Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Adventures in Cephalonia 9

Hello. My name is Kostas Economides and I am a lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of the South of England (USE for short). Well, actually that is not true really as the names of individuals and institutions in this blog have been changed to protect the innocent - and the guilty!

Gus and Heather spent a happy few days visiting other parts of the island of Cephalonia. Starting in Sami they stayed at the Pericles Hotel. They visited the excavations of the ancient city with its theatre, aquaduct and tombs. They took a cruise around the neighbouring island of Ithaca. Of course Sami was a key location in the Captain Correli's Mandolin story and there are now quite a few Captain Correli themed restaurants and shops there.

Then they travelled up to Fiskado, the beautiful and picturesque harbour village at the northern tip of the island. Because it survived the devastating earthquake of 1953 it still has very attractive buildings. The harbour was full of expensive looking yachts, but there were also a few fishing boats providing excellent fish for the local tavernas and restaurants.

The last place Gus and Heather went to on their island tour was the village of Skala on the south-east of the island. Here there is a lovely "blue flag" beach which is shaded all the way along by pine trees. This is a very popular place in the summer with both locals and tourists. After that they returned to Lassi to relax for the last few days of their holiday.

The day before Gus and Heather were due to fly back to England they had a visit from the chief of police, Panos Manaitis. He had a lot to tell them. Some of the flight crew members from the charter company had been re-interviewed and one of them had finally broken down and admitted to being the courier. Exactly how he had been able to get the drugs into the UK at Gatwick airport was now being thoroughly investigated. Money had been put into a Swiss bank account for him which is why it had not been traced in the earlier investigation.

The company running the charter flight was very concerned that it had been used in the drug smuggling activities and was extremely relieved that this had now been stopped. The Chairman of the company had come over to Cephalonia and, as well as talking to the police, had also visited George and Rebecca. He had hoped to see Gus and Heather too, but because their exact whereabouts had not been known this had not been possible. He planned to get in touch with them when they were back in the UK and had promised that his company would provide free travel and accommodation for the couple when they had to return to Cephalonia for the trial. He had also told George and Rebecca that his company would pay for a big and prominent advertising hoarding for their taverna in the baggage reclaim area of the airport at Cephalonia, as well as printed leaflets with details of how to find the taverna. The company would make a goodwill donation of several thousand euro to George and Rebecca to help them complete the taverna restoration. Panos said this would be widely reported so it would actually be cheap publicity for the company. Never mind if George and Rebecca got the benefit.

"So, we will see you again sometime next year for the trial" said Panos. "You should also expect a visit at some point from the British police who are sharing the investigation with us. Thanks to God no harm came to you Heather. Kalo taxidi - have a safe journey home".

And so it is that Gus and Heather travelled safely back home and can now reflect on what was an unexpected and distressing experience. But, Gus told me, they did enjoy most of their time on the island of Cephalonia and would warmly recommend it as a holiday destination for British tourists

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