Athens O’clock–We arrive!

Our plane for Greece right before boarding

We arrived in Athens after as seamless a journey as possible. It’s a long way from Eureka, and we were glad to have made the hop from the Arcata-Eureka airport to San Francisco on the day before our flight. Our long leg went from San Francisco to Frankfurt, Germany, when I stopped looking at the time, as it didn’t seem to mean much. After whizzing through passport control in Frankfurt, we waited for about an hour and then boarded for Athens. Upon arrival, we collected our bags and walked through an unmanned Customs post. Welcome to Athens. Despite the smooth trip, it still took about 20 hours, from 2:40 pm in San Francisco to 4:30 pm the next day in Athens!

There is a taxi stand at the Eletherio Venizelos Airport, and we made our first minor error there. Always confirm the price before you put the first suitcase in the car! We were very tired, and happy to be on the last leg of our voyage, so we loaded up and got in and then pestered the driver about price. It’s a flat rate, and we’d already been advised not to chip in for tolls or suitcases or anything extra. Still, we paid 45 E rather than the 40 E we heard was the going rate. When I asked “When did the rate go up?” our driver chuckled. Still, we were in a cab on our way to our Airbnb, and it was worth almost anything to be done traveling. We counted ourselves lucky.

One of the difficult points of traveling from the US to Europe is getting communications set up at arrival. There is a moment when your new phone chip hasn’t been activated (or purchased!). If you use your US phone, the international plan has to appear on your phone and function. We decided to get Jonathan a data plan through our US provider, US Mobile, so we’d have a US number this month. I am getting a Greek SIM card, but I don’t have it yet. Arriving at our Airbnb, we had a familiar problem. We’d agreed to contact our host with WhatsApp, but Jonathan’s data plan didn’t seem to work yet. There we were on the doorstep of our building, with instructions to ring the 6th floor apartment, but there were four buzzers. Just as we were about to begin ringing all our neighbors in search of our host, the buzzer woke up and a voice said, “Hello?” It was our host, wondering whether we were arriving.

We rode the tiny elevator to the 6th floor. We got the grand tour, instructions on heat & AC, stove & oven, keys & doors, trash disposal, and shopping. We can always text our host questions now that we are logged in to the apartment’s wifi. All is well. We sat to decompress while I drank tea. We nibbled a few things and went to bed.

I woke up feeling much better, ready to take a shower, make coffee, and get the new day going. As I began to throw off the covers, Jonathan murmured, “You’re not getting up, are you? It’s 11 o’clock.” I’d only been asleep for two hours. I was startled, but after pondering the flexibility of time for a minute, I turned over and went back to sleep.

The next day, we set out to equip our new home with food before we fell asleep from jet lag. I began to notice our interesting decor from our host’s travels in Afghanistan, Iran, and North Africa. It is wonderful to have such lovely lamps and rugs and furniture around us. When you get a good Airbnb like this one, you get to experience a different environment–we’re borrowing this exotic setting for a while, and enjoying it very much.


Published by winifredcreamer

I am a retired archaeologist and I like to travel, especially to places where you can walk along the shore or watch birds. My husband Jonathan and I travel for more than half the year every year, seeing all the places that we haven't gotten to yet.

2 thoughts on “Athens O’clock–We arrive!

  1. Glad you made it without any problems. I have an inlaid wooden box like the one in your photo bottom right: from Syria.


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