Monday, 22 June 2009

A Day in Zakinthos

6 May 2009. Our last day cruising on the Ocean Village II brings us to Zakinthos in Greece.

We got off the ship to a display of Greek dancing on the quayside.

The girl in the middle had a face like thunder for some reason - probably not helped by the two morons watching who were saying loudly "Oh, she's not a happy bunny in the middle!", totally ignoring the fact that just because they didn't speak Greek it was quite possible she could understand what they were saying...

Today we weren't going to do a trip. After all the excitement of Corfu I might never do one again... Anyway, we just got off the ship and wandered off on our own to see what delights Zakinthos could offer us.

It was a bit early in the season perhaps - or all the Brits that haunt the bars and fling their clothes off for the late night Sky One shows were still sleeping it off and hadn't yet woken up to think "My God - who's he/she/them?"!

A walk around the back streets and shopping streets gave us a mixed sense of Zakinthos. The shopping streets had some large shop windows and marble pavements with cool arcades to shelter shoppers from the sun whilst elsewhere, even on the same street were older, smaller shops with broken pavements and many with fish displayed outside, strong smelling and not particularly appealing except to cats and, I suppose, the locals. Though I have to point out that when it comes to fish, we don't particularly eat a lot of it anyway and of what we do probably more than half comes wrapped in batter from the local chippy!

There was a large amount of building work in evidence - I said that deliberately rather than "going on"... This probably added to making the atmosphere a bit dusty. It wasn't dusty enough to be unpleasant or to even be aware of it, but most surfaces and cars were caked in dust. Perhaps they just conserve their water, I don't know. Car parking seemed to be a challenge to many drivers. One chap found the space between two cars less than he needed, so he just left his car in the middle of road, next to them and wandered off down the street to do his shopping.

Someone else had parked nose to the kerb in order to use a small space. There were loads of cars double parked, sometimes whole rows of them, making it impossible for anyone parked next to the kerb to drive away. Your average British traffic warden would have loved it - I'll bet they all go there for their holidays, just to dream. Probably leave notes on the windscreen saying "if only this were on my patch..."

We made our way down to the seafront and walked along the Promenade for a while.

We kept meeting couples from the ship who all asked the same thing - "Is this it?". We told them about the shopping street we had found and they tried to look excited, but yes, as nice as the seafront was - that seemed to be it.

We walked for another quarter hour and then turned and walked back all along the front, buying a drink from a stall. The dancers had packed up and gone, perhaps leading away an inconsolable young woman from the middle with the words "I know I shouldn't have stepped on your foot, but if you could just look like you are enjoying it...?"

We went back to the ship and found a quiet spot to read for the afternoon. Then we had a last meal in the La Luna restaurant, served with steak by Epris and able to relax and watch the sea glide past through the window.

We ordered this gigantic banana split - 4 bananas, 6 scoops of Walls Carte D'Or vanilla ice cream, 4 chocolate twirly sticks, chocolate sauce, strawberries and cream. By heck!!! The average cruiser puts on a stone in a week. We were careful all week and put it on all in that one dessert!

Tomorrow we fly back to England. And that sorry tale I have already told...

Large versions of the photos: dancers, arcade, seafront, banana boat

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