Have Bag, Will Travel
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A quick preview of my stories about recent travels to the Greek Islands…
I had what I called my gladiator sandals since 1999 when I went to Rhodes and they accompanied me abroad on every single subsequent holiday. By 2006 they were showing signs of wear and were not expected to see through a Greek island hopping adventure. I made it my mission to see how long I could keep make them last.
The Gladiators made it through the island travels and surprisingly lasted another two years when an important part of the shoe infrastructure failed (one of the straps snapped).
After Rhodes, they had been to the Greek islands of Skiathos, Cephalonia (twice), Santorini (twice), Crete, Thassos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Ios (twice), Sikinos, Amorgos, Milos and Sifnos. I finally had to accept that they were irreparable whilst on the island of Folegandros so I thought that this was a suitable place to say goodbye and I left them there to become part of the Greek earth in whatever landfill site they ended up in.
I really loved those sandals!
This year in our hotel room on the island of Amorgos I was amused to find in the guest information folder a helpful copy of the Regulations, Article 8 of the Law 1652/30-10-86 which is a list of rules associated with renting a room. These made entertaining reading and the following extracts were the pick of the bunch:
“The hotelier may refuse the leasing if the clients a) Looks conspicuously ill, b) is under the influence of alcohol or c) has an untidy appearance.”
This seems a bit harsh, whilst I agree that a hotel might not want to let a room to a drunk what if someone who needs a room had suffered from sea sickness on the ferry and was looking a bit green or was just a bet dishevelled at the end of a long day back packing? Who decides what constitutes being untidy I wonder? My daughter can turn a hotel room into a scene of total devastation and would be obliged to leave after about five minutes or so!
“If the room is leased for a fixed time the hotelier has not the right to break the lease unless the client a) transgresses the regulations, b) is taken ill suffering from a contagious disease or any other disease causing inconvenience to other clients, or c) behaves against the commonly accepted moral law.”
This seems a bit unfair on anyone feeling a bit unwell or has a cold with an annoying cough for example and I would be intrigued to know exactly what the commonly accepted moral law is, it sounds as though this could be interpreted as almost anything?
“The client on arrival at the hotel must hand over to the hotelier or to the competent director the precious or of considerable value articles and the money that he carries with him, against receipt.”
Can’t help thinking that is going to be a bit inconvenient, especially the money bit, how are you supposed to eat?
“In case of illness due to an infectious or contagious or mental disease as well as in the case of death or suicide of a client the hotelier is entitled to compensation by the client for the expenses he underwent as a result of the happening.”
My advice is try not to have any sort of illness that might be messy, such as diarrhoea for example, and if you are going to kill yourself do it in a way that is quick to clear up otherwise your family are going to end up with a large bill. On the other hand I’m not sure how relevant this illness rule is because under Article 8 a sick client will already have been thrown out on the street and that includes the mental cases who might do themselves in.
My personal favourite just has to be:
“It is forbidden a) the preparations of meals or decorations by the clients in the hotel room also the taking of meals in the room with the exception of sick clients, b) the use of petrol engines or electrical appliances, c) the use of electrical current for other purposes than lighting or shaving”.
You will have spotted the inconsistency here because clients aren’t allowed to be sick (see article 8), who in their right mind is going to use a petrol engine in a hotel room and why is it ok to use electricity to shave but presumably not to dry your hair?
It goes on “d) the washing of linen or clothing, e) the placing of luggage in the corridors, f) the changing of position of the rooms furniture and the operating of holes into the walls for hanging photographs, g) the keeping of domestic animals, h) gambling, i) noisy music and songs which might cause inconvenience to others.
This is a pretty comprehensive list of don’ts and I have personally broken at least half of these rules. I have certainly eaten food in my room, used electrical appliances, washed my dirty underpants out in the sink, played cards for money, kept a turtle in my room, reorganised the furniture on the balcony and put my bag down for a moment or two in the corridor. On the other hand I haven’t ever used a petrol engine or a Black and Decker drill to make holes in the wall or organised a rave in my room.
“If the client violates the provisions of the regulations, continually makes noise and behaves in an improper way he may be considered as undesirable and asked to leave the hotel within twenty-four hours and evacuate his room”
I wonder why, if someone was behaving so badly, they get twenty-four hours notice to leave when a sick person, it would seem, has to vacate immediately – this hardly seems fair!
Have you ever come across any odd rules and regulations when travelling?
I am by no means sure how we managed to choose the island of Thassos for a holiday in 1999. Not being one of the most popular holiday islands it was not somewhere that I was especially aware of or had any mad desire to go to so I can only assume that it was the end of season bargain price that settled the selection decision.
Beginning a Journey…
Soon after we arrived at what is euphemistically described as the departure gate our boat, the Anek Lines, Artemis, arrived on time and we made our way with the handful of fellow passengers to the top deck in the sunshine and as soon as everyone was on board it set off and slipped out of port.
The Artemis, named after the Greek Goddess of the wilderness, the hunt, wild animals and fertility (so quite a spread of responsibility), is a slow boat with a reassuring rhythmic throb of a reliable old engine and we sat in the middle of the boat and took comfort from that.
Sunset Playtime on Greek Island of Amorgos
As the sun begins to set, light must travel farther through the atmosphere before it gets to us and more of the light is reflected and scattered. As less reaches us directly, the sun appears less bright and the colour of the sun appears to change, first to orange and then to red and this is because even more of the short wavelength blues and greens are now scattered and only the longer wavelengths are left in the direct beam that we can see.
What makes it even more dramatic is that the sky around the setting sun takes on a lot of different colours and the most spectacular shows occur when the air contains many small particles of dust or water because these particles reflect light in all directions and then as some of the light heads towards us, different amounts of the shorter wavelength colours are scattered out and we get to see the longer wavelengths and the sky appears red, pink or orange.