Little did we realise when we left Kritsa at the end of February that we’d not see this view again until mid-August, thanks to Covid 19.
Being retired, we were very strict with our lockdown in the UK and made sure we didn’t take any risks. Unlike people who had to work, we only went outside for exercise. Shopping was all on-line and video conferencing opened up a new world of virtual meet ups with friends and family. Friday night in the Facebook Arms is now so firmly established it will probably continue for years.
When conditions eased in the UK, we added in a few socially distanced and self catered picnics but otherwise maintained the same disciplines – we wanted nothing to stop us returning to Kritsa. The lure of £10 each off a meal bill was not at all tempting; all we wanted was a coffee in a Cretan cafe to watch the world go by.
We knew we were fit and healthy, so booked bargain Easyjet flight from Bristol. Then my anxiety started – I read people were being denied boarding as they had made mistakes when completing their Passenger Location Forms (PLF) e.g. not including their middle names – even though the form states this is optional.
Here is a link for the Passenger Location Form (PLF) https://travel.gov.gr/
This is the one we shall complete before returning to the UK https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk
I made sure we completed our form together for shared responsibility! As the person who booked the tickets, I put myself first. I don’t have a middle name, so I left it blank. Although Alan has a middle name, there was no space to add it for the second passenger – blood pressure rose a bit!
Flight number – ‘Example, two letters and three numbers.’ Easyjet has three letters – put in the full flight code and felt blood pressure rise higher.
‘Name of hotel?’ Argh, no facility to state we stay in our own house. Throat felt tight and tummy churned.
I felt unwell for the next 48 hours. I hate not being in control and although the confirmation email signalling receipt of our PLF came through quickly, what if the QR code didn’t arrive?
At 00.06 Greek time on the date of travel, the email with the all important QR code pinged into my In Box. I saved it to my phone and printed it out.
We live in a part of Wiltshire recognised as an area of concern so fully expected a Covid19 test on arrival at Heraklion airport. This test would only show if we already had the virus, and we were certain we didn’t as we’d not mixed with anyone or been anywhere. However, time in the airports and on the flight could mean we picked up the virus and a swab test on arrival would not detect it.
Bristol airport was so quiet it was easy to stay apart from other people. Well-organised boarding procedures meant only small groups were on the steps/finding their seats at any one time. Once on board the full flight everyone continued to wear masks. They restricted the toilet queue to just two people at a time, a very sensible idea. Disembarkation was fast and smooth, making me hope they keep the same process forever.
Once out of the aircraft, I paused briefly to inhale that heady mix of aviation fuel, hot tarmac and herbs before boarding the bus to the terminal. These were only one third full so full marks Heraklion.
This bit made me laugh – we kept our facemasks on to pass through passport control. 😷
Next was the QR code check. After a quick glance at my proffered paper, the uniformed officer waved us through. I didn’t see anyone channeled away for a test – perhaps it was too late in the evening.
Within fifteen minutes, we were driving towards Kritsa and excitement replaced my worry.
Just look at this cheerful man five minutes after our arrival in Kritsa.
Inside, the house was fine. The balcony had a substantial covering of Saharan sand not tackled until the next morning.
So, to all those people worried about travelling, I’d say follow the rules and you’ll be OK.
Now we are enjoying a period of self-imposed quarantine to make sure we didn’t pick up anything on the journey. The first few days are for doing jobs around the house and then we will head for Karavastasi beach.
Hope you are coping with Covid 19 uncertainty. Stay safe and well. X