Sunday, April 20, 2014

Greece here we come ...

As is normal with holidays ... they start with a very long days travelling which in this case was 22 hours of airports, airplanes and taxis but at last we made it to our new home for the next few days.

We flew out on Lufthansa which, I must say, turned out to be a pretty good airline.  The meals were good and the seats were about as comfortable as one can expect crammed into cattle class.  We flew on an A380 so maybe that had something to do with the comfortable seats.  According to Kirsten I slept like a rock, according to me I tossed and turned all night but I did at least get some sleep unlike Caron, Carl, Kirsten, Alistair and Megan who all claim complete sleep deprivation.

Arriving at Frankfort airport the way that they have arranged the airport is that you have to walk through duty free and while Alistair and Megan were trying to convince Kirsten to buy the biggest bottle of Nutella that we've ever seen; it must have been at least 10kg, Carl and I were eyeing out some Balvenie tripple-cask across the aisle.  We left with the Balvenie, sorry kids!

For the trip from the airport to our apartment we decided to use a taxi because trying to drag our luggage all over the place on and off public transport and actually finding the apartment was too much for us.  A few surprises happened on the taxi, firstly they had no idea where the apartment was even though we had the address written down.  Secondly, the taxi drivers were just talking and discussing where it might be but it sounded like they were having an argument, it seems greek lends itself to having arguments.  Lastly, taking the taxi was cheaper than using public transport ... who would have thought.

 It turns out our apartment is on the 7th floor and has a great view out over Athens and a small park in the front of the building.  My new 10mm lens captures the interior quite nicely below; I think I am going to be very happy with my new acquisition.  We think that this is actually their home and they have just moved out for the duration of our stay because this doesn't have a 'holiday home' feel to it and there are clothes in the cupboards and the pots are far too upmarket for a holiday home.

 Once we had settled in it was time to go and get some food from the Eurospar down the road.  Buying food in strange countries is always a little like pot luck, sometimes you get what you were wanting and sometimes not so much.  We left with a trolley full of food which, the two experts with us reckon would have been about R1500.00 at home and it was EUR132.00 here so maybe a little more expensive but not a whole lot.

We finished the day having a cigar and whisky or wine on the balcony as the sun set over Athens which, by the way, sets very late.  The temperature here is absolutely perfect for me as it is slightly chilly so one needs a jacket outside but the sun itself is warm without that burning feeling I get at home.

The first striking thing about Athens turned out to be the toilets into which 'thou shalt not' throw toilet paper.  Toilet paper, the used variety and not the rolled up variety, go into the bin next to the toilet because the sewerage system here being somewhat old doesn't cope with toilet paper very well.  I think this is going to be good for Megan given her upcoming sojourn to India where she is going to have to learn some more devilish toilet habits.  Alistair resolved to solve the toilet conundrum at this point by using immodium for the duration of our stay ... we'll see how long that lasts.  Nothing like a new country to broaden ones' horizons ...

The last bit of fun for the day before we all crashed was supper which was a pasta dish like macaroni in size but long like spaghetti.  It is completely unmanageable, a bit like trying to deal with snakes in a plate and you can't even slurp them in because they have a hole in the middle so you just end up inhaling air.

So that is it ... day 1.

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