A CRO PO LIS NOW !
Or.......Central London go to Greece:
Inspired by the large amounts of great food and cheap beer on offer at the 2 Italian competitions last year (Pisa and Rome), The Central London collective decided to go all Mediterranean again and head off for Greece as a change from our normal January Usk trip
This time it was to the Patras tournament - the biggest competition in Greece, held in the port city of Patras.
After a ridiculously early start - not because of the flight time, but to allow Mick to do his hair and beauty routine before leaving the house - we undertook the first difficult navigation of the weekend, securing 3 vegetarian breakfasts for Mick, Suzi and Ian at Garfunkels at Gatwick.
After also negotiating the baggage check, and when only one person elected to get off the plane soon after discovering that there were 4 wargamers aboard, we were on our way to Greece....One car hire later and we were following the coast road to Patras.
Yes, Mr Mick High Speeeeed Flash Motor Owens at the wheel, racing through the Greek countryside in a 1.6l Skoda with a back seat full of wargamers and a boot full of lead! Move aside Mr Schumacher (Thats Mr Schumacher the 80 year old wheelchair bound grocer from Southern Barvaria, not the racing driver one you understand ).
On the way we had the first opportunity to test out the Greek phrase book, as we stopped for lunch in somewhere historical and famous. Not wishing to start with something easy such as "hello", or useful, like "5 beers please", the 3 bean munchers attempted to explain to the waiter that they were vegetarians.
<- The first red wine of the day ...
After some confusion 2 salads duly appeared and as Brian and I munched our way through roast lamb, the feta cheese and olives were well received... although the generous additional complimentary dish that was then brought to the table, or kidneys wrapped in roast pork maybe indicated that our efforts at explaining this concept were maybe not as successful as we had first though....
Maybe its a difficult word, or maybe he didn't understand but to be honest we may as well have been speaking, er,... Sanskrit ? Anyways, chips and salad would do fine...
There is no "Vegetarian Society" in Greece.
Anyway, on to Patras, and after finding the hotel by accident, and parking (almost a Greek tragedy in itself) it was onto the first extensive meal of the weekend, with our ever jovial host Kostas.
A well hidden restaurant (and a Greek to explain to the waiter what "vegetarian" meant) provided us with a vast amount of food, wine, Patras Liqueur and even Paris, his own personal lawyer and comedy friend to entertain us later in the evening when we attempted to find a bar with Waitress (S), but instead only succeeded in pole-axing (the other) Nick Farrell, who we had to physically carry from the bar after his legs inexplicably ceased to function.
The concept of brand integrity ceased to apply after 11pm in Patras
Anyway, 3am is an ideal time to go to bed in order to prepare for a morning game at 8:30 Greek time - which is rather like Italian time...