Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Greece--Day 11

First departure wave (Photo J. Callahan)
On our final morning, we left our penthouse. We said goodbye to Amanda and family at 6am. They were traveling from Athens, to London/Heathrow to Vancouver/Canada and then to Portland. They made all of their connections and had enough of a layover in Heathrow for James to taste a pint. They arrived at the Portland airport at 7:30pm.

We said goodbye to Nicole, Miss A and Nicole's partner at 9am. This goodbye is always hard especially now that Miss A is in the picture. We have plans to see one another at Thanksgiving. I was thinking about traveling at Christmas; or waiting until March for a visit. Now, I'll wait until after knee surgery.

Nicole and family left about noon. When they arrived at the airport, she received a message that her flight was delayed about an hour and a half. Miss A was busy during the delay; but, she slept most of the three hour flight to London. They arrived home about 6:30 and just in time to accept their grocery delivery!

Our taxi ride to the airport took about an hour. We checked ourselves and our bags in. Going through security was

A sample of some of the savory lounge food
uneventful. Then, because we have access to the lounge, we enjoyed one last snack in Greece before boarding our plane to Newark, New Jersey. The flight was about a half hour late leaving. It was a long flight and we were thankful we had booked extra leg room. We were seated at an exit so it was easy for us to get up every hour or so to stretch.

I slept parts of four hours on the ten hour flight. When we landed in Newark, we had a couple of hours. Unfortunately, it took about an hour for our bags to arrive. The line going through customs was so long; but, thanks to Nicole in addition to the lounge access, I also have gold status. Gold status means that I can go to a "special" line to by pass an extra long wait. Thankfully, we were able to recheck our bags on the way to catch the shuttle to a different concourse.

At the concourse, going back through security was crazy. It is set up so that you don't have space to strip off your shoes, take out your electrical devices, etc. Electrical devices can't touch one another and you can't have other items in the tub. What ends up happening is that someone else's items come between your items. Added to that, the security person questioned my cross body bag. I wasn't able to proceed

A sampling of the sweets

through the body scan until after my purse had been scanned.

Bob of course was through, redressed and waiting for me when I finally made it through the screening process. If there is a way to avoid Newark, I would if the future. While custodial, wheel chair transportation staff were friendly and helpful, the TSA staff were crabby and demanding. Perhaps, they were still recovering from the influx of Fourth of July travelers.

We thought that the flight to Portland would be boarding by the time we arrived at the gate; but, it was delayed. It seemed like a lot of flights were delayed that day so there were long lines of people waiting outside many gates. After seeing the amount of people on a "normal" day, I can't imagine what it must be like when there are serious weather delays.

We did board our plane and we left about 45 minutes late. The woman who sat next to us didn't speak English. Her daughter who was about 13 rows behind us came several times to check on her. I tried to help her with the audio equipment so she would have some inflight entertainment.

Greek coffee top, Starbucks coffee bottom

While I tried to stay awake on this leg of the journey, I did catch myself dozing a couple of times.

On this five hour and 20 minute flight, we could purchase food. We didn't. We took the savory snack and the two drinks that were offered to us. I think a flight that long should include a meal. When we flew from Denver to Newark on the way to Athens, we were served a meal. 

The flight was uneventful. The audio with the earbuds from the airlines wasn't good enough for me to decipher the dialog in a movie. I read instead. I started "A Long Walk to Freedom" an autobiography of Nelson Mandela. It's about 700 pages long and I still haven't finished it!

We landed about half an hour late; but, our bags arrived quickly. For once the priority bags, arrived first! There seemed to be a lot of people leaving the airport so traffic was extra heavy. Friend and neighbor Rod, arrived to pick us up. Home we went. We arrived about 11pm. 

It was a long day; but, to unwind, we unpacked. It was a great trip. We concurred that a full day of travel is hard on one's body!

The following day, I made a comparison of the Greek coffee that we had purchased on our trip with what we drink at home. The color of the coffee was different; but, both tasted great! This is my last post about our trip. It was fun to re live our activities. I wonder where we will travel in four years. . .it could be a destination within the continental United States. . . .or not! It will be interesting to read where people want to go!

1 comment:

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

That does sound like a long travel day, but mostly a smooth one, Terry. It's hard to have a trip be over after the months of anticipation and planning. I've enjoyed reading about your trip!