Our short stay in Athens is over, and we’re off to Crete.
A travel day makes for a blog post about nothing, but if Seinfeld can produce a show about nothing for 10 years, surely I can do it for one measly post. Right?
We got up and at ‘em to enjoy yet another stroll on the promenade below the Acropolis, get a few more photos of the Areopagos and the mosaic pathway to the Bombadier Church, and buy stamps and send a couple of postcards. Then we lugged our bags to the Metro, through two airports, and to the rental-car office on Crete. Actually, we all have one checked bag, small enough to carry on when needed, and one personal bag. That’s it. The lugging is pretty easy.
The traveling was easy, too; the checking in, passing through security, waiting, boarding, deplaning, and retrieving luggage all went smoothly. The only hiccup was a trio of large, loud, perhaps Russian men (I stink at identifying accents) who happened to have seats right behind us. They made the flight significantly less fun by pushing and pulling on our seats, using their electronic devices while we were landing despite being asked not to do so, and bolting out to the aisle as soon as we touched down, thinking they could somehow be the first ones off, despite being toward the back of the plane. Eventually, they resumed sitting, which required yet another round of pushing and pulling on our seats. Oh, and they needed help finding their seats to begin with; it was as though they’d never flown before, and perhaps they hadn’t. Even so, what’s up with not being aware of your surroundings and your impact on the humans around you? It was like sitting in front of four year olds but far less forgivable.
Getting our car and getting on the road was a snap. Things only got tricky when we got in the vicinity of our apartment. At that point, the GPS panicked and Mike was never able to calm it down or persuade it to cooperate. We had an address, but it meant nothing to the GPS, and of course the roads were not signed. (Hey, Greece, what’s up with that? You’ve had over 4,000 years of civilization here!) And we never did get a Greece SIM card for our phone. Ahem. Yeah, that one’s on us. (For the record, we have one now and haven’t used the ding-dong phone once. Theresa, I’m looking at you!)
We summoned our traveler superpowers: Barb, behind the wheel, kept us safe while making last-minute turns when the GPS up and changed its mind, or when backing up to try a road we’d passed. Mike racked his brain and shared all the info he’d gathered in communications with the home owner and in studying maps beforehand. Somehow, he had a sense of where the building should be—a skill like magic that boggles my mind—and he’s the GPS wrangler and tamer, putting that zoology degree to good use, after all. I glommed onto his comment that the building was white with blue trim, and I craned to search each street we passed, noting other landmarks, as well.
On only the third or fourth pass through the neighborhood, I spied a tiny glimpse of a white and blue building two blocks over. Given that those are traditional house colors here in Greece, it’s surprising there weren’t many more such buildings, but it was the only one. I even noted and remembered how to get back to it based on a peculiar jog in a road.
One more lap and, bing-bang-boom, we were home. The home owner was waiting and came out to greet us.
Following the apartment owner’s directions to non-tourist grocery stores, we walked a few blocks to gather dinner supplies. These roads are not really made for walking, but we managed, single file, keeping alert. We visited two stores across the street from each other. In Athens, both products and signs offered English alternatives. Here, not so much. It was all Greek. I love that! We had to sound out words to see if we recognized them, and when we didn’t, we had to guess. That’s adventure shopping!
All right, Crete, let’s see what you’ve got.
Barb: Olympic Airlines’ stewardess’s outfits. The word “stewardess” is deliberate; these looked like 1950s or 60s uniforms, with a lovely, elegant hat. All the women wore their hair pulled back in a low bun to accommodate the hat. We wondered if some of the buns were, in fact, fake. Did all those women really have long, bun-able hair?
Mike: Finding the apartment in the warren of houses.
Jen: Grocery shopping in a non-touristy Greek grocery, with little English on products or signs.