After landing back in Athens, I was adamant I was not going to cover our trip to Australia, mainly because this is a blog about ‘Charlie the Chuckle bus’ so to stray away from that may lead the reader away from the plot, I just couldn’t hep myself…
Always playing catch up, there’s been a bit of a break, It’s been a while. Where was I, ah yes Greece/Athens…the cold, the snow, the rain & the unseasonably awful Greek weather. Back in January we decided, we’d had enough of this & so jumped on a plane to Adelaide, Australia. We parked Charlie up just outside Athens airport (Skypark $98pm, with shuttle), drained the water, ate up the contents of the fridge/freezer, bought an extra suitcase & jetted 10,000 miles across half the planet to sunny old Oz. First, a 5 hour ‘hop’ to Dubai, followed by a 14 hour [turns your arse cheeks to fossil fuel] slog direct to Adelaide, where we met by two of the kindest, most hospitable people we’ve ever meet, my Dad’s Brother John & wife Sheila. We made this trip thirteen years ago too, with our two children both under 10 at the time. Back then, John & Sheila’s offspring were limited to 3 generations, now they’re up to 4! and the family tree looks like it’s being fed ‘miracle grow’. South Australia’s (S.A.) a great place to grow up, a positive attitude to an ‘out-door’ life. Positive people (well mostly), enjoying the most of life and the great weather to it’s max.
But I think the best thing they have is ‘Chippys’. Not the woodworking joiner type, but the deep fried chipped potato variety. I haven’t had a decent bag of chips since leaving the UK and I was so looking forward to a bag or six. The other thing they have, though it takes a little routing out, is micro-breweries and where you find them, you find ‘real ale’. When you do find one, it seems to be a bit on the expensive side, a bit ‘designer-crafty’, more aimed at the ‘Hipsters of OZ’, not for ordinary blokes in the pub after a hard days driving sheep across the dusty plains to the Billa-bong at Alice springs, but the sort of bloke who’s sub-twenty five, doing a 9-5 in a high street designer clothes store. The main thirst-quencher in Oz seems to be a super-cold-freeze-yer-tonsils-on-the-way-down… tasteless fizzy lager. No sign of ‘Fosters’ or ‘Castlmine XXX’ …nope, just ump-teem other brands of ice-cold, fizzy all-this-stuff-tastes-the-same FIZZY POP!! Not for me, you’re welcome to it.
So for thirty days we all had a great time, meeting old rellies & and new ones too, visiting different bits of S.A. A coastline full of rugged rocks, miles of long clean empty beaches, the biggest blue skies…ho and chippy’s everywhere, I wonder if they know how lucky they really are? Once I’d eaten from every chippy in the surrounding area (an uncomplicated palate), piled on at least 4kg as a result, it was time to leave and head back to Athens & Charlie-bus. This is the most amount of time we’ve spent away from him since we three were hitched. The weather back in Athens had slowly been getting better, 15* by day’s not too bad and most of the snow has gone.
We had a little family party thrown in our honour, just to say goodbye. There were tears, it was emotional. What a wonderful time we’d had, what wonderful people. One day we hope to repay the hospitality extended to us, it’s the least we could do.
The ‘Sky-park’ shuttle guy was there to collect us within 10 mins, can’t fault the service, he even sorted us out with some fresh water before we left the car park, which was great, because after 20+ hours on a plane, in order to feel even semi-human again, a hot shower was required.
We spent an hour scooting around looking for a supermarket open, little did we know, the Sunday we had landed back in Greece was the Sunday before the first day of the Easter holidays affectionately known as ‘Kite day’, nowhere will be open before Tuesday, superb, we’ve just got back for a month in Australia and we have no food!! I did manage to find a bakery which still had a loaf of bread & it went well with the can of beans we had in the cupboard. Back to the beach parking we’d stayed, just before our flight out. Affectionally known as ‘One thousand pigeon park’ due to the hoards of coo-ing feathered friends in the car park opposite. It’s a quiet enough spot, until 07:00am when all the pigeons seem to wake simultaneously and join together in a chorus of ‘coo-cooow—-co! Just one of the joys of living in a box with walls less than 2 inches thick.
Glyfada, just outside Athens. Free car park, no services.n37.86670 e23.73760