Wednesday, 20 March 2013


On the first tourist-carrying flight into Hania airport, the city of Hania puts on a complimentary buffet for the travellers, containing a wide range of local specialties. This is Cretan hospitality at its best - the food is simple, but the taste cannot be imitated outside the island. The first flight happened to be yesterday at 1.15pm - a Ryanair flight coming from London.

Ryanair offers cheap flights - but they come at a price. You have to obey the baggage rules - but few Greeks are prepared to believe that they will pay extra for carrying 1 kilo more than they should, or that they will not be allowed to board unless they shed some cabin baggage or they pay a 50 euro surcharge for carrying more than the permissible 10 kg. We saw a few of these episodes on the flight out to London.
Receipts are issued on Ryanair for onboard purchases - it feels almost like a safe Greek business!
Although I don't normally order food on board flights, I couldnt resist the Boxerchips, because I know how good these crisps are. They are a little pricey at 2.50 euro for a small packet - in fact, this was one of the most expensive meals I've ever had: 3 packets of Boxerchips, 2 bottles of water and 1 cappucino cost us 14 pounds and 35 pence! The cappuccino cost 3 euro (you could pay in pounds or euro), but I must say it was one of the worst I have ever tasted. I should have ordered water instead - that cost 3 euro for half a litre. Yes, you read that right - 3 euro! Your tickets are cheap, but you end up paying for the water through the nose. 

Rules are meant to be obeyed, so I checked out the rules about everything to do with my flights so I wasn't caught out anyway. When we arrived in London, we showed our Greek ID cards, and I was told by the Border Control UK about how much better it is to have a passport because it is less likely to be forged, something I find hard to believe. I told the officer that passports cost a lot of money these days, but ID cards don't cost anything, and they are also accepted in the same way as poassports in EU countries. She harped on about how ID cards slow down the process at customs because all details have to be recorded by typing in the details of each ID card holder. I was really annoyed to have her implying that I was being a nuisance; after all I know the rules and I obeyed them, didnt I? So I told her that the law should then be changed to allow only passport holders through the UK border and that would solve the problem. But for now, I will use my ID card to enter the UK because it is cheap, and anyway I don't leave my Mediterranean island home on an overseas trip more often than once a year. 

On hearing that, the lady, up until then unamused, unsmiling and very difficult to humour, like most customs officials, smiled and told me how lucky I was to be living in a beautiful place like Crete. Yes, I told her, I do believe I'm lucky. 

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