This entry is been written during the great Covid-19 lockdown of March and April 2020; that odd time of a pandemic with people told not to leave home. A time when borders are closed, and airlines no longer fly all around Europe and the rest of the world. A time to look back on the period before the virus when short haul flights to Greece from the UK were quite normal. A time when it was normal to line up in a confinced space, surrounded by strangers. A time to spend a week at a luxury resort, with only concerns been what time to have a meal, and where to have it; what time to go for a swim; and which seat would I get on the flight. Nostalgia is a wondrous thing.
In May 2018, it was back to Corfu for another week’s holiday at one of those resorts where you had access to three meals a day and a several bars. Where there was a large beach looking towards the Greek and Albanian mainland, and day loungers carrying the weight of fellow guests scattered around one of the two swimming pools.
My daily routine was well established. I would get up just before dawn, and walk down to the beach in my shorts and t shirt (a novelty for a resident of Scotland). I would then go for a leisurely swim as the sun was rising, watching the staff on the early shift starting their day. To be in the relatively warm sea at that time of day was the best way to start the day. I would often go a few kms down the coast and back again, and watch the light changing intensity as it hit the hills and lit up the water.
I would then go back to the room, and have a shower and get ready for a nice breakfast overlooking the sea. Ah that coffee was good, and the fresh fruit with eggs and bread. Then back to the room for a nap, and then another swim before lunch. I always swam in the sea, letting the lifeguard know that I intended to swim around the perimeter, so that he would not worry. By this time, he knew me well, as I was one of the very few guests going for long swims in the sea. We would chat if he was not busy about swimming, living in Corfu, and the state of the Greek economy
I would sometimes go to the local taverna for lunch, a nice little place sitting right over the water, with wonderful fresh food and a few pints of the local ice cold beer. Or a bus trip into Corfu Town to wander around the old town and soak up the atmosphere of the city, with its Venetian, British and Greek influences.
In the late afternoon, I would then go for yet another swim. At this time of day it was not unusual for the wind to have picked up somewhat, creating some chop to make my swims more fun. At this time of year the days were still very sunny and warm, and it was such a wondrous thing to feel the sun on my back, after a long Scottish winter.
Another shower to rinse off the salt, and then off to dinner and then the bar for a few drinks. Repeat each day for a week. For those interested in my stats, I only swam 24 km that week.
Ah, from where I sit now writing this, it all seems so exotic. Those days of freedoms that we only dream of at this time. Those times of just jumping on a plane and flying to Greece for a holiday with a choice of flights. Let us hope those times come again very soon.