Tag Archives: Flight Delays

Cyprus, The Archaeological Site at Paphos

Paphos Mosaics 01

On the last day the weather was fine, we had put the coach trip mistake to the Troodos Mountains behind us and we took a final walk from our hotel to Paphos along the sea front, a very pleasant stroll of just over three miles.

My plan, but not Kim’s was to visit the UNESCO archaeological site.  We walked around the perimeter fence which was broken down in places and some people were avoiding the entrance fee by climbing through.  Even free entry could not persuade Kim to make the visit so we walked on past the castle and through the harbour area with its persistent waiters inviting us to sit down and eat and then to the seafront café that we had taken a liking to.

As we sat in the Spring sunshine we debated an option to rip up our return airline tickets and stay in Cyprus a while longer but came to the conclusion that this would be rather reckless so we abandoned the idea.

Paphos 14

We went our separate ways now, Kim took the bus back to the hotel to go the spa and I went to the archaeological site which was declared a UNESCO heritage site in 1980.

The World Heritage list has been around for over sixty years as a consequence of events in 1954 when the government of Egypt announced that it was to build the Aswan Dam, a project that proposed to flood a valley containing priceless treasures of ancient civilizations.  Despite opposition from Egypt and neighbouring Sudan, UNESCO launched a worldwide safeguarding campaign, over fifty countries contributed and the Abu Simbel and Philae temples were taken apart, moved to a higher location, and put back together piece by piece.  At last the World was collectively protecting its treasures.

The site was good value at €2.50 (seniors rate) and I spent over two hours going over about a two thousand five hundred year old city  which turns out to be the most important Greeko/Roman archaeological site in Cyprus.

Paphos Postcard

After the Greeks came the Romans and they adapted the city to their own style and and here I walked around the remains of the Forum, the Temples, the Amphitheatre and sections of the old city wall and inside these the public baths and the once grand villas of the city patricians.  It wasn’t on the scale of Pompeii or Herculaneum of course but as only an estimated 20% of the site has been excavated then who knows what treasures lay buried under the parched dusty fields.

The site was only discovered in 1962 so having lay undisturbed for hundreds of years a lot of treasures that might have been lost to looters is still there, especially the very fine mosaic floors which in turn are being restored and moved to a vast indoor exhibition hall.

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

After the Romans left the city was used by the Egyptians, Arab caliphates, the French Lusignan dynasty and then in the Middle Ages it began to be dismantled and used as a quarry and a convenient source of building materials for new towns and villages along the coastline.

We often think that development is all about continuous progress but that is quite wrong.

This is something that has always perplexed me. The Romans built a great city with roads and aqueducts, fresh water and sewage and waste disposal systems, grand villas decorated with mosaics and statues and then medieval man came along during the dark ages and tore them down – not to build something better but to construct something significantly inferior.

I would like to have overheard the town planning debates and the rationale applied to do this. “We don’t need stone roads”, they’d probably say “a muddy track will do just as well.” “We don’t need all these fancy sewers, we’ll dig a hole in the garden!” “We can’t really see the point of all these aqueducts and fresh water filtration systems, we’ll just drink the dirty river water!”  “And finally we don’t need all of these fine villas with air conditioning and shady gardens, we’ll take them down and use the stone to make the foundations for some mud huts!”

I spent a couple of hours at the site and could have stayed much longer but it was late afternoon by now so I left and took the three mile walk along the coastal path back to the hotel.

For our last evening we dined at the cheap kebab restaurant and were entertained by a British ex-pat explaining how good life was and his Russian companion who had clearly overdone the vodka.  We had walked nearly twelve miles today.

We had enjoyed Cyprus and once again contemplated stopping longer but by next morning were ready to go home.  We actually got to stay a few hours longer in Cyprus than we had anticipated however because a fault with the Easyjet plane led to a five hour delay.

The compensation came in handy!

Cyprus Postcard

Thumbs Down For Easyjet (again)!

The next morning over another excellent breakfast on the terrace a rumour started percolating through that an incoming Easyjet flight had been cancelled so obviously wouldn’t be going back to the UK either.  Doris thought it might be the Gatwick flight but she wasn’t entirely certain so we started to think about what we might do if it was our flight to Stansted.

We left the hotel and abandoned a planned short detour for a panoramic view of Dubrovnik and went directly to the airport in case there was going to be any trouble.  After returning the car and signing the rental papers we walked to airport departures and sure enough there was a problem and passengers were wandering about trying to make alternative plans.  Thankfully the flight information screen confirmed it was the Gatwick flight but as you can never be absolutely sure about the reliability of Easyjet I refused to stop worrying completely.

Easyjet are one of the worst airlines for last minute cancellations and changes to the flight itineraries and we have been the victims of this before.  In September 2006 a four hour delay from Athens because somewhere in the day the plane had to squeeze in an extra flight, in 2007 again from Athens an unexplained two hour delay and in 2010 a three hour delay from Bilbao again because of last minute rescheduling.

Easyjet seem to think that this is acceptable and that passengers can be treated like cattle (but actually cattle probably get more consideration than Easyjet passengers!).  Although everyone likes to hate Ryanair I have never experienced major flight delays or arrogance and contempt at which Easyjet excel and would always use them when I can in preference to Easyjet simply because I have more confidence in them to get me where I am going more or less on time.

Anyway, the reason for this morning’s last minute cancellation was apparently because the pilot had phoned in sick.  Now I don’t know how many Easyjet flights there are every day or how many pilots they must have on the books but that excuse seems a bit lame to me because surely someone must have been on standby or there was a spare floating around the system somewhere.  When a refuse truck driver doesn’t turn up for work the council doesn’t cancel the day’s collections they find someone to take his place so that service isn’t interrupted.  Surely Easyjet can do the same, I know they operate on narrow margins but flight disruption because a pilot has got a bit of a headache is ridiculous.

Naturally there was a lot of confusion and long queues as the Gatwick passengers tried to get information and make alternative arrangements.  To be fair to Easyjet they promised a replacement flight the following evening, all expense paid overnight accommodation and an extra day in Croatia and if I had been on the flight I would have taken that offer and had another day in the sun but this didn’t seem to suit many of the grounded passengers and most were queuing to arrange transfers.

The lucky ones who were there first had managed to get a seat on our Stansted flight but the next batch were transferred to Liverpool.  Now, I’m not convinced that a lot of these people from Surrey really knew where Liverpool is because after a four hour wait at Dubrovnik Airport they were going to land two hundred and fifty miles away from their preferred destination, they wouldn’t be able to understand the language and then they would have a tortuous journey to Gatwick.

By road Liverpool to Gatwick would be a nightmare down the M6, the M42, the M40 and finally the M25 and that is probably the last thing anybody would really want after a relaxing break in the sun.  Alternatively they could go by train but this takes at least three and a half hours and the cheapest single ticket is over £70 each.

The decision to transfer to Liverpool just didn’t make sense to me, some explained that they had to get back to work the next day but they couldn’t have been thinking straight.  Even if they managed to get back in time to go to work they were going to feel awful and would probably have to phone in sick anyway.

Luckily our flight wasn’t affected but as usual it was over half an hour late taking off and all of this simply confirmed for me that I really do prefer Ryanair.

Thumbs Up for Ryanair

Also worth a mention:

Thumbs up for Sixt Rent-a-Car

Thumbs down for Easyjet

Using the motorway we were soon back at the concrete block of Bilbao airport and we returned the car and got the refund on the full tank of fuel and then went to check-in.  We were in plenty of time and the first at the desk and we should have realised that there was a problem when the check-in clerk couldn’t allocate a gate number because this meant only one thing – the plane was delayed.

We sat in the bar for half an hour until the overhead flight information board finally owned up to the fact that we wouldn’t be taking off on time and the boarding gate time was slipped back by thirty minutes – groans all around.  This didn’t seem too bad but then it slipped back another fifteen minutes, and then another, and then another and then another.  Now this is really irritating because they knew all along that the flight was delayed by ninety minutes but choose not to reveal this all in one go.  What possible purpose could that serve except to get everyone nervous and irritable?  Wouldn’t it be better to tell the truth from the very beginning and then everyone can come to terms with the fact and pace themselves and plan their additional time in the departure lounge.

At least Bilbao Airport was quite pleasant and the prices for an airport were surprisingly cheap even though I was restricted to alcohol free San Miguel on account of the fact I would be driving later.

How do I know that they knew how long the delay would be?  Quite simple!  When we finally got on board the pilot told us so!  The plane had been used to squeeze in an additional flight because somewhere, elsewhere in the Easyjet fleet another plane had had technical difficulties.  This seems to be common practice for Easyjet who treat their customers with the same contempt as Ryanair but the difference is they don’t admit to it.  This is the third time that this has happened to me on a late night return flight and I have to say I find it completely unacceptable but was my own fault because for only an extra £5 I could have flown with the more reliable Ryanair to the nearby airport of Santander and I am sure that I would have got home at the scheduled time.

When we landed the Steward announced ‘Thanks for choosing Easyjet’ as though nothing had happened but I for one shall think twice about using them in the future!

Thumbs down for Easyjet again


Thumbs down for Ryanair Transaction Charges


The Full Tank of Fuel Car Hire Scam