Day 1 - from the edge of the western world to the cradle of western civilization30 Jun 2015 |
Location: Aegean Hotel - Sounion.
As I sit in this deck chair under a canvas awning, with the the Aegean sea in front of of me, the Temple to Poseidon above me, and a warm breeze cooling me, it all seems well worth it. 24 hours ago, however, we were all less sure.
We flew out of Victoria around 11 and had an uneventful flight to Toronto. There we were informed that our connection to Munich was an hour delayed. This was a problem: our layover in Munich was only about 75 minutes long. The whole Toronto airport seemed off its game. Downed computers, changing gates, absentee airport staff, flyers with unassigned seats… The plane finally left about two hours behind schedule. Once aboard, David and Triumph managed to sleep a wee bit, but the coughing kid prevented Athena and Kristine from doing so.
As anticipated, we arrived in Munich just as our flight to Athens was leaving without us. The airline put us on the next available flight, but it was a three and a half hours later. David took the opportunity to have a stein of German beer. None of us have ever been to Germany before; it looks lovely from the sky and the airport was profoundly clean and orderly. We even saw someone dusting the raised Lufthansa logo on the wall behind the book-in counter.
Once we got to Athens, the fun really started (insert ironic tone here). The car rental company have given away our mid-sized sedan “because we had not called to tell them we would be late.” They tried to give us a Fiat instead, but we could only fit three of our four intentionally not-huge suitcases, let alone the carry-on items. After kicking up a stink, we were offered a slightly larger car. Same problem. And then we were told the company had no bigger cars. None. We had to cancel our booking and throw ourselves at the mercy of the competition. This all took many long lines, many treks back and forth between airport and car park, and much paperwork. We landed at 6 pm; we finally drove away from the airport at 9:30! By this time it was dark, we had 1/8 tank of gas, we had been travelling for almost 24 hours, and we had to find Sounion (45 minutes away on windy country roads). I’m so grateful the kids are grown; they were amazingly patient about all the muddles.
Never before has any hotel (see link above) seemed so much like an oasis. We changed our clothes and hurried to catch the last kitchen call at the restaurant. It was 11 pm. We sat on the terrace and ate under the lit- up temple. The food was fantastic, the waiter was charming, the air off the sea was heavenly. Then we fell into bed grateful to see the end of this first part of our journey.