This Time Last Year – Part 3: Going to Greece

Part of a series of posts that cover my travel to Greece and the USA in April/May 2016.

23 April 2016 – Flight A3600 Heathrow to Athens 

I don’t know why the AirNZ Premium Economy checkin chick in Auckland wouldn’t tag my bags all the way through to Athens. They were checked all the way in 2013 – but that was with Cathay. I would have like to have stayed in transit at Heathrow instead I pick up my bags from the carousel, go through UK customs, look for somewhere to have a shower – can’t find anywhere, pack most of my NZ2 cabin bag junk into my suitcase, replace my soft cabin bag with a day pack, and lose my jacket. 

I go back to the bathroom. Perhaps the cleaning lady has seen it. “Yes, it is in the bin.” Being scented with coffee dregs is better than no jacket at all. Anyway the weather is warming up. Maybe I won’t need it.

I check my bag with Aegean and after doing security wait in the nearest gate lounge. Gates are not posted until about an hour before the flight. Well what do you know, the gate lounge I’m waiting in is the one for my flight. It’s a good omen.

It’s a late arrival into Athens airport. It’s the night after the full moon and the big ball of yellow-white is rising as we land.

I need Euros. I need coffee. I need a bus ticket for the X96 (Airport to Piraeus bus) that goes past my hotel on the coastal highway at Alimos. It’s after midnight when I arrive.  I’m exhausted.

A surprise is waiting for me. A gift bag of treats from Marion Spiggos and Sissy Tzelepidous of Grapefool. I’m meeting Sissy on Anzac Day to talk about Greek wine and some winery visits.

The hotel supplies ear plugs because the highway is so noisy. I sleep effortlessly. I think it is the relief and excitement of being back in Greece. I am not worried that I am on my own and I’m so looking forward to the days ahead. The first few days are to pay homage to my Dad, 18Bn 2NZEF, who was here exactly 75 years before in the failed Battle of Greece in the Second World War. Then I will be foremost a wine tourist with some other extraordinary off-the-beaten-tourist-track diversions thrown in.

The X96 bus route from the airport to the Marina Alimos Apartments Hotel


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