We were literally flying from one paradise to another: from the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia to the Greek Islands. However, travelling is not always as fun, easy or as perfect as it sounds. And today was one of those days. On paper it was clear that it wasn’t going to be a great day: we had an early morning flight out of Split, Croatia with an eight hour layover in Rome, arriving well after dark in Mykonos, Greece; but we were hoping for the best.
After rolling out of bed just past 6:00 AM (way before our usual wake up time) we drove our rental car back to the airport. The car company (UniRent) whose website said they opened at 7:00 AM, was still closed at 7:30 AM. At 8:01 AM the guy finally showed up. After inspecting our car, he returned to tell us that both the front and rear passenger-side hubcaps were scratched and the damage wasn’t previously noted. At the car, we started to argue about this being previous damage and the argument got more and more heated. To the point that when we were walking away another customer who had over-heard, turned to the representative we were dealing with and told him quite firmly that that was no way to represent his company or country. He in turn told her that we had provoked him as he mumbled more swear words in both English and Croatian.
We coughed up the money – as to not miss our flight – and walked away, still hoping the day would turn out OK. We wonder how often they do this to people. The scratches on the cheap plastic hubcaps were almost microscopic, no one would have them marked as damage on the inspection form. It’s the perfect scenario for them; unnoticeable damage and the time restraints people have at the airports to catch their plane. I guarantee that those tiny scratches are still not noted on the inspection form and the same thing will happen to the next unlucky customer renting that car. To top it off, I was then three Kuna short with our leftover change for the cheapest coffee, not cool.
Arriving at the Rome airport we were extremely glad we didn’t have a tight connection. To get to our next terminal was a mission in itself: a shuttle bus off the plane, a long hallway, a mini-security, a mini passport control office tucked off to the side and easy to miss, another hallway leading from behind the office, a long shuttle bus around the airport and finally we were there. Once we were at our terminal we still didn’t have boarding passes – supposedly we would get one at the gate whenever it was announced.
For lunch we grabbed sandwiches, always plenty of those in Italy, and they weren’t too badly priced given we were in an international airport. Dinner was another story. We found a decent restaurant called “The Burger Factory” and decided to spend a bit extra and have a nice meal for dinner. We were seated in the back and given menus, good start! And then our waiter never came back. There were two other waiters who said they couldn’t take orders and after watching countless people who arrived after us have their orders taken we were about to lose it. In typical Italian fashion, the service was based more on whichever customer was pushiest not whoever came first. We stormed out of there furious and headed to the food court instead.
Finally, we boarded our second plane of the day. We booked our tickets through Iberia but both of our planes were operated by Vueling. Both flights had terrible landings – steep decent and hit the ground hard, especially the second one. We both have flown in hundreds of planes and this one was the roughest landing, it felt like the plane didn’t even level out before touching down, the suspension must have completely bottomed out. After a moment of silence (everyone on board was shocked from the impact) people started clapping and cheering, happy that everything was OK. While off-loading the plane we heard strange sounds in one of the engines as the turbine was winding down; we vowed never to fly them again – the pilots looked very young and based on their flying were equally as inexperienced.
We had finally made it, and it was raining. (Later, the security guard who let us into our room said it only rains five days a year, but who knows if he was telling the truth.)
We caught our first break of the day at the airport when our bags were one of first off the plane meaning we were at the front of the line for the limited taxis on the island. Our second break was when I asked the couple next to us where they were staying, turns out it was the same place and we split the taxi fare. Considering how already incredibly over-budget we were today, we needed that 10 EUR savings.
We had a room booked on Paradise Beach; we found a deal months ago that was 86% off the full price for booking in advance and jumped on it. The nightly cost was still relatively high for our budget but we thought it would be worth it to be right next to the beach and be able to walk to the famous and massive Mykonos beach parties which all occur on Paradise Beach. Then we saw it, the giant sign advertising the closing weekend parties for all the beach clubs last weekend. We knew we were coming a bit late in the season but hadn’t expected the season to be over quite yet.
Upset, but not willing to let our spirits die yet, we went to the local mini market before it closed at 2AM (in high season it’s open 24/7, supposedly 2AM is early to close) to grab some water and maybe a cold beverage. Beer wasn’t cheap – 2 EUR for a large can but when we saw the price of wine, a small smile came back to my face. For a mere 6.50 EUR you could buy a 2L bottle of wine, which I might add came in a glass bottle with a label, sealed and even chilled!
Things were going to be good, the night could be saved: a glass of cold rose and maybe we would watch a show we previously downloaded (while our room came with free WiFi, the shop with the password was closed for the night and not open again until 10AM).
And then I opened my luggage, the icing on the cake. We’ve been pretty lucky so far – mostly because we are extremely careful and good packers but it had been awhile since we flew. A small container of soap which I have literally been carrying for over nine months exploded in one of my toiletry bags. Unfortunately, it was mostly not toiletries in that bag and a bunch of small things needed to get chucked out (that’s on me for mixing items that can’t get wet and liquids) and it leaked through the bag meaning my luggage was now soapy.
Anyways, after way too long scrubbing soap off my items, I settled down with another glass of wine to write this post quickly before watching a show and hoping for a sunny morning – we have an ocean view room and maybe things will turn around!
The morning was beautifully sunny and our view is excellent, as seen in the header photo of this post!