An elegant sufficiency

Monday, April 14, 2008

Athens Out-takes

As soon as we realised we were "there", we dashed out for our last breakfast with a view - to find a chap waving his arms about and looking a little frustrated (understatement!) Perhaps this was the clue to the way the day would progress for us, too!

Having got our things together and had the call to disembark and collect our bags, we joined a morning city tour to fill in the time before our flight, which wasn't till 7pm. We began by driving around the old port of Piraeus.

Along the way, we saw plenty of evidence left behind from the 2004 Olympics, though the city was quiet on this Sunday morning.

From time to time we passed a ruin or two, but sadly we were unable to catch any details.

Most of the time, we couldn't even catch the ruin!

We didn't really get a feeling for the city at all as we seemed to go in and out and around the same parts over and again and breathed a sigh of relief when we were taken for coffee to a "room with a view".

Around 1pm, we arrived at the airport, clearly far too early for our flight but hopeful of dropping off our bags and heading for the lounge to catch up on email, snoozing and easing ourselves back into real life.

No such luck. All pleas to get through to "the other side" fell on deaf ears and we faced a three and a half hour wait in the noisy checkin hall, even though we'd checked in online the previous night. Might we be able to squeeze onto the earlier flight, leaving in just two hours, perhaps? Probably not, for it was overbooked already.

We sat and waited, grumbled and muttered to one another. Mark returned to speak to the supervisor to make one more plea if someone didn't turn up, could we have their seats? A grudging agreement was given - there were three people remaining who hadn't arrived yet.

As we sat there, one woman came up to the desk. There was one gone. But amazingly, by the 2.15pm deadline, no-one else had arrived, so we hot footed it over, smiled sweetly (through gritted teeth) and were grudgingly given boarding passes!

As we flew over Switzerland, we had a fine view of the Alps. So clear, we could pick out favourite places. We even flew directly over Mark's hero's birthplace - Lachen. We had a very entertaining pair of chaps as cabin crew and were delighted at the prospect of arriving home a little earlier, since I had teaching commitments on Monday.

But then things began to happen. People came to the front of the plane to use the loo, but then turned around and went back after having spoken to the steward. The loos were out of action. Looked like someone had forgotten to empty the tank at Athens and the Captain was unwilling to fly on to Heathrow with no functioning loo, since the weather was bad and it looked like we'd be stacked for an hour or more. Typical, we thought - why hadn't we stuck with our original flight?!

So, we had an unexpected diversion into Geneva, where the tanks were emptied, everyone on board seemingly did their best to fill them again (!) and off we set once more in surprisingly jolly mood. Drinks all round again - oh heck, get the G&T now, never mind the good intentions ("Oh good girl!" said the steward, "It's Happy Hour so have two!")

We arrived at Terminal 5 about two hours earlier than we would have done on our original flight. Guess whose luggage was first off the plane?

What a great baggage system they've got there!!

Note about the photographs: throughout our holiday, I've discarded very few "duds", even though many have been taken through bus windows and been snapped quickly in passing. The photos in todays post are typical of those taken today and believe it or not, are unedited!!



  • Have been following your travels from our base in Australia - having a great time with grandchildren. We lived in Athens for a time in 1975, doesn't look as if the efficiency at the airport has changed much. Glad you had such a great trip.
    Sue N

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:25 am  

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