By a long distance our trip to Perama in Corfu back in 1988 was the Holiday From Hell. It was just one long string of misery, with fresh horrors popping up every few days. We couldn’t wait to go home and we never even considered returning to Greece to this day.
Trish was pregnant and I was due for a major operation, so ourselves and our friends Cecilia and Kevin decided to head off to sunny Corfu for a relaxing break. As the clock ticked towards our departure date we took little comfort that Greece was at the tail end of a heatwave that had killed hundreds. Surely we wouldn’t be toast too?
We landed in Corfu without a bother and took the shuttle bus to our accommodation. Imagine our annoyance when this young couple from Waterford told us they had bought their holiday that day for a fraction of what we had paid – and they were staying in a hotel! Who needs to know that.
I can’t remember if it was bright or dark when we arrived, but I do recall our shock on seeing our new ‘home’. The apartments were hovels – a tiny bedroom that looked far from enticing, and a bathroom that gave a whole new meaning to the word, so compact that you could have a shower, brush your teeth and go to the toilet without moving an inch.
We wandered over to see Kevin and Cecilia’s place and by comparison we were living in the lap of luxury. And over the next few days Trish and I counted our blessings when they had to fend off some unwelcome visitors – lizards. They were plagued by them for the fortnight while we escaped, although I hardly slept a wink worried that they might come in and gobble me up.
We were less than impressed a day or two later to discover an empty box of rat poison discarded on the grounds of the apartments. We didn’t see any rats, but we met people who said a rat had run across the floor while they were eating in a nearby restaurant. How reassuring.
There was a no topless bathing rule in our establishment, but didn’t apply to the female co-owner, who went one better one day by turning up at our friends’ place to clean up – naked. She thought they were out! Another night the owner was caught looking in their window. Apparently he was known for window snooping. Lovely.
As if that wasn’t enough, on one of our nights out Kevin fell over a dog while returning with drinks and badly gashed his armed. And then I got in on the act.
We were in a bar sipping drinks when I was offered a taste of Tequila Sunrise. I know, I don’t touch alcohol, but I really loved the sweet taste, so I surprised everyone by ordering one for myself. Gosh, I thought, this is lovely. It was indeed, so lovely it was gone in two gulps. As Trish said, they all thought I’d be good for a laugh, but imagine their shock when instead I slid to the floor. The night came to a premature end as I was almost carried back to my welcoming bed. I haven’t lived the experience down since.
We came back to our apartment one day to discover some money had been taken. It wasn’t a huge amount, but that wasn’t the point. There was no sign of a break in and when I reported the theft it was suggested – not by us – that it might have been the lads who were staying next door to us. We considered that, but dismissed it because we hadn’t left any door or window open and they genuinely didn’t seem the type. They never rowed or came back drunk, nor did they hold parties. They were a friendly bunch anyway. We had our suspicions, but kept them to ourselves.
I planned to write a complaint to the holiday operator, but with my operation following just a few days later I never got around to it. Instead we never went back.
Fortunately, none of our holidays since have been anywhere as unpleasant as this, which is just as well or I’d have been divorced.