Greece, Football, the Euro and tomorrow’s Election

On the journey to the airport this a.m., there was much more political posters and graffiti; most of it from the KKE, I saw one PASOK graffito and two New Democracy posters in Corfu town.

We were still on a high from having seen England’s best football performance since 2001, and the first one I’ve watched since 2004. Our taxi driver, Dimitrios, gave us a detailed preview of the Greek team and management. He started with the phrase, “If I knew, I’d tell the manager”, He did say, that at least it remained in their hands and all that Greece had to do was win. He identified the problems of age, too old and too young, weakness in at the left back position, wrong goal keeper selection,  he’s not a fan of Georgios Samaras, and starting the game 10 minutes after the opposition and the kick off whistle. He characterised the Greek team as fighters not exponents of the beautiful game, “We are not Brazil”.

We spoke about the election, what he said suggested that he saw it as a referendum on the Euro, but that he had seen a Greek language article in Germany’s equivalent of the Financial Times translating an appeal from Angela Merkel for the Greek people to vote for the Euro and the bailout agreements. He suggested that appeals from foreign politicians were unlikely to succeed in changing anyone’s mind in favour of their views and you’d think she’d have learnt from her so-successful support of Sarkozy. (Interestingly, the English language, Greek Reporter attribute the article’s editorial to the FT De alone, and elsewhere Merkel is quoted as declining to give advice to the Greek people.)

On arrival at the airport, the taxi rank full of taxis waiting for arriving passengers acts as a potent symbol to Europe’s and the Euro-zone’s economic policy makers, that they’re all in this together! It’s full of Mercedes, and to a lesser extent Peugeots. A Deutsch Mark would be more valuable then the Euro, they’d find it harder to sell their cars, the Greeks won’t be able to afford their Mercedes if they are expelled from the Euro and the new Drachma devalues. (I wanted to take a picture, but we entered the hell that is the Easyjet checkin queue at Corfu airport, and all thoughts of tourism exited my mind. It’s not a good way to end such a relaxing holiday; I wonder if we can do better.) …

Romance is not dead, well maybe

After a flight and a taxi journey, we arrive at the Delfin Blu, a hotel we discover at the top of trip advisor’s hotel list in NW Corfu. After a check in, we explore Aghios Stephanos, discover the Super Market, and four bars all showing the football. I hadn’t thought to realise that it’s the first week of Euro 2012. Mrs. L is a big football fan, and has honed her supporter skills and stamina by following Portsmouth and Tottenham. More recently, we have tried to follow England but like most who do, it’s been a painful process. I am reminded that on our honeymoon, we watched several games of the ’86 World Cup including England vs. Argentina, the famous “Hand of God” game.  We sit down at a bar, order two beers and begin to watch Holland vs Denmark. Denmark are in their white away strip; Red and Orange it would seem are too similar. Just as Denmark score, Mrs. L. says, “This takes me back”, “What seeing someone in a white shirt score a goal?” I reply. It seems I should have been more romantic. …

Early start

God, it’s early. That would have been the advantage of taking a charter flight, but I only want two seats. I and Mrs. L. are travelling to Corfu this morning; our first trip to the Greek Island’s by ourselves since our honeymoon in 1986. There’s only one direct flight, and it leaves at stupid o’clock. …

A Nordic morning

Just back from a trip to Guildford, to the Scandinavian Fair. We now have some Xmas presents for others, a hat for me, and some snacks with which to watch “The Killing”.

Copenhagen, taken from Wikipedia's Copenhagen page

No pickled fish unfortunately, but we made up for that on the way home. …

DE HQ Reunion Barge Trip

The Reunion barge trip is over, we travelled on the Stourport Ring, to and from Tardebigge, via Worcester, Stourport, Wolverhampton and Birmingham.

I have started to upload and convert the images and videos. I used a Nokia phone, and a Sony camera and Handycam so there’ll be some mucking about to make a video/slide show for youtube, laptops and the ipodtouch. The rest of the pictures are on flickr in a set called Barge Trip 2011. …

Back Home in London

Sunday 19:30 BST And back home after an uneventful DLR journey home from LCY to the flat.

Sunday 16:40 CET So 40 minutes to change flights at Zurich, and I remember the insufficient 50 minutes slot I was given at Frankfurt, but we got a gate not a coach, and it’s all within one building, and I stayed on the same airline because I kept to my rules. Despite this, the Swiss Air staff were just as un-helpful as last time, merely saying that 40 minutes was enough, which was true and that we were early, which was not. My experience is that short/medium haul are never early; the ground resources are not ready.

Sunday 11:45 CET I got to Budapest Airport early, again. They won’t check you in until 2 hours before, but now Priority Pass can get you into four lounges. How to choose? However, they’re all airside, so I had to wait for checkin to open. The Taxi company this a.m. were marvelous, so thank you for that but they’re expensive, I wonder if they have multiple tariffs and if I come back I am definitely going to work out the public transport option. Either bus to the Metro and on, or Bus to Terminal 1 and the overground to Budapest. …