Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Travels - Part 1A
More Sea Photos and
The Athens Airport Tale

Rocky Coast from Shore Level

I'll soon run out of photos of the seas surrounding Crete, but if you can bear with me through two more (can you tell that I loved looking at the sea?),  I'll tell you the story of the delay at the Athens Airport that I mentioned yesterday.

Shoreline from a Higher Elevation

Shoreline From An Even Higher Elevation

The Delay at Athens

Although I wrote in my last post that I didn't keep a journal of this trip, that's only partly true.  In digging through some other boxes this afternoon, I discovered that I had made some notes on a lined yellow pad, at least for the first few days.  They were in an envelope with the postcards I bought.  With all the activities I became involved in, I soon had neither time nor energy to keep writing.  Shame on me; I wish I had taken the time to make even a few entries.

I'm going to start this tale with our arrival from the U.S. at the Frankfurt, Germany, air terminal. Looking back at it, things started going downhill from that point.

From my notes:

"Frankfurt airport is a mess.  Huge, and strung out everywhere. We were about fifteen minutes late arriving,  had to take a bus to a different terminal and stand in line for an X-ray check of our luggage. Then we were directed to the wrong gate -- that plane was going to Vienna. We hauled ourselves back up the stairs to the correct gate, went through the luggage X-ray again and through Security for passport check.  All OK  there. We boarded a bus at that gate and were ferried across the huge taxi/runway and hanger area to our plane.  Got all settled in, on time.  We were due to leave at 1:00 p.m. Frankfurt time. Then, the captain shut down the engines and we sat until 1:45, waiting for two other planes' passengers to arrive and board.  Must have been some V.I.P.'s.

The flight to Athens was uneventful, but we were put in a holding pattern for over 15 minutes before we could land -- in the rain.  We were met by another bus and taken to the terminal building, where we went through Immigration Control (with some hassle), then waited and waited and waited for the luggage to come up.  When it arrived 30 minutes later, we had to go through Customs.  No problems.

[Note: On the flight from Frankfurt to Athens, I was seated next to a young woman, "G," who was a nurse at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.  She was vacationing in Crete for a week, and we mutually agreed that we would stay together until we got there.]

"G" and I got through Customs and went outside to get a taxi to take us to the Olympic Airlines terminal, some miles away.  There was a seemingly interminable line of people waiting for taxis, and we had only about 30 minutes at that point to catch our 7:15 p.m. flight to Heraklion, Crete.  "G" conned a couple at the front of the line into letting us have the next taxi and off we went all the way across Athens -- at breakneck speed -- only to find, when we arrived at the Olympic Airlines ticket counter that...

...we would not be allowed to board!

To be continued. Tomorrow is also a day.


rhymeswithplague said...

I hate cliffhangers! (No, I really love them...)

Marvin said...

I'm loving your photos of the sea and Crete coastline, so we know you got to your destination -- eventually.

Jinksy said...

Now I know why I'm an inveterate armchair traveller! LOL

George said...

You're reminding me of why I dislike airline travel. But your pictures of the sea make up for that, so I'll be back for the next installment.

Arkansas Patti said...

I guess airline travel has never been easy. Here I thought that was a recent thing.
Cliffhanger huh ??? Ok, I'll be back.

Teacher's Pet said...

I'm arriving late....and in the wrong order (I read the "delay at Athens" before I read this one...)
....but I must say you can write, my friend.
And thank goodness for "G"....and I'm sure she feels the same way about you.
Beautiful photos....simply stunning!!!