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Winter 2020/21

Collecting the old girl!

We had been in Marina di Ragusa for a couple of days and various countries were starting to make plans for a second lockdown, we decided that before this happens we needed to arrange collection of the old girl who had been left in the boatyard in Preveza, Greece.

After researching our options to travel to Greece we found that there were not any direct flights and the easiest, cheapest way would be to fly to Preveza via Heathrow. This sounded good (crazy) as it would arrive Friday afternoon and the flight to Greece went on Sunday morning giving us a full day to visit family and friends.

We spent two busy days preparing ZigZag to be left alone, washed and removed sails and ropes, shut all seacocks, disconnected the gas and electric and packed away Fred and Ed. We caught the bus to Ragusa town and then got the connection to Catania. We booked a room for the night so that we were there ready for our flight the following morning. This gave us a chance to have a quick look around in the evening.

Catania is the 2nd largest city in Sicily, it sits in the shadow of Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano. A lot of the buildings and pavements here are very black made with the lava rock (basalt) from the volcano. We walked around the old town, which was impressive with the black stone, white Sicilian marble and baroque architecture, all lit up against the dark sky, along with large piazza’s, night street markets and elaborate fountains.

We also came across the ruins of an old amphitheater which was destroyed in the earthquake of 1693, the remains now lie underneath a busy roundabout and the city buildings.

We managed to find a traditional pizzeria where we had our first Sicilian pizza. Our evening in Catania was intended as a convenient stop over but turned out to be a pleasant surprise and definitely somewhere that we hope to revisit with more time to explore.

The following day we went to the airport for our flight to the UK, surprisingly the flight was full, we had expected some empty seats to comply with social distancing, particularly after the captains big speech about keeping everyone safe in the current climate! (This appeared to only involve everyone wearing a face mask and a reduced catering service). It was a scenic flight as we took off and flew around Mount Etna.

As most of you may be aware, we are now a few weeks behind with our posts. Luckily we arrived in the UK a couple of days prior to the quarantine regulations taking effect for visitors from Italy.

It was great to meet up with family and friends. We knew it would be a busy day trying to fit everyone in so we were very pleased to hear that our flight to Greece had been delayed for 24 hours giving us another full day in the UK.

In our short visit we overdosed on British culture with an Indian takeaway, fish and chips, Sunday lunch, a trip to the park with the grandchildren, watched our nephew play in a local park football match, we celebrated our daughter passing her degree and an early birthday party for Paul’s mum featuring some awesome mum dancing (unfortunately we didn’t get a photo!), all complying with the rule of 6 people.

Not sure who was having the most fun!

After a busy weekend, it was time to leave and head back to Heathrow for our flight to Preveza. This flight was a lot different, as it was the last flight to Preveza for the season, with only 16 passengers onboard, we had plenty of space.

We arranged to stay in Lefkas Town for a week as the ferry to Italy did not leave until the following weekend. Hopefully giving us plenty of time to get the car ready.

We went to the boatyard to collect the old girl, not sure what we would find. To our delight, she looked just as we had left her. However, the battery was of course flat, without enough power to even open the central locking!

After several attempts to jump start her and Paul giving her some love and attention, she finally fired up and thankfully we were off again.

7 replies on “Collecting the old girl!”

Love the pictures of the old town, very atmospheric and beginning to look quite Christmassy. I’m so glad the car was as you left her and was kind enough to start with a little assistance, she obviously hasn’t fallen out with you too much.
You are both looking healthy and well (very bronzed) and i bet the time flew with the families. Take good care and keep the updates coming it certainly brightens a dull UK morning 🙂

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Beautiful pictures and wonderful read. Visiting family is always a treat Paul. I have started to look forward to your updates now and reading it out to Adi, he enjoys it too.

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Thank you Pratibha. Sue is putting in a lot of the hard yards making sure we have something ready to post each week. I am pleased to hear that Adi is coming on the journey with us and hopefully he will get the bug to explore the world himself in a few years time.

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Fabulous narrative and photos as always. It’s great that you were able to combine a trip to collect the car with being able to come home to see your family and have a another adventure along the way which appears to have been timed to perfection in the current climate. You both look ridiculously well with your suntans. Hope the the return trip goes as well. Stay safe.

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Paul,
that was definitely worth returning home for!
Great photos from Sicily, and good to see you were as practical as ever getting things moving again!
Dan

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