Wednesday 24 July 2013

Greece: Day Seventeen - Travel, Travel, Travel

We had to be up 4:15 am in order to get to the Chios airport for our 6:30 am flight back to Athens. It wasn't fun...

(Early morning photo of Nick and Pam)

(The airport in Chios - so tiny and cute!) 

Brian's and my suitcases was overweight so we needed to pay 15€ which wasn't bad, especially considering we would have to pay $150.00 EACH in charges from Athens to Philly for the same overlimitness. Needless to say we were one of those airport repackers once we got to Athens... The ones everyone inwardly laughs at when they walk by. 

Nicks family showed up at the airport despite the early hour to say by and wave us off. As we walked to the plane we could see a large group waving to us much like they were when we first arrived. I really loved Chios, and would return in a heartbeat.  The flight to Athens wasn't bad.... Actually to be honest it was probably one of the smoothest flights we had. But I still hate flying. Thankfully it was quick. 

(Photo: picture from the plane - we don't know what island this is, but it's cool!)

Once we got to the airport in Athens, Brian and I spent time repacking. I had a fold up bag we used as a second carry on for Brian and I pulled out my beach bag as my second. We filled all of these to the brim with the heaviest items and successfully did it! No insane $300 charge for us! Though we did look ridiculous loaded down with bags - one of which was pink, see-through mesh. I need to work on my packing.... It's a long-term goal I have. 

Security was intense - we had to show our passports a number of times and were asked a ton of questions in the ticket line, at customs and at security. I don't know if this was due to flying into the US on July 4th or due to Greece economic issues but it was surprising. 

I have one huge issue with the Athens airport - the design is AWFUL for international tourists. Many airports have security and then duty-free/stores afterward. This one has them all beforehand. So all the souvenirs of liquor and olive oil I planned to get were impossible. I specifically waited until here because on the way to Chios I saw some awesome sets. There were limited food places, so we just ended up getting sandwiches - they only had 1 without butter or mayo so I was choiceless but we needed to eat something, considering we hadnt had time for anything and how awful US Airways food is. 

Once we crossed security we weren't allowed to our gate until just before boarding, and then we had to show passports and tickets again. There was only a little place to get water and juice, nothing else here which was really annoying considering its an international terminal. Dear Athens airport, you really need to make changes. Initially I thought you were the best European airport I've been in... You are now the worse after that experience. 

We boarded the plane and began the 10+ hour flight back to Philly. It was brutal. I downloaded a few episodes of various TV shows but that only occurpied me for 5 hours. I tried to sleep but it was hard, and I was just so uncomfortable. Also, we had the worst service I've ever encountered. I likely won't travel on US airways again if I can help it. The staff were just awful... Very rude, unhelpful and making it seem like anything you asked for was a inconvenience. When Brian went back to use the washroom he heard them talking about a lawsuit a bunch if them have against the airline. Yah, cause that's who you should have serving your passengers... People that unhappy with the company they are suing. 

(Photo: you can tell how much I am enjoying this flight ;)

I was ready to be off the plane about 3 hours in, so the whole thing was a long and uncomfortable. It was also a bit turbulent which wasn't fun. But we landed in Philly after what seemed like an eternity! 

Brian and I breezed through customs - thankfully - and the airport was packed! Line ups for everything, so we were lucky. Out of the group we were the first done and though. Brian even had a chance for a cigarette before everyone else came through. Everyone else - except Judy - was heading back to MD on a bus, so we said our goodbyes at the airport. 

Brian and I got a shuttle and headed to the Holiday Inn where we were spending the night. What awesome staff that hotel has... I was really Impressed! At this point Brian was starting to feel awful - he hadn't been feeling well for the entire day but he got worse as it progressed. When we got to the hotel he went right to lay down. With it being the 4th everything nearby was closed, so I found a pizza/sub place that had soup and ginger ale (for Brian) and ordered us dinner. He woke up to eat, and then the both of us slept - we woke around 10pm and watched the DC fireworks on TV, then went back to sleep. It was an insanely long day and we were both glad for the sleep. 

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