Paradise or Prison?

We had selected a place called Kipriotis Village on Kos mainly for its kid’s facilities. It turned out to be very large – too large in retrospect – with 1378 beds or when full, over 3000 people. It had 4 or 5 pools, 4 water slides, 4 or 5 bars, three restaurants, an outdoor theater and, outside of toilets in rooms, I counted just 14 toilets per sex. I would say it was short on toilets and I can only assume that management expected guests to pee in the pools – which I am sure they did given the stink of 14 toilets to serve over 3000 guests. After the first day in which we discovered row upon row of sun beds festooned with towels but no people, we too began the practice of rushing first thing in the morning to claim a sun bed by the pool returning later after a leisurely breakfast, to claim our hard won resource.

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The food, at first, wasn’t bad at all. As its all inclusive and free, the temptation is pile the plate and pile the plate I did – at first. By about day 4, I began to sicken of the food. Whatever it was, it tasted somehow the same. The pizza tasted like the chicken that tasted just like the salad. Strange I know, but true. Furthermore, I spent much of the vacation having to make rather urgent trots to find one of those 14 toilets that was free periodically and I suspect too much olive oil to have been the culprit. Of course, one could try the Greek restaurant or the Italian restaurant by booking the night before but, other than a change of scenery, it was the same food.

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Next time I do this, I will check the meaning of all inclusive carefully. The drinks were also included but it was only a subset of the drinks and they were all made with local produce. I did ask several times if there was actually any alcohol in the cocktails to which the waitress usually smiled and showed me the bottle which, proclaimed 30% alcohol. I suspect this to be a lie as I never experienced the remotest feeling of being giddy, drunk or tipsy the whole time I was there and I drank a lot of these cocktails – until they too began to taste the same.

Another thing about camp life is that you are in close proximity to several thousand other people not all of them the sort of people you would desire to share a vacation – or a toilet – with. The Russians in particular were the most obnoxious people I have ever met outdoing my fellow Brits and the ever present Germans by a long haul. They shoved in, jumped queues, were loud and simply didn’t fit in at all. I know a number of Russians and these tourists must have come from some deprived housing estate outside of Moscow because they were not at all like the people I know. ‘Russia First’ seemed to be the only English words they knew and that should give you all the information you need to back up my assertions….

By then end of week 1, Kipriotis village began to take on the characteristics of a prison camp complete with its guards who in this instance were the so called life guards. The life guards appeared to have been instructed to do their best to stop anyone from having fun. Make so much as a splash in the pool and the whistle blew along with a stern look in your direction. No jumping, no diving, no horseplay, no coming down the slide anyway but alone and on your bum….. The highlight for me was when we notice our daughter on the other side of the pool obviously struggling just below the oblivious guard. My partner leapt immediately executing a near perfect (9.9) dive into the pool, gliding underwater effortlessly towards our daughter to help her to the side only to have the same guard blow the whistle and lecture her on diving. He felt the full wrath of my tongue let me tell you.

So, it was with some glee that on day 8, we made our bid for freedom. A two-day car rental for 50Eur was our opportunity to explore Kos and change diet, location and toilet use. It was heaven. We toured almost the entire island and what an exquisite place it is. The car was however a bit of a disappointment. We asked for a ‘topless’ car – it was on special. We thought it would be fun. Mistake.

The car was the smallest vehicle I have ever driven and that includes a go-cart. It was advertised as seating 4 however. It had been well used just like Kipriotis Village. When the roof was opened it rattled so noisily that you couldn’t hear each other shout. The roof stayed shut and topless was not allowed. The engine warning light was on the entire rental period. I told them too but the rental lady smiled and told is it was an additional feature of the cheap rental. Mustn’t complain too much, despite only managing 3km/hr up the hills and having to stay in 2nd gear most of the time to accelerate, it did its job and was returned after the rental in the condition we found it along with several empty drink bottles, a ton of sand and sweet wrappers.

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We then found ourselves with 4 more days of the prison I mean holiday camp…. That’s when we discovered the bus. Ah, the bus. We managed to escape each day into the lovely town of Kos where we shopped, ate and drank and found toilets quite easily for the remainder of the trip.

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