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The Mermaid of Poros, Greece

Poros 2006, A week in June in Greece

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Day Eight : June 7th 2006 -
Taxis, Ferries, Buses and Planes :


  • Early Taxi to Poros.
  • Catamaran One to Piraeus.
  • X96 Bus to Athens Airport
  • A long wait - and a long walk.
  • Globespan Flight to Glasgow Airport.
  • Car home - and a sick grandson.
  • Home with memories.

X96 bus at Piraeus Docks Gate E8
X96 bus at Piraeus Docks Gate E8

From 2007 it stops opposite the Lanes Lines building.

Woken at 4:00 a.m. by Jenny unable to sleep as it was too dark. She put the light on and read herself to sleep, I dozed fitfully until 5:45 a.m. then went to the bathroom. Out to dress at 6:15, took milk for breakfast from the Studio fridge, then went down to the un-natural silence of the Dining Room. Zefi had left containers of everything except the yoghurt, my tea I made with my Lady Grey teabags but Jen had coffee. Back to the room to finish off what little packing was left, then to the hall in impatient fear, hoping that Zefi had ordered the taxi. It arrived bang on time and the driver whipped us along in under 7 minutes to the ferry landing not far from the Rota. The driver had a list of carefully-timed bookings, with ourselves amongst the earliest.

By comparison, the Flying Cat 1 was a few minutes late, but at least we were in the right seats, although a bit worried that our case was out at the back again, although the bag was in an airline-type hamper above the seat. A spacious cabin compared to a Flying Dolphin, the loos actually fairly comfortable and giving needed relief - after waiting for a number of other passengers. A fast run to Piraeus, exiting from the starboard side - ironically, not far from where 'George' had dropped us off the previous Wednesday.

Gate E8 was where we had left it and it was not long before the X96 came to the stand. I would advise other travellers to buy their tickets before getting on the bus, as I got a dirty look from the driver. The tickets cost 3.20 Euros each and had to be validated (franked) by an orange-yellow time-clock mounted in the middle of the bus, or the tickets would have been illegal. We found seats, then could do nothing but wait whilst the bus negotiated the permanent rush-hour traffic which is Athens. It was a long one and a half hour journey, broken by occasional stops to pick up and set down passengers, but we reached Eleftheris Venizolis Airport at about 10:45 and went into a huge check-in lounge.

Flying Cat 1 Ticket
Flying Cat 1 Ticket
Validated bus tickets
Validated bus tickets
Orange ticket validating box (centre)
Orange ticket validating box (centre)

Athens Airport - like other airports - assigns each check in desk according to the time of the flight to successive airlines. Check-In 14 - 16 was checking in passengers for a flight to Bucharest (Bucaresti) when we arrived. All we could do was to get a luggage trolley and find a place to sit and wait until 12:00 noon, Jenny and myself shared honey rolls made at the hotel, then she got a Coke whilst I had bottled water and tried - and failed - to eat some olives bought the previous day.

At last the Globespan symbol miraculously appeared and we found ourselves in a long concertina-queue for our flight, with a half-hour wait whilst staff resolved complications with others' overweight hand and cabin luggage. As usual, I worried, but we had our flight details and passports handy, we were far below our luggage allowance, the boarding passes and baggage chits were issued to us, and we headed for Gate 31. Along those same dozen-odd travelators and escalators that we had endured on arrival. Finally we reached Greek passport and hand-baggage check - much faster than in Glasgow Airport and very helpful - before we finally arrived in the departure lounge.

I have to honestly say that I have never seen so much stainless steel panelling in my life - I half expected to be going to Mars or at least to the Moon. The departure lounge snack bar served suitable Moon-food, so we splurged on Coke, Tea and the most massive chocolate croissant I had seen since Poros. Jen was less content with the Duty Free shop - the perfumes and spirits were at the kind of prices one expects in a Marks and Spencer or Lewis's pre-Christmas discount, so she came away empty-handed. By the way, Frances later told me that perfume is a good gift to give a hostess, as there are no or few perfume discounts in Greece.

Slightly to our surprise, we boarded the flight for Glasgow barely 15 minutes before the departure time of 14:00, but this time went straight to seats 10A and 10B (we'd been in 11A and 11B outbound) so yet again had a marvellous view of a wing and a jet engine. This time - to Jenny's dismay - I used some wax ear-plugs to cut down on the impact. It sounds a bit OTT, but I suffer from tinnitus and the outgoing flight had given me a dose that had taken till the Saga Hotel to subside. But we had made the flight, we were safe in the hands of Globespan and we were soon holding hands again as the plane was backed off from the terminal. A (slightly muted) joyous roar of power from our big red engine to the left, then we were up and away, for a long four hours wait to get to Glasgow.

The aircraft at Athens Airport
The aircraft at Athens Airport
A wonderful view !
A wonderful view !
The aircraft at Glasgow Airport
The aircraft at Glasgow Airport

I was interested to see that the flight was routed further south, so we saw the Flying Dolphins and Flying Cats arrowing for Piraeus and the Corinth Canal cutting across that isthmus. After that it was mostly land and cloud, so by Croatia (I think) we were back to the 'polar icecap' of dense cloud.

Once airborne, the Globespan flight was a Sterling area, so anything bought on the flight faced a crippling exchange rate. Fortunately I had planned for this, so we paid for our tea, etc. that way. The most hilarious thing was that Jenny had bought sealed packs of crisps at Athens airport (at sea level pressure) and they ballooned by the time we reached cruising height. The crisps opened OK and tasted OK, so all was well. Jen at Greek apricots from that friendly supermarket in Poros whilst high above (I think) Austria.

Monotony, alas, was the rule of that day. I wrote up most of this entry in the airline seat, as the 'Old Dog' was long finished, whilst Jen read her copy of 'Wicked' that I had bought for her at Glasgow Airport. At 15:00 I dutifully altered my watch back to 13:00, as we were returning to UK time. I noted that the cloud was white sheet cirrostratus and the sky above dark blue. With the .red engine cowling I suppose one could be patriotic, but the blue and white of Greece rather stuck in the mind.

Glasgow was rather easier to depart from than Athens had been, although the wait for our baggage seemed interminable. It was good to reach the landside part of the Airport and Jo again, although she had Ewan with her and the weather was hot. I am sad to say that Ewan vomited over himself, his seat and (partially) over me, near Beattock, after crying because of the heat. Not the return wished for, but that's life.

Would I go with Jenny to Greece again ? Definitely, yes. Would we go to Poros ? Again, yes, but this time I'd like to go into Argolis with an organised trip or a hire car to see Mycenae, Epidauros and Methana. Would we stay at the Saga Hotel ? Most definitely yes - Zefi and Takis made our stay a week to remember, even if the blog forced the pace a little. To have stayed two weeks rather than the one would have made a lot of difference.

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© 2006 Richard Edkins, Dalbeattie Internet.