Thursday 25th July 2019 (and Friday 26th July 2019)
We ate breakfast at the hotel before returning to our room to start the process of packing for our journey home. It’s always a slightly sad time, realising that another holiday is coming to a close, but I also look forward to getting home to start planning the next trip!
We had bought tickets for the 13:30 ferry to Mykonos and arranged our free transfer back to the port via the hotel reception. The ferry was on time and we arrived just after 2 pm. As Mykonos ferry port (Tourlos) is just outside the main town, we then waited for the Seabus to take us across the harbour and into town.
It has become something of a tradition for me to eat at Niko’s Taverna whenever I’m on Mykonos. I won’t claim it to be the finest restaurant on the island, but it has always served us decent food and at reasonable (for Mykonos) prices. Combined with its convenient location not far from the old harbour, I do recommend giving it a try. Which is exactly what we did!
By this point, it was nearly 4pm and, although our flight wasn’t until 9pm, I knew from previous experience how difficult it can be getting transportation to the airport. We walked south towards Fabrika, where the main bus station is located. Anyone who has ever been here will know how crazy it is! It’s a tiny area opposite a supermarket (from which it gets its name) which is always full of people, cars, mopeds and quad bikes. That’s before you add in the huge buses trying to park up, turn around and leave again.
I managed to confirm there was an airport bus leaving at 5pm, so we bought some tickets and found a (relatively) quiet bit of shade to stand under until it arrived. Getting on the bus involved lots of pushing and shoving, my friend grabbing us some seats while I stuffed our luggage into the storage area.
Once we had escaped the madness of Fabrika, the journey to the airport only took 5-10 minutes and then we were collecting our luggage and queuing to check in to our Easyjet flight home.
Unfortunately, this is where things started to go a bit pear-shaped. Check-in was fine, and we even managed to find a couple of seats in the small departure lounge, but, as it neared the time for our inbound flight to arrive, we learned that it was nearly an hour late leaving Gatwick due to the heavy thunderstorms that had been gathering all day across much of Europe.
When the flight finally did arrive, we had a further delay before boarding, eventually getting on the plane around midnight. At this point, things went from bad to much, much worse. The pilot came through to announce that, due to the on-going storms over London, we were unlikely to be able to take off for at least 2 – 4 hours. Worse still, if we couldn’t get airborne within the first couple of hours, the flight crew would be unable to fly as they would exceed their maximum daily working hours and we would therefore be delayed for at least 12 hours.
Facing a choice between several hours stuck on a plane, or no flight at all, I was somewhat relieved when, just 30 minutes later, the pilot returned to confirm there was no chance of flying tonight. We were told to get off the plane, collect our luggage and await further information. At first, Easyjet was going to arrange accommodation, but this quickly changed when (I suspect) they realised how unlikely it would be that they could find us all somewhere to sleep on such a small and popular island in the middle of peak season.
Mykonos is not an island you want to be delayed on overnight.
Several passengers did seem to find late rooms, but despite calling the few hotels I had visited before, nobody had any capacity to put us up so we resigned to spend the night on the floor in the airport. Needless to say, it was one of my least enjoyable nights ever in Greece.
At 7 am, we took the first bus from the airport heading back towards the ferry port. Our flight was provisionally rescheduled for 7 pm that evening, so we had an entire day to waste and had no intention of spending any more of it at the airport than we absolutely had to!
We got off the bus just before Tourlos and had some breakfast at a small taverna just opposite the port. Having stayed overnight at Agios Stefanos the year before, I suggested we walked to the resort – a short way past the port – and set up camp for the day on some sun loungers on the beach.
We found refuge at Saint Stefanos Cafe, paying for some loungers and an umbrella for the day, as well as having lunch there and using their facilities to shower and change. Under the circumstances, it was a reasonably nice day. Once I’d had a swim and napped for a few hours, I felt somewhat human again!
Getting back to the airport was our next challenge. We could either walk back to Tourlos and catch a bus from the port, or get a taxi to pick us up. As I intended to claim back as much expense from Easyjet as possible, we decided a taxi would be much more convenient. However, actually booking a taxi on Mykonos is a bit of a nightmare (as I’ve mentioned many times before). At first, the friendly waiter at the taverna offered to arrange one for us, but after he struggled to get through and had lots of other customers to serve, I was left to fend for myself. In between trying the number he gave me, I found a couple of websites offering airport transfers and eventually settled on Your VIP Transfer. You can read about that experience by following the link, but we did make it back to the airport in the end.
Once again, our flight was delayed slightly, but with some relief we finally took off just after 9pm on the Friday night.
The rest of the journey was uneventful: we made it back to Gatwick, collected our luggage, got back to our car and I managed to stay awake for the 3-hour drive back home from Gatwick.
It had been a fantastic trip, and now that the memories of the nightmare delay have faded, I look back on it with great fondness. I have vowed never to return to Mykonos airport though, but we’ll see about that…