…. what a blue sky looked like! Instead of going straight back to the hotel at the end of my night shift – I’d only be awake again in a couple of hours or so – I took time to explore the area around Loutraki.
Going up into the hills behind the town one morning I was able to see across the Gulf of Corinth looking South towards Tripoli. (I had to do a double-take when I saw a sign to Tripoli the day I got lost in the hills. Tripoli? Surely I wasn’t that lost? No, it wasn’t the one I was thinking of).
I found a railway to photograph – an old line which had fallen into disuse. I didn’t look too closely but I think there were people living in the old station buildings.
Almost everywhere I went, there were half-finished buildings. Although Loutraki was billed as a holiday resort, the hotel where we were staying had clearly seen better days. I fell into conversation with the owner of a café that I visited a few times and he was fond of reminiscing. 30 years ago, the town was thriving – the hotels were full, the bars, restaurants and cafés were doing a roaring trade (though he had his reservations about the behaviour of the British) and all was well. Now, because of the economic problems, the picture was entirely different and it showed in the infrastructure which was sad and neglected. People were hanging on by the skin of their teeth and, according to the café owner, it seemed there was no way out of the hole that Greece had found itself in. Nevertheless, everyone I met was cheery, helpful and generous. It would be interesting to see how the Greek Islands have weathered the storm.
We left Athens as the sun rose – we had to get up at 04:00 to catch the flight – and, three hours later, as we descended over East Anglia, inbound to Stansted, I noticed something I’d never seen before.
When I got home I realised that I’d left my Surface tablet on the plane. The lost property service that Ryanair use has a simple on-line form to fill in; no number to call, no office at the airport that you can contact, nothing to reassure you that your loss is of any interest to them at all. All you can do is sit and wait for an email to say that your property’s been handed in – or no communication at all. I went onto Flight Radar and found out the registration of the aircraft and where it went to next – Karlsruhe. I rang the lost property office there – nothing had been handed in. The aircraft subsequently returned to Stansted so, fingers crossed, but I don’t hold out much hope.
On a brighter note, Learned Counsel has been going full steam ahead on the Jingle Bell hood.
The frame, although in need of a bit of tidying up, was perfectly serviceable. Now all we need is a bit of sunshine.