Week 184: Salcombe then Athens

A side strip to Salcombe and a few delays on the way home mean more time in Athens.

Week 184: Salcombe then Athens
Karina, Claire, Ollie and Tim at Salcombe

Opportunity is the theme of the week.

Our friends Claire and Ollie are currently on a working holiday near Salcombe in Devon and with a day to spare at the end of our last housesit, we decided to visit them.

We debated it a little, not because we didn't want to see them, but because it was 3 hours away from the airport, only to stay overnight, then turn around and drive four hours back to Heathrow the next day. It's not impossible, but not nothing either.

But we have plenty of time. We really wanted to see them, and one thing we've realised over the last few years is that the adventures you don't take are the ones you regret.

For a very modern country with excellent motorways, England is particularly stubborn regarding small roads in the countryside. The last hour and a bit of our journey was travelling down small single-lane roads between tall hedgerows where the decision to pass is always a coin flip. Do I accelerate towards the oncoming car to make the gap, or stop and reverse several hundred meters to the gap behind me? There's no good answer most times.

They ARE beautiful, and I'm not advocating they destroy the landscape... but maybe, just a little bit to widen a few roads, please 😄 Salcombe is a popular local tourist destination and a gorgeous fishing village and harbour. It is very beautiful and well worth the visit. I hate to think what the roads here in summer would be like! Endless traffic jams, I suspect.

It was great to see Claire and Ollie, and we had a lovely time catching up. We enjoyed cocktails at the local hotel and a fantastic lasagne dinner that Ollie cooked. It's a pleasure having friends to visit wherever we go. The place they rented is an old mansion (going cheap because of winter rates) and had spectacular views over the water, which made it a lot of fun, too.

Cocktails overlooking the sea

Salcombe is a pretty little town, and Karina and I enjoyed exploring that on Tuesday morning, then by midday, it was time to bundle ourselves back into the car and head for Heathrow.

We booked a night at the Holiday Inn next to Terminal 5 because we had a very early morning flight (7.30 AM the following day back to Athens). Of course nothing but hotels around there, so it was very much a stay on site type place. At dinner in the pizza restaurant (surprisingly good), we got a text from the airline that our flight had been changed.

There were transport strikes planned in Athens the next day, which meant our flight was moved to the Thursday now, instead of on the Wednesday morning. We shrugged it off, we're not in a hurry and the hotel was comfortable enough. It was wet and rainy outside, too, so a day hanging out and watching movies with no driving and no dogs to care for felt like a good idea.

Airports everywhere look the same. However, Fortnum & Mason is quite fancy with lobster and oysters on the menu.

The new flight was going to be Thursday afternoon, which we considered a small win. It is much nicer to sleep in and take a leisurely trip to the airport instead of rushing out at 5 AM. But the challenge was that we would now miss our Mytilini flight in the evening. Woe is us, what to do!

So we checked 'The Nest' in Athens; there's no one here until Tuesday anyway, so we decided to stay in Athens for a few days and move the Mytilini flight to Monday lunchtime (again with the theory that a relaxed afternoon flight is preferable).

We are fortunate that we didn't have any specific plans, which makes this sort of thing much easier. However, we have also learnt a lesson or two over the last few years. We purchase flexible tickets now where possible, so moving the Mytiline flights was simple. I think out of the previous four or five trips we've planned, one leg or another has ended up being moved for various reasons.

There was no agenda in Athens except enjoying the delightful weather (except Friday which bucketed with rain). It's been 18C and sunny otherwise. We reached out to a couple of people and had a fantastic dinner with Sotiris and Laura at a fish restaurant called Sea Wolf over in Koukaki.

So this week it's back to Mytiline, catch up with the gang there and find out how Matilda has fared over the last month. Back to boat jobs, I suspect! With the weather improving, there's a bit of painting and varnishing, boat cleaning and getting ready for the season now.

Until next time,

Tim & Karina