What with lockdowns, travel restrictions, eye-wateringly expensive Covid tests and a passport no longer recognised by the EU, the trip I was beginning to think would never happen is now within touching distance and we're packed and ready to go.
As we're travelling around on public transport we're keeping the luggage to a minimum, opting for a single 20kg travel bag to fly with. It also saves ££s, too, money which we'd rather spend in Greece. We've got everything in with a few kilos to spare.
Jon's taking six shirts, a long-sleeved top, three pairs of shorts, a hat and a cross-body bag. He's travelling in toffee-coloured shorts and the recently acquired tiger print shirt. With the exception of the mustard shirt, and navy & toffee shorts, everything else was charity shopped.
There's a fringed cotton hammam towel (bought in Crete last year), two pairs of swim shorts, two pairs of sandals and some blue cord Clarks' Originals which he's travelling in.
We're taking bamboo cotton buds, once a day sun protection in factors 40 and 30, Jon's razor, blades and a travel-sized shaving gel, bite cream, a 30x magnifying mirror, my Tangle Teaser, plasters, Lush shampoo and conditioner bars, my razor, painkillers, antiseptic cream, bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste, insect repellent, soap, nail polish remover wipes, my pills and eye-makeup remover wipes.
I'm taking six dresses, a silk top made from a recycled sari, my maize hat, a straw cross-body bag and my trusty gold leather bag. I'm travelling in the blue silk kaftan and I'll be wearing my hat and carrying the gold bag. With the exception of the olive maxi dress, sari top, gold bag and the hat, everything else is vintage and/or second-hand.
I'm flying in the same outfit as I did last year, even down to my me-made William Morris mask!
I'm taking a fringed cotton hammam towel (also bought in Crete), two bikinis, two pairs of sandals and two pairs of sunglasses. I'm travelling in my Lottas. People always ask me about underwear - something I've never been that bothered about. I wear a pair of decent knickers to travel in as my prosthetic hip always sets off the alarms when we go through security. Although I carry a card to say that I have a bionic hip it's easier just to pull up my dress and show them my scar!
Make-up wise I'm taking two new - and fantastic - discoveries, Maybelline's Brow Extensions and their Colossal Big Shot mascara, Barry M's black waterproof eyeliner pencil and sharpener, Barry M's Matte Me Up in Shocking Pink (discontinued but often available on eBay), Maybelline's Matte Ink in Heroine, tweezers, eyeliner brush, transparent hair bands and grips, lip balm, Lush's Karma solid perfume, Sleek's creme blush in Crimson, metal-free hair bands, Hard as Nails and Barry M's nail paint in Damson (a proper Greek blue).
I'll put my rings, bangles and turquoise bird earrings on once I've gone through security, the two pendants, silver torque, Nepali hair stick and remaining two pairs of earrings are in the travel bag. Also taking, but not pictured: A Indian block printed bedspread, a sewing kit, a manicure set, mobile phones (even I'm having to take one!), a shedload of paperwork (as back-up), books (Jon), Kobo (me), a map, plug adaptors, prescription glasses/sunglasses, masks & sanitiser, camera, various chargers, a torch, a notebook & pen and mozzie plug-ins.
With the house cleaned from top to bottom and the garden tidier than it's been in months, I've spent a lazy day in the sunshine reacquainting myself with Rhodes, rendered even more beautiful by the power of Lawrence Durrell's words.
As I mentioned in my last post, I've visited the Greek island of Rhodes twice before. The photos below, taken in 1991 on a Club 18 - 30 holiday with a girlfriend, are 30 years old!!! Where did the time go? My naturally blonde hair went over to the dark side many years ago but I'm still the same wide-eyed traveller, giddy with excitement at the prospect of leaving England's shores. I didn't go abroad until I was old enough to pay my own way, my Dad worked overseas and would only entertain holidays in England (or Wales) when I was a child.
I was 21 when I left the UK for the first time and the beauty of Barcelona simultaneously blew my mind and reduced me to tears. I made a promise to myself there and then that I'd find a way to travel abroad & see more of the world every year for the rest of my life and so far I've managed to do just that. Long may it continue.
Yammas! See you in October!