Hello, Greece. I’m back!
I had a civilised start today: Got up at the usual time of 07:15 and had my breakfast, then got in the car. But instead of driving to work, I drove to Heathrow. It was a clear run, with just a little bit of slow traffic on the A419 approaching the M4. Arrived at Heathrow 10 minutes ahead of schedule.
For the first time, I flew using a Greek airline: The Greek flag carrier Aegean Air. On the face of it, it looked more expensive than flying on my usual airlines – but when you consider that baggage and meals are extra on budget airlines, it actually worked out a cheaper overall.
I was really rather impressed with Aegean: A complimentary sweet before take-off, a complimentary drink once airbourne, a hot meal (Greek style) with another drink, and the offer of complimentary tea/coffee just before landing. Plus, I was speaking Greek from the moment I boarded the plane at Heathrow, so by the time I landed in Athens just over 3 hours later, I was really rather tuned in to the language already.
Out of Season
The fact that it is late in October doesn’t stop me from coming to Greece: I know the country well enough not to need tour guides so I can pretty much come any time I like now.
This is in fact the first time I have been to Greece ‘out of season’. It is that time of year when the nights are drawing in, temperatures are dropping and the tourists are leaving. On some of the smaller islands, they’ve pretty much been closed down for the Winter period since September 1st arrived.
Athens is still very much alive, but with one distinct difference: Despite it being nearly 20°, on the train from the Airport in to the City Centre this evening, people were wearing coats, jackets, fleeces and jeans. I’ve never seen these clothes in Greece before. Where have the t-shirts and shorts of just a couple of months ago gone? I might as well have gone to Germany…. 😛
My overnight stop tonight is in Athens at the Apollo Hotel in Metaxourgeio. I checked-in to my room and after getting settled in to my room I made my way up to the rooftop bar: still open daily, until the end of the month. I had a drink and souvlaki dinner with a nighttime view of the Acropolis.
Tomorrow I will continue my journey to Halkida, the capital of the island of Evia. The railway station is just a short distance away from here and from there I can get a direct train there.
I’m going to head to bed now (it is after 11pm here and I’ve travelled hundreds of miles today); then tomorrow I will get up at some point, have breakfast and get on the train.