We set off to start our holiday to Zakynthos at 10 AM on a Friday morning. While we were driving to Bristol airport we chatted about how nice it was to be driving there during daylight. We normally have flights between 6 – 7 AM so we are leaving home at 2:30 AM. All went well at checkin, we had lunch and did some shopping at the dutyfree shop.
We boarded our plane at 13:45 and took off on time at 14:25. We soon climbed above the light cloud and I could see the sun streaming in on the other side of the aircraft (I was in seat 7A). About 50 minutes into the flight I noticed that the sun was now shinning in through my window and as I mentioned this to my wife the pilot came on the PA. He said that since leaving Bristol they had developed a speed indicator problem. He also said that he could safely continue to Zakynthos using the backup system but the company had told him to return to Bristol for repairs. We landed back at Bristol at 16:05. The pilot came into the cabin and again addressed us over the PA. He said that he had 4 or 5 backup systems that would have allowed him to safely fly onto Zakynthos but for operational reasons he was told to return to Bristol. He went on to say that Zakynthos airport was due to close about 2 hour after our scheduled arrival time (19:55) and the company did not want the aircraft stuck in Zakynthos overnight. We were taken to the Mercure hotel in Bristol where we had a nice buffet dinner and then we walked down to the quay side and sat drinking a bottle of wine on a lovely summers evening.
The next morning we had an alarm call at 03:15, were collected at 4 AM and we were back at the airport by 04:30. We checked in and had free breakfast. It was just like my previous trips to Bristol airport. This time my cases were almost 2Kg heavier as we had to put the duty free champagne that we had bought in our cases.
We arrived at Zakynthos some 17 hours and 17 minutes late (according to the note Thomson gave us), picked up our hire car and drove to Vassilikos doing a quick shop at the supermarket in Argassi. Very little has changed except there is a new bakery shop just across the road from Joanna’s minimarket.
This was our 6th visit to the Lemon Garden and we had a 1st floor apartment which we had not been in before. It was perfect. The pool was most refreshing and the garden was full of lemon trees with ripe fruit, cucumber plants and tomatoes plants. That night we ate at Galini, great food and I managed to get a few photos of the full moon rising over the sea. The rest of the week we spent going to Dafni, Plaka and Gerakas beaches except for a day when we went up to Anafonitra to visit some friends who own a craft place. We are always greeted with “welcome home”. Damitri said that things were better this year, up about 20% up but fewer Russians and British. Most nights we ate in Galini or Babis but on the Thursday night, as it was our wedding anniversary I had asked our friends who have a taverna at Dafni beach if we could eat there. We were setting off at about 19:30 and I said I haven’t got my camera. My wife said you would need that tonight. We arrived at 19:45 and just as we were finishing our meal, just after 21:00 I noticed something coming out of the sea. It was a turtle coming ashore. We called Antonis (who owns the place with his family) and he asked the turtle conservation people if we could go onto the beach. With their guidance we kept out of the turtle view and came up behind it. We stood no more than 6 feet away as it dug a nest and layed it’s eggs. About 10 minutes later it finished and scooted off back to the sea. Definitely the highlight of the holiday even if I didn’t have my camera.
We spent our last day on Gerakas beach and as I was putting our cases in the car at 18:00 I noticed that our rear back light was broken. On arrival at the airport I told the Hertz agent who, after examining it said “you will have to pay”. I made out a damage form and was told to ring them the next day. It cost 94.40 Euro! Luckily I have my own top up insurance, so most of this week has been spent sending them paper work and preparing a claim against Thomson. Who know, if they pay out I can have another relaxing holiday in Zakynthos.