Thursday, 9 December 2010
April Fool, 1st 2nd & 3rd india night turnarounds! Rest of the month the same.
5-4-2010 DXB to Tripoli.
6-4-2010 Back to Dubai.
9th turnaround to Lebanon.
11-05-2010 DXB-Frankfurt-DXB...swapped for a Manchester.
15th & 16th, India turnarounds.
17th DXB-JNB-DXB, swapped for a Rome.
Sunday, 17 October 2010
Ski in the afternoon, then........................................................................................
Saturday, 16 October 2010
03/02/2010 = DO.
04/02/2010 = DO.
05/02/2010 = DO.
06/02/2010 = WAS Dubai to London Heathrow. but swapped for a Dubai -Manchester- Dubai. So left DXB on EK19 at 14.35 arrived into MAN at 19.15, it all ways takes ages to get the bags at Manchester, normally leave the airport at 20.30 to go home. However the purser on this flight said that if you live further than 30 mins from the airport you can not now go home. Good job I live near close to the airport then!
07/02/2010, Left MAN on EK 20 at 21.00, its all ways a good flight with the lovely Manchester passengers in party mood and the bar service is busy. Arrived into DXD at 07.05 the next day, not many passengers get off in Dubai most are going onwards, a lot to Australia so this is the first leg of a long journey for them.
08/02/2010 & 09/02/2010 = DO.
10/02/2010 @ 01.20 EK544 to Madras @ 08.10, then turnround on EK545 @09.40 to arrive back into DXB at 12.30.
11/02/2010 = DO....you need it after a Madras!
12/02/2010 = DXB to Casablanca- (CMN).
13/02/2010 = CMN - DXB.
14/02/2010 -17/02/2010 = DO.
17/02/2010= should have been DXB- Guangzhou (China). But swapped for a Manchester.
19/02/2010 & 20/02/2010 = DO.
21/02/2010 the dreaded SEP day one. and 22/02/2010 day two...it was very hard this year but thankfully it was passed so another years flying permit was issued! That the 2nd year working for EK, 'keep discovering? '.
23/02/2010 EK 961 DXD-Yemen-DXB.
24/02/2010 = DO.
25/02/2010= EK 093 DXB @ 0905 arrive in MXP (Milan) @ 08.45...food, food, food!
26/02/2010= EK 094 MXP @ 14.25 - DXB @ 23.55.
27/02-2010 & 28/02/2010 = DO.
Total Hours = 128.30, paid = 88.45.
Saturday, 25 September 2010
Yesterday we had put on our walking shoes and explored the Classical City of Athens,(once we had mastered crossing the road with its manic traffic). The city is large and sprawling, but the sights are located in a small and easily accessible area.
The Acropolis, was all that is should have been.
The Agors. The Roman Forum with its fascinating Tower of the Winds. The streets of Plaka, where we stopped and had a very overpriced soft drink. The Temple of Olypian Zeus. The new Acropolis Museum.
That was yesterday, today once the worst of the rain subsided, at around 11.00 we set off and walked to the Museum of Cycladic Art. It is not hard to see where modern sculptors like Henry Moore drew their inspiration from. The simple Cycladic figures, crafted in 3200 to 2000 BC are simply fascinating. The museum is a private collection and I am very pleased that the owners of the pieces have chosen to share them with the rest of the world.
The area of the Greek Parliament was surrounded by Police today, I don’t know if this is a regular occurrence or something special was happening today. Thankfully the fully armed Police compete with riot shields did not spoil the enjoyment of the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This happens on the hour, but if you want to see it go about 15 minutes to the hour as it was 13.47 when we watched the performance.
The main shopping area on Stadiou street was like walking down any UK high street or shopping mall, all the same brands. This monotony is broken when you arrive at the Meat, Fish and Veg markets, this is like a different world. The meat traders are chopping meat to order and all shouting at the same time, you can eat in one of the small cafes in the market if you like. There was a fantastic array of olives for sale, or to try prior to your purchase. It was a simple lunch of Kebab today, we called in at a very crowded shop called Thanassis near Hadrians Library. Four lamb sausage shaped Kebabs, more like a Kofta to look at, were served on a pitta bread with grilled tomatoes and flat leaf parsley. Thankfully the waiter let us split on serving between two, otherwise it would have been far to much for me.
I needed the sustenance provided by the lunch for the assault up to Lykavitos hill. The climb up to the funicular seemed to take forever, steps getting steeper and steeper. Once finally at the summit, the view over Athens in spectacular. However, I prefer the view of the Acropolis from Filopappou Hill where the view enhances the magnitude of the ancient building. From the top of Lykavitos hill I felt the Acropolis looked quite insignificant, and that would be an optical illusion.
I have not taken any photos of the Athens Green Apartment Number 4, as it is exactly as it shows on their web site. http://www.athensgreen.gr/
I booked this apartment via Trip Advisor, and when we arrived Yanis was waiting for us. We were given a tour of the apartment complex with its beautiful garden / eating area. We were also given a map of Athens and lots of really valuable information about the area.
As I have said, the apartment is exactly as described, it is clean, very stylish and has every thing you need to enjoy your stay in Athens. But the thing I was so pleased with about this apartment was its location. It is absolutely perfect. We could walk to all the attractions, and in the evening all the Bars, Restaurants and Tavernas in the area of Pagrati were all so good, for food and the value, that we did not have to go far.
This was the perfect place to stay for a break in Athens and thanks to Yanis for making our short stay so special.
The next day the pre ordered Taxi was punctual for our lift to Athens Airport, being so early on a Sunday morning the journey was quick and we soon check in for flight A3 602 to London Heathrow on Aegean, due to depart at 08.50.
The economy seats are fine and I would not bother to book business on this airline as all that you get is a window seat and an aisle seat with the middle seat blocked with a tray. Then all to quickly it was back to the madness of London Heathrow Airport and the Great British Motorway system.
So my impressions of the Greek Islands I visited are;
Mykonos, was clean, pristine and with an almost Disney like feel at times, it was the most expensive Island and has the best food.
Naxos, a real working Island, a place where the local population work in other trades, not just tourism. The beaches on Naxos are the best we saw.
Antiparos, this Island was to small and quiet to hold my interest for any length of time. I am glad I only did a Day trip to it.
Paros, has a little of it all , winding streets, fishing harbours, beaches. I would visit Paros again, it was my favorite.
As soon as we were off the ferry we crossed the bridge straight in front of us and this led us into the station. The ticket for the Metro cost 1 Euro, this ticket lasts you 90 minutes. So all that was very straight forward. We got off the Metro at Syntagma, this is directly opposite the Greek Parliament building. I had booked an apartment, but I had not appreciated how good the location of the Apartment was. It is located in the Pagrati part of Athens, this proved to be perfect for all the sights of Athens.
The apartment is called ‘Athens Green Apartments’, they are fully equipped with all the usual amenities, nicely decorated and have AC, WiFi, TV,ect. The location is absolutely perfect for a city stay.
To enjoy the last rays of sun we climbed up Filopappos Hill and got our first view of the Acropolis on one side and the sea on the other. The area of Pagrati is home to some of Athens best restaurants, and not touristic ones. Having had a busy day we just walked up the street to the local Taverna, and the biggest surprise of all was the bill....this the least we have paid for a meal in Greece, it was just 25 Euros, compare that to Mykonos, its incredible how expensive Mykonos is.
We then went up to the Village of Maranthi to the Marble Mining works, really more like a cave. The entrance is a sheer drop down into the earth and you soon need to have a torch to see, and you really should have good walking shoes on your feet. It is very steep and the floor of the cave is slippy, you can go in one entrance and out the other, but it looked a bit dangerous without a guide so I did not brave it. If you want to do the underground walk the book Greek Island Hopping 2010 has a map of the mine and full instructions.
In Antiparos, a very small, quiet Island. It did not take long to see the square shaped Kastro and visit the Great Cave.I am glad I did not stay on Antiparos as there was not that much to do and the beaches seemed to be very poor. We had seen all of the isalnd by midday, so took the 7 minute ferry trip back to Paros.
Naoussa was once a fishing village, since the mid 1980s its tourism industry has developed . Some web sites and guide books are very disparaging of the town calling it a “Tourist Trap’ and stating the town is ruined. I did not think this and found the quay to be very charming with fisherman mending the nets and squid drying in the sun. The Taverners are located around the harbour, and were very busy with a very big wedding and another large family party. The place was packed, it was a real party atmosphere. We ate at Silence of the fish, and the fish were silenced.
Back at the Stoudious Bourgos, we went up onto the roof terrace to watch the sunset and use the computer, it was the only place to get a signal.
Then at 20.00 we made our way back to the Garden at the Venitian House in the Kastro for a Bouzouki concert.The music, especially the Bouzouki was top class, the dancing was good, and the unlimited free wines and spirits of the Island proved to be a fantastic way to end the day. Concerts in the gardens are regular event through the summer and I highly recommend attending one if you can. http://www.naxosfestival.com/naxos-domus-festival
As you enter the port of Naxos you see the Landmark of the Portara of the Temple of Apollo. In Naxos we ran the gauntlet of the people greeting you with placards of the rooms to let, one was quoting 150 Euros for a small room! . We had decided to stay in the Hora (Naxos Town) in the old part of town. We then spent a very hot hour or so dragging bags up and down small streets looking for accommodation. The place really is a maze of streets and it was difficult to find anything due to the lack of good signage. At last we stumbled upon the Stoudious Bourgos, a small double room for 30 Euros. It looks OK but now, having had the door closed for a while, it smells very musty like the basement it is, and there is no kettle and just one chipped mug in the cupboard.....so i will let you know my verdict tomorrow after tonight’s sleep on the rather small double bed. The Studios we are in are next to the walls of the Kastro. This afternoon we visited the Kastro with its Medieval fort entrance and streets, The Venetian House museum cost 12 Euros each to get in and whilst the house its self was interesting, the stuff in it was just a collection of old tat; a lot of which I have seen my Dad throw away over the years! The pillars in the Antico Veneziano Shop were great; they have been taken from an ancient temple years ago. After the Venietian house we did not bother to pay the 4 Euros to get into the Archaelogical Museum, as I read that most of the Cycladic figures are in the British Museum. The temple of Apollo is located on Palatia Islet reached by crossing the causeway. The site is intesting and it is easy to see how impressive the temple was by the size of the remaining door.
To end the day we drove into the centre of this lovely, large island. Admiring the fertile valleys where many crops were being grown, bees being tended to and normal life was going on, as opposed to the frantic touristic activity on Mykonos. It was also good to escape the wind as it was not windy on Naxos today.
We were to visit the sacred Island of Delos. The island of Delos is located at the centre of the circular ring of islands called the Cyclades is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece. It is the island where Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis, The tour boat leaves from the old Mykonos Town harbour every day, except Monday it departs at 09.00/10.00/11.00. We went down to the harbour and I looked at the three tour boats with trepidation, a bit like the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears; there was a big, medium size and very small boat. But you did not have a choice. The return ride cost 12 Euros and we were shown on to the largest craft; The Margarita. The upper deck in the sun was already packed, so I was confined to the lower deck. This had a small area at the back outside and very old fashioned plastic covered seating in side. The crossing took 35 minutes so was not to bad, as we left the boat we were told the return times; 12.00/ 13.30/and 15.00. We could get any of these.
Entry into the site of Delos was 5 Euros. The site was large and far more interesting than i had imagined.
The famous Delos Lions are great, looking like modern art. In the residential area, with it remains of roads, walls and mosaics it is easy to imagine the people of the ancient civilisations living here. Having spent a fascinating few hours we made our way to the ‘Commercial Harbour’. Docked there was ‘Orcra’ our very small return vessel. Well this time I would have to go up top. The top deck was crowded, but once we got underway, and the rough seas started to soak every one, quite a few went below. I was quite bedraggled and very wet when we returned to Mykonos....but I was not Sea sick!
The Town of Mykonos is a maze of whitewashed houses, churches and windmills. It is beautiful and immaculate, once I had changed out of my wet clothing we got lost in the winding alleyways. Debating if this design was to stop pirates or the wind. It would have been effective at both. I did manage to find my way back to Minima Gallery as I wanted the name of the artist of my picture. The gallery was closed, the owner was sat on the step. He told us that a family from Dubai had brought the whole collection on display in the gallery that afternoon, the same had occurred in the gallery across the street. That night at dinner, the pavement next to the tavern was very noisy and diners were disrupted as all the art works started to be moved out of the small town. This caused outrage from our waiter who informed us that no vehicles were allowed to be used in the streets of Mykonos Town at night and he objected to the fact that just because someone was rich, from overpriced oil and petrol, paid for by us consumers of Europe, that they could command the whole town behave in such a way. He said we should all boycott the next raise in the oil price He had a point.