After four consecutive years island hopping in the Cyclades this year it was time for a change. Not because we are tired of this picturesque ring of islands and not because we were robbed in Athens last year on the way home but mainly because the flight schedules had changed and there was no Luton to Athens option this year. Instead we found cheap flights from Liverpool to Rhodes for just £82 each return which were too good to miss so we agreed that this year we would visit the Dodecanese islands instead.
The drive to Liverpool was a long one and as it was bank holiday weekend and not having made this journey before we gave ourselves plenty of time to get there for the early afternoon flight. As it turned out the journey was especially straight-forward and we arrived in Liverpool with more spare time than we really needed.
The only minor hitch was with the car parking because although I had booked a space in advance the car park was full so the attendant had to make alternative arrangements which luckily for us included an upgrade to a short stay car park right outside departures. The car park charge for fourteen nights was a very reasonable £48 but a friend of mine, from Liverpool himself, said that he thought this was because although I had booked fourteen nights I was only being charged for two because after that the car would most likely be stolen!
We now had three hours to wait for the flight and I felt as though I was in a different country already. We usually fly from Stansted so are used to the familiar voices of Essex whine or the home counties la-di-da but here we were surrounded by Manchester voices as brittle as a frozen dime bar and adenoidal accents that made nails on a blackboard sound like a nightingale’s song.
The flight was almost on time, which is unusual for Easyjet but as soon as we were all on board the cabin crew announced the inevitable thirty minute delay. There were some moans and groans around the cabin but then something unusual happened. I know Liverpool is the home of comedy but I didn’t expect the captain of the plane to come out of the cockpit and do a fifteen minute stand up routine! At first most people were a bit unsure just what was going on but after a while everyone relaxed and he had everyone chuckling and giggling with a sequence of well rehearsed gags about delays and routings which settled everyone down. Eventually we were off and thanks to a strong tail wind we still arrived on the island of Rhodes well ahead of schedule.
Although it was nine o’clock when we arrived it was still hot so we were anxious to get to our hotel and change. Because we had wanted to avoid the hold luggage charges this year we were attempting a two week holiday with hand luggage only so we were quickly through passport control which was just as slack as I remembered it from previous visits to Greece and into a taxi for the short drive to Ixia just a few kilometres away. Generally speaking I don’t like using cabs because most taxi drivers in Greece are highway robbers but at least on Rhodes the prices are fixed by the city council so at €17 for the short journey at least we knew we were being officially ripped off.
The Caravel Hotel apartments were along a side street off the busy main strip of Ixia and didn’t look too promising at first and I began to fear the worst when we were allocated the Orwellian sounding room 101 and I wondered what terrors might be behind the door. Actually although it overlooked a car park and was within close ear shot of a karaoke bar it was a very nice room indeed, spotlessly clean, generously spacious and with refreshing white linen on the beds.
And things got even better when we were invited to eat in the dining room and take advantage of a hotel guest’s 15% discount and already I was beginning to like this place more and more. The food turned out to be excellent and we had a window seat in the dining room and ate Greek specialities and drank house wine and Mythos and both agreed that actually we had made a very good choice indeed.
We watched the holiday makers promenading back and forth and we began to realise that this year was most likely going to be different in another sense because Rhodes is just the sort of airport island that we have recently being trying to avoid and there were a lot of people in lycra and football shirts wandering from one big screen sky sports bar to the next looking for English beer and food served with tomato ketchup! We were only here for two nights so this didn’t really matter a great deal so after our meal we went back to our room and sat out on the balcony until quite late playing cards, chatting and listening to musical crimes being committed as one by one classic songs were being murdered in the karaoke bar.