This trip is over. It ended when we got back to Heraklion. All we’re on now is a two day ride to the airport. We’re gliding in on residual energy. We’re running out of euros, clean clothes, and patience. We met an American on the train last night. He asked us how long we’d been here and I blurted out, “Oh man, for-fucking-EVER.” I can’t say Greece will be glad to see us go, we’ve been perfect guests, but she’ll probably be a little more at ease when the two weirdos who think pedestrians have the right of way are out of her hair. We’re back in Athens now. We flew back from Crete yesterday. I don’t have a lot of pictures from this day. It was mostly airports and trains and I’m tired of taking pictures of cats.
We left our Airbnb pretty early because we’d read some bad things about the Heraklion airport. The phrase “shit show” was used multiple times. A couple days ago, Joe had noticed this miraculous little cab stand at the end of our street, right by where we’d rented the scooters. He claimed they were advertising 11 euros to the airport with cabs just maaagically waiting there, nothing better to do than wait for us to show up. He was 100% right about all of it. Easiest leg of this entire trip. The cab dropped us off a little short of the airport because it was starting to get nuts by the gates. We hoofed it the rest of the way and strolled into departures a cool two and a half hours before takeoff.
We had booked tickets on Volotea Airlines. We think it’s a Spanish outfit. They do the thing all modern airlines do which is sell you a cheap seat but charge for everything else. Volotea has it down to an art form. They wanted to charge for priority boarding, charge for printing your boarding passes, charge for checked baggage with a warning about it costing 60 euro if you ended up checking at the airport. Charge for meals, charge to speak to a ticket agent. Then they had combo meals for all of it, seat and boarding for only 40 euro! Would you like to supersize that and add luggage? We had elected to go with no extras which meant that we were a little stressed out about having to check our luggage at the airport thus doubling the cost of the flight.
We got through security fine and found some seats. I got us two gyros from a place called It’s All Greek. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I have gone this entire blog without making an “it’s all Greek to me” joke. It has not been easy. Then along comes this food stand to fuck it up.
We read for a while. When Joe got up and went to the bathroom, he put his big pack on his seat and I watched it. Standard airport protocol. While he was gone some people came and sat down near his bag. It was taking up a chair so I think they were interested in why it was there.
“Pa-pa. Pa-pa!” the 20-something daughter jerked her head towards the mystery pack. “Bomba.”
She made an exploding motion with her hands. I laughed inside. With any luck, Joe would come back to a remote control robot taking a chainsaw to his luggage. He came back pretty quick though and gave his seat to the mom. He’s a good guy.
Finally it was time to line up to board. We got in early and tried to pretend like our bags weren’t that heavy or large. The biggest problem with this airport is it’s not very big. There’s not enough room for people to line up at the gate. Every gate line completely bisects the walking area so everyone gets a little annoyed at either having to shove their way through or having to let someone shove through. Joe and I were the gatekeepers for about ten minutes. It wasn’t great.
A lady started walking down our line checking bags. This was the moment of truth, one word from her and we were out 60 euro. I had my bag on the floor between my legs, compressing it with my calves. She gave the go-ahead to some people in front of us with, what I considered, an unreasonable amount of carry-on luggage. OK, I thought, if they’re through then we’re through. I also pulled up my boarding pass which had a helpful diagram of what was allowed on board. My bags looked almost exactly like the picture so I started preparing my legal defense.
“I understand that but look at this picture and look at what I’m carrying. Could you please indicate for the court where you see a difference?”
She got to us. Gave us a quick glance, and waved us forward. Whew. Step one accomplished, but we weren’t out of the woods yet. You guys know, it’s not over til it’s in the overhead. We weren’t even at the gate yet, we were still in line. We moved smoothly past the gate. We walked out onto the tarmac, we could see the plane! So close. Oh god, there are two tossers right by the staircase up to the plane door. The girl a few people in front of us got her bag taken! She was not happy and I don’t blame her. We got to the bottom of the staircase and the line stopped moving. I was right by the tossers. I kind of rudely cut this guy off just to put him between my bag and their eyes. It worked. The lines started moving again and I was safely on the plane with my bag in the compartment. Not today, Volotea.
We got into Athens and took the train to our Airbnb. Athens has some nice subways. Stations are super clean.
We checked into our Airbnb, a two bedroom on the fourth floor of a building in a cute neighborhood. One of the elevators is lacking an interior door so you can reach out and touch the floors as they pass by. It’s great.
We ate at a true fast food place called Goody’s Burger. It was right by our apartment so convenience is the excuse I’ll use, but I think that meal will go down as our one real mistake. Every other time we did something wrong, it led somewhere positive. This only led to darkness.
After that we slept. When we awoke it was night. Joe’s down time hadn’t been a complete waste, he’d located a darts bar somewhere northeast of us. We got dressed and headed out into the Athens moonlight.
We took the train to a stop I can’t pronounce and walked a couple blocks to De Facto, the darts bar. I tried to take a picture of the outside but I was walking pretty fast when I did it so it’s blurry. This place was great. Three boards in the back as well as a standard pool table and a carom table which has no pockets. There were a few dudes shooting darts on the boards. I asked them if it was league night and the one who spoke the best English told us it was not. His name was Christos. They let us shoot on the nice board.
We chatted with Christos a little bit about darts. He asked us if we were from Greece and told us we looked mediterranean. Definitely a compliment. On the bulletin board hung some dart postings.
I mean did you really think we were going to leave Greece without playing darts? Joe won both sets 4-3. I was not pleased. We may go back tonight so I’ll try to do a better job with the pictures. And the darts.
We went back to the karaoke bar but it was completely packed. Think Brass Monkey on a Saturday. A crowd like that it takes two hours to get up. We had one drink and left.
We stopped at a little roadside cafe across from a clothing store called VoidMode and ordered a greek salad and a mixed plate for two. We crushed the greek salad and definitely could have stopped there but the mixed plate had already left the station.
“Tomorrow we won’t over order.” Joe promised. Could have been the theme to the whole trip.
We packed up the rest of this monstrosity and Joe put it near some homeless people on the walk home. The train time and the walk time were both 23 minutes so we walked, at one point finding ourselves on a cross-hatched marble street. We got back to our Airbnb took the crazy elevator up to the fourth floor and fell asleep.
Today is our last day in Greece. I swear we won’t over order. Oh and just a warning, I will be wearing the exact same outfit today as I was yesterday because I don’t want to unpack anything.