Thursday 20 June 2013

Greece: Day Two - Philly to Athens

Today was another insanely long day of travel. We tried to sleep in a bit, but were up and ready to meet Chris at 11:00am in order to venture out for Cheesesteaks at Chris and Brian's insistence that we must have authentic philly cheesesteaks. This  led to some discussion as to where to go. There are two so-called "Famous" places: Gino's and Pats. They are right across the street from each other in downtown Philly and very well known. When we inquired at the front desk of the hotel it lead to some debate and 2 more places were suggested. Most everyone we asked agreed the other two were more commercialized as tourist traps rather then still making a good cheesesteak. It was suggested we go to a small place nearby - and the hotel offered to shuttle us there. It was called Anthony's, and they did pizza and subs. So we went, hoping for the best. We weren't disappointed. It was a busy place, but we ordered our food and got a table outside. The cheesesteak was tasty... But huge. Not something I would make a habit of ordering, but worth the experience. 

We picked up our bags at the hotel and the same shuttle woman - Pamela - took us over to the airport. The hotel wasn't the greatest - many of the stuff seemed bored, there was construction all over the place which was incredibly loud and our whole negative dinner experience. But the rooms were nice, and Pamela was awesome. She really took care and went above and beyond for our group. I will definitely be letting the hotel know how great she was. 

When we got to the airport it was early so we checked in and opted to meet the group at the gate. I hung back just inside security for a bit to call my mom and nanny an just take some quiet time before the chaos. 

Chaos followed soon after with the rest of the group getting there. Our group consists of 24 of us - definitely chaos! 

We all hung our catching up at the gate - the little kids were running around, and the older ones getting the last minute Instagram photos/texts in. Oh to be 14 again! But it's great to see everyone - I haven't seen them since December, and I truly love my semi-new large family of nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters etc.

I had a airline panic attack just prior to boarding - but thankfully Brian and a phone call from mom helped. As much as I love to travel - especially to places far away - I hate the prospect of getting there. Flying is the only thing that I have any anxiety over - likely due to a bad flight experience when I was ten and returning from NYC. I also have a really bad migraine due to my sinus infection - so I think that didn't help matters. As of right now (in in-flight writing this) it seems to be ebbing off. 

Brian and I were able to board quickly and get settled in our seats. It's an older airplane - no TVs in the seats - which always annoys my dad. But we aren't too far back. Our group mostly takes up rows 14-18. 

Chris made group T-Shirts which are cute. We haven't worn them yet, but we are so going to be one of those families! I love it! 

Take off wasn't too bad, I put on my zebra print sleep mask, plane pillow and headphones and listening to my relaxing playlist for a bit. Dinner came - it was disgusting. Thankfully I was still full from lunch and grabbed a soft pretzel from a stand at the airport. Plus Brian went a little candy crazy. We could do our own candy crush saga game at the seat with how much snack food he brought on the plane. 

Our flight has had a bunch of turbulent sections, which is not fun. But the pilot is keeping us posted. I'm hoping to get some sleep, as tomorrow once we arrive in Athens we only have that day to see what we want. Right now out plan is to get to the hotel, take a small nap and then head out to see a few of the main sights. 

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