kgs which was good. Very good. At other airports this has been a problem causing the usual farce of re-packing heavy stuff from the main hold luggage into the hand luggage.
I have never understood the point of this – this stuff is all going on the same plane after all! In the past I have even resorted to putting a lens in my coat pocket, and of also hanging my camera around my neck to “reduce the weight”!
The joys of Airport security
Check in queues are much less than at Gatwick, and once checked in the walk to security is, basically, a walk to the other side to the other side of the room! Next is the hand luggage through the X-Ray machine, which for the first time in a long time I was not stopped at.
I normally get stopped at security. It might be my face.
Or the fact that I have a Canon 6D with lenses and batteries, possibly a dive computer and also my iPad and iPhone. I think that this heady combination of electrical stuff sends the scanning machine into overdrive!
We were stood waiting for our plastic trays with our stuff in – there was no sign of them which is always a slight concern!. We saw them on the opposite side of where we were stood and thought that they had been selected for invasive investigation – turns out there are two X-ray machines and out stuff went through the other one for some reason.
Panic over, and no need to empty and repack my hand luggage, which by the way is my Peak Design Everyday Backpack. You will come across this again in future posts.
And so, the holiday begins!
Some say that their holiday begins when they put the luggage on the conveyor belt and watch it magically disappear to be miraculously reunited with you in another country.
For me personally the holiday begins once I have got through security.
Duty Free at Bournemouth Airport
I find myself virtually getting dressed again as we walk through the duty-free shop, with my phone, wallet, watch and small change shoved in an alien pocket for the X-Ray machine whilst I struggle to get my belt on.
Ok once my belt is on now I can begin my holiday.
And then we are in Duty Free. Well sort of Duty Free. It has never been the same since we joined the EU – Brexit should fix this. There I have found the one positive in Brexit – we will be able to buy duty free cigarettes for our break in the sunshine. Not that any of us smoke any more that is…
Does anyone remember smoking seats on planes? Seems absolutely ridiculous that not that long ago you could smoke on a flight.
Another recent change at airports is the duty-free shop. Have you noticed how at airports these days once you get through security you are straight into the longest meandering shops on the planet which you have to walk through to get to the bar for that traditionally inappropriate early morning pint.
And on to the restaurant
Having made it through the extended hike that is the shop we went to the restaurant – yes there is only one – and found a seat in a quiet corner – perfect. That is the quiet corner where the family with loud kids appear and sit either side of us.
Not that I have anything else against families and small children – I was small once and also a child. It is just that they are rather loud at that time in the morning. Perhaps there should be a child free area, or even an over 50s area, or even better an area where passengers are invited to be quiet.
In the lounge we go to at Gatwick there is a room called the Library – and guess what? I had to ask to American gentlemen to be quiet as they were talking at full volume in there.
For you youngsters reading this take note – this is what you have to look forward to!
And now it is time to eat
It is 5.15 am – time for a drink and breakfast.
Filter coffee x 2 and one full English breakfast – £14. Not too bad to be fair. And no, I did not have a pint – I am getting a bit old for that!
On to the food. The first offering consisted of one overdone egg, one underdone egg and bacon that looked like it had been poached.
So that unfortunately went back, and the second attempt arrived some time later which was ok. And then we tried scrambled eggs on toast, which was not great.
The important stuff – drinks!
The next job is buying drinks for arrival – wine and a bottle of champagne for our wedding anniversary which we celebrated on holiday.
And then the inevitable final mandatory call in the airport shopping experience – WH Smith. Such a great shop, and the only time I ever buy a newspaper, which I inevitably don’t get around to reading, along with the free bottle of water and the last-minute panic buys. You know the stuff you can’t get at your destination like mints and crisps. And of course, the contingency sandwich.
And at this point all that careful planning of the contents of the carry-on luggage are compromised by a plastic bag from WH Smith.
Finally, it is time to get on the plane
After all that it is time to check in – this is one of those funny things about Bournemouth airport – the same lady who checked us and our luggage in and issued our boarding cards has now been redeployed to gate check-in duties. After that no doubt she will refuel the building, fix the roof and check the ticket machines in the car parks before nipping off to Asda to get more supplies in for breakfast.
Which reminds me of something that has bothered me for some time – why Bournemouth Airport do you charge £2.50 just for people to enter the car park?
Sorry back to check-in
The lady who checked us in was miserable and grumpy, but very efficient with no irreverent back chat – enjoy your holiday etc – I like that.
I wish more service staff were honestly as grumpy as they felt, which is much better than showing false interest in where you are going etc.
The lady who checked us in did not wish us a wonderful flight – I have no doubt she did not give a stuff if we had a nice time or not, so no pretence from her – just efficient misery. And good on her.
Maybe this is because I am a grumpy git, or just that I hate fake niceness.
And finally, it is time to get on the plane.
I love this bit. Yes, I have done this many, many times but I still love getting on a plane.
And the plane is a lovely shiny new Boeing 737-800. And yes, we are sat right at the back of the place. The chap sat next to us doesn’t look like he has any intention of communicating with us in any way at all – not even a grunt of acknowledgement.
But this of course is fine!
Why are the overhead lockers packed with flight stuff? Surely the overhead lockers are for us, not for stuff for the plane?
Not for the first time all the overhead lockers were full, so I had to give my bag of drinks to the cabin crew who put is somewhere to give me a challenge on arrival to find.
Sitting at the back of the plane is very noisy as it turns out. You feel everything.
Not the best place to sit, but we took off and enjoyed the views of Poole Harbour, Brownsea Island and Sandbanks. And then we were in cloud.
We took off at 7am, which if I switched my watch to Greek time made it 9am – is this too early for a beer?
Why do we think it is acceptable to have a beer at 7/ 9am when we are going on our holidays? It is a strange phenomenon. If I had a day off and started cruising for Heineken at 9am I would be most concerned.
But stick us in an airport and the rules change.
For the record I managed to hold on till 9am UK time, which is 11m Greek time which is just fine!
Shopping on the plane
On the flight we bought some inevitable product, and I treated myself to a new watch. It is a Citizen watch which is pretty cool and there was 20% off the already discounted in flight price. So they say.
Last year I bought a pair of Superdry sunglasses, probably just because they were on offer. They were hideous to be honest, and the day they snapped in half across the nose-bridge was a good day!
I spent the entire flight with my Peak Design Everyday Backpack between my knees and the lady sat in front of me decided to recline her seat leaving us virtually no room. But thankfully it is a short flight.
We don’t eat on the plane, as we know that we have a wait at the port for our ferry so our next meal will be probably be chicken gyros on Corfu!
The rest of the flight passes peacefully, and then we land. It is only a three-hour flight from Bournemouth to Corfu. Landing is a bit bumpy at the back of the plane, but we are down safely.
And now I have to find my hand luggage. The bag with the drinks in, not my camera bag. My camera stays with me at all times.
Arriving at Corfu Airport
We get off the plane and get hit by that wonderful heat. And the smell of the air in a foreign country. There is no feeling like this, and such a wonderful thing to experience.
And that bright Greek sunshine of course!
We have arrived at our first destination, Corfu. And it is so good to be back.
Corfu International Airport
Some airports can be a nightmare. Corfu thankfully is not one of them. Certainly not arrivals which is very slick and hassle free.
We glide through passport control nice and quick and then wait for our luggage. The bags are out pretty much straight away. I have to be honest here though – I was stood at the wrong carousel to start with but don’t tell anyone. I think my wife might be aware of this though…..
The trouble with being English
I did a very English thing and followed other people from our flight to the wrong carousel. Strangely a member of airport staff came and told me that I was at the wrong carousel -– how did she know that?
And we are away.
Getting to the New Port from Corfu Airport
Out of departures and straight across from the exit to the left is the taxi rank. We got a taxi straight away to the New Port, which costs us €15. We made the mistake of not asking how much beforehand which was disappointingly naïve.
But it turns out it is a fixed fare anyway so not a problem this time. 20 minutes later and we are the New Port.
We picked up the tickets from the agent across the road from the port, and at 1pm local time sat down at the bar with a nice two hour wait for our ferry at 3pm.
This is why we did not eat on the plane!
TIme to eat and drink at Corfu New Port
It does seem bizarre after all that activity suddenly stopping, having time to sit down and relax in the Greek sunshine. Not that long ago we were in Bournemouth, and not that much longer ago we were at home.
A few beers and an excellent chicken gyros gave us sustenance before we got on the boat for Paxos called the Iliad 2. I went to check if our boat was in, reported back to Nickie that it wasn’t. And then she went and had a look and the boat that I had said wasn’t ours actually was.
I would have noticed at some point…
And with that I will sign off for now – in the next post I will describe the second part of the journey, from Corfu to Paxos.
Check out the video that accompanies this post
I have recorded a video titled “Paxos Holidays – Part 1 Day 1 – Getting To Paxos From The UK” which you can find on my Paxos Travel Guide You Tube channel which accompanies this post.
Want to know more about Paxos?
I hope that you have found this post helpful, informative and even a little bit entertaining! To find out more about my favourite, wonderful Greek island all you need to do is click here and I will take you straight back to the start of my Paxos blog. Nice and easy!
Oh yes, I hope that you enjoy the next post.