Travelling with young children is stressful. As a childless couple arriving at the airport two and a half hours before a flight meant having some time to eat, drink and shop; with kids you just have time to get through security (both Ciaran and I were frisked this time – thank God I’d explained in advance that the ladies sometimes check you aren’t hiding anything in your clothes!) get the promised magazines from WHSmiths and feed them a snack before rushing to the gate. As a seasoned traveller with kids I had got preparation down to an art, essential items were at the top of my hand luggage, the kids had blankets and inflatable pillows and Chopper (Ben’s dog) and Bunny (Ciaran’s favourite) were to hand along with colouring in books and other treats. I’d also told the kids about the journey and what I expected them to do.
When we booked our holiday we’d chosen it partly for the flight times, we didn’t want to arrive anywhere with half asleep, sobbing children. Sadly First Choice changed the flight times so we would land in Crete around 10pm and back to Luton around 1am. Neither child slept on the plane but thanks to several days of brainwashing (I mean gentle reminders) Ciaran didnt insist on climbing out of his seat belt and understood the concept of sitting relatively still for most of the flight. The adrenaline rush of going on holiday kept them both in a reasonably good mood.
Our landing was bumpy which Ben and Ciaran loved (that was fun, lets do it again!) and the wait to get luggage the usual torture (although this time I was sat out of the way desperately trying to stop the kids running away or climbing on tables) but here we had an inspired moment; Tripadvisor had told us that the transfer to our hotel was a long slow one that would be finished by us joining a huge queue to check in at the hotel. Forewarned, we’d booked a taxi to meet us and got to the Nana Beach Resort around 11pm, an hour ahead of the rest of the flight.
We were driven to our bedroom (extremely basic) and then headed to the midnight snack bar where we all filled up on veg, chips and meatballs with a little drink for us all (lager and diet cokes for Chris and I and tropical juice and water for the kids). We went to bed at midnight with the air-conditioning on the fritz in a whitewashed grim bedroom in the middle of a very luxurious resort, promising that we’d see the rep in the morning to beg for an apartment where the kids could sleep in a seperate space to us and where the aircon and blinds worked and door handle didn’t fall off.