Thursday, June 11, 2015

Day 15: Goodbye Greece

Nothing is worse than having to say goodbye to a place that has ensconced itself in your heart. Every morning I had awakened in Greece was gleaming sunshine and a playful breeze, except this morning.

Usually the island was alive with the birdsong and the rapture of the trees in the wind. The surf would be roaring and the place just seemed very alive. But this morning I felt that there was something wrong with my ears because there was absolutely no sound. I looked out the window and noticed that the sky was cloudy and the water, which was normally a deep blue was a pale silver. And there was no surf, because there was no wind whatsoever. The island seemed like it was at a standstill.

I was worried that it would be a storm coming. But it wasn't. I think maybe it was mirroring my sorrow in leaving the peaceful place. 

There was only two times when the ferry came, in the morning at 10:45a and at 6p. So I thought I would have plenty of time to make my 3:45p flight if I took the 10:45a ferry since it was only a 90min ride when I came.

Instead the ferry stopped at another harbor adding another 30minutes to the trip. But I was happy that I was able to disembark the boat and make a quick  trip to the Piraeus train station. 

Then I had made arrangements to meet with a Twitter friend I had first "met" over 5yrs ago. So to see her for the first time was very important to me. 

I stressed because the ferry docked at 12:35pm and I knew that the train ride takes at least one hour. But I got on the train, hopeful. I made my transfer at Monastiraki station to get to the airport line. 

But 5 stops before the airport, the Greek transit system "terminated" not one, not two, but four trains before they finally brought a train that would take the growing crowd of people to the airport. The trains just stopped, the lights went out and everyone was to leave. I'd seen that happen in London as well, I'm assuming it happens in Chicago, but the timing tore at me.

My friend and I were losing time to chat! I finally got to the airport at 2:30pm and when I checked in, my 3:25pm flight would board at 2:45p! 

But I spotted my friend and we had some coffee. I finally had some Greek coffee and it was exactly how I thought it would be. It's strong and rich but it wasn't burnt as say a Starbucks expresso shot is.

Before long it was 3pm and I had to run. And I literally ran. Then at the security line, the entire line was held up because of an old lady and her many medications. But they couldn't bring her off to the side so the rest of us could go? No.

Then the man before me got stopped because he had bought alcohol and had to prove that he was going out of the country so he had to look for his ticket.

Finally, after 15mins of staring at my watch and now it was 3:15pm, I finally said "sir, I have a flight."

The main guard gave me a glance, then my iPad came through in it's pretty little case and he checked that, then dragged my bags through and let me go.

I ran down the terminal, mind you, I have a 50L backpack on my back and a smaller one strapped to my front. I looked like a crazy ninja turtle with my black backpacks sandwiching me. 

I saw my gate and I saw them standing to board and I screeched to a halt at the end of the line. Then it looked like no one was moving. Ok, there was no announcement so I stepped out of the line and grabbed some water. It was a large .75L bottle but only €0.50! 

It would be another 45mins before we finally started boarding. Then where the line splits to let two gate agents take boarding passes, the man in front of me with the baby girl, lost her boarding pass. So now I was stuck behind their luggage and their baby stroller. Patiently I stood and gasped in exasperation when some random man just walked up, passed me and boarded. I guess that's just normal. And I thought I was impatient! I did appreciate the weather forecast for our destination. 

The flight was uneventful, I like how even though it was only a 2hour flight, Aegean Airlines fed us a hot meal, it's tiny and not really very good pasta but it was free and they handed out alcohol for free, beer and wine was free! SAS made me pay for my coke zero because only tea and coffee was free!

Then when we finally landed, there was more delays and the pilot came on the PA explaining that due to the fire at the airport, they needed buses to get passengers and the buses have finally arrived. Our plane was an A320 and they were going to fit all of us on two buses. 

Sadly, I had to stand next to a tall man who's deodorant had given up a while ago. The signs were easy at the Rome airport to get to the trains. I took the Leonardo Express for €14. It was fast, non-stop travel direct to Roma Termini. I had just missed one train, but the trains don't leave until a new train is available but you had to watch for the signs because there were three other platforms that went somewhere else.

Roma Termini was very confusing and signs warn you not to talk to anyone except unless they are an official of the train station. But following the signs, I found the correct line and oddly walked up the right exit too!

The trains were packed and again I had to stand next to a tall young man, who luckily had working deodorant.

Walking through the streets of Rome was like running an obstacle course. There were people, priests, cars, mopeds, buses and a variety of stalls of clothing and costume jewelry all hawking their products. But then again, as the street was lined with brand name status stores, it made sense to offer the cheap stuff too!

My dinner consisted of crema gelato and I was satisfied! We'll see about breakfast tomorrow!


  1. My friend i have been posting but im not sure if im doing it right???

  2. I think i figured it out. I hope your taking care of yourself and i hope your feeling better. I think you should buy a selfie stick it would be nice to see you in some of the pics. Be safe and talk to you soon my friend.

  3. I have a selfie stick but I don't want to ruin the ambience of all the beauty I see by sticking my sweaty face into the shots! See? I knew you had it in you to be a digital expert!