Leaving the van behind in Athens was tougher than we thought.
The Hymer has been our home since 20th September, the tiny space where we eat, drink, sleep, wash, and watch Europe unfold before our eyes.
We have crashed it into a ditch. The fresh water tank sprung a leak and we tripped the electrical system when we switched on our Christmas tree lights.
But despite our attempts to test the 21-year-old van to its limits, its German engineering simply absorbs everything we throw at it, and it keeps on chugging along.
I never thought I would say I loved an inanimate object, let alone a vehicle (I don’t even drive for goodness sake!) but I love our van.
So moving into a real house for ten days to spend time with some of our family over New Year was a bit of wrench.
The kitchen in our villa is bigger than our van, and after three days I have finally remembered what I have stored in each of the units.
And I feel guilty every time I run water, thinking momentarily that Nigel will have to refill the tank, or I will have to get out my lime green, collapsible bucket and empty the grey water.
But I do enjoy walking into a large bathroom and running hot water until the steam hurts my eyes.
We are in Paphos until 9th January, when we will fly back to Athens to begin the next leg of our tour round the EU.
Our first stop will be Venice, and I can’t wait to see this iconic city.
We haven’t seen much evidence of the arts festival yet. The main, the only, attraction this week seems to be Departing Mythologies, an exhibition of contemporary Cypriot artists.
Until July last year, we lived half our time in West Yorkshire, and often visited Hull. We started our journey from Hull, and we will return later this year to enjoy some of the city’s culture.
It may not have the old town history of Aarhus, Denmark’s second city, or the Mediterranean climate of Paphos, but Hull has a big heart, and by the looks of its 2017 programme, far more culture on offer then either European city this year.
Not for nothing was this tough town, on the edge of the North Sea, dubbed the most poetic city in England. Its most famous son is, of course, Philip Larkin, but Stevie Smith, Roger McGough, and Andrew Motion are just a few of the poets to have lived and worked in Hull.
We can’t wait to enjoy a little bit of Hull’s big year; but today we are off to see Paphos’s celebrated Tomb of Kings.
We have promised our grandchildren it is just like Raiders of the Lost Ark.😉