Monday, April 06, 2009

...and Leaving It

The first draft of my last post was actually more negative than the version I ended up posting. I'd been getting a little burned out. I've been flying quite a bit, as has everyone at NewCo thanks to management's decision to drastically understaff the airline. When I'm not flying, I'm often volunteering for the union on jumpseat and other issues, or writing about flying for this blog and my other project. Sometimes it gets a bit much and I just need to get as far away from my job as possible. March was one of those times.

Fortunately, Dawn had a week off of teaching for Spring Break and I had vacation time, so we travelled as has been our practice for the last three Spring Breaks. Two years ago we went to Thailand, last year to Singapore & Malaysia; this year we went to Greece. We spent the last ten days in Athens and on the islands of Naxos, Ios, and Santorini. The flights worked out pretty well; our first flight into London's Heathrow was delayed enough that we wouldn't be able to make our connection at Stansted in time, but the judicious use of backup passes got us to Athens at the same time, although we had to make another connection in Frankfurt to do it. On the way back, we took Aegean from Santorini to Athens, KLM from Athens to Amsterdam, and RedCo back from AMS; the first RedCo flight was full but we made it onto the second flight two hours later. The only other wrinkle was that a general strike shut down the ferries on the day we were to go to Santorini, so we ended up spending three nights in a very sleepy offseason Ios and only one on beautiful Santorini. Even that worked out, as we took a late flight from Santorini to Athens so we were able to spend most of the last day exploring the island and saw most of what we wanted to see.

I immensely enjoyed exploring the Acropolis, Ancient & Roman Agoras, Hadrian's Library, Temple of Olympian Zeus, and other ruins in Athens. Wandering the Plaka at night, eating at the streetcorner souvlaki stands, and sharing a bottle of wine while looking over the lights of the city at St Paul's Rock were also highlights. On the islands, it was still the offseason so a lot of businesses were closed and nobody was on the beaches, but that also made for a very laid-back experience. We rented motorscooters on all three of the islands, which was a lot of fun and made exploring some of the out of the way corners easier. We enjoyed Naxos' fertile olive groves and beautiful rugged mountains, Ios' quaint town center with its labrylynth of narrow, twisting streets, and Santorini's spectacular crater with whitewashed villages clinging to its sides. The weather was occasionally cold, cloudy, and blustery, but we had some gorgeously sunny days as well. We ate delicious food at restaurants, tavernas, and gyro stands alike; we drank wine, ouzo, citron, and more ouzo. On the whole, it was a very pleasant trip, and I'd love to go back - especially when it's warmer.

I'm usually a little despondant on returning from a good trip overseas, but this time I feel refreshed and ready to go back to work. It helps that I know we have another big trip to Europe planned for a few months from now. We'll be going to Norway with some close friends of ours who are also nonrev fiends; we've been trying to take a trip together for some time. I'm really looking forward to it.

In the meantime, here are some of my favorite photos from this trip.






Rick Barlow said...

Sam, you know, aside from being an accomplished aviator, you're quite the photog too! Beautiful pictures, some of which now adorn my laptops desktop! Keep 'em coming!

tp lowe said...

Thanks for the great pics, Sam. Hope you enjoyed your time off.

Anonymous said...

So nice to see photos again on your blog; thank you!

p ram said...

stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and have finally made it through almost all the posts. enjoy it thoroughly. i fly for redco.'s regional who had the captn/fa incident in harrisburg. hopefully i will bump into you in mem sometime

Evan said...

little to do with this post, but fl250 was linked to in the Civil Aviation section of
Maybe it's happened before, but- enjoy- or good luck?

Ward said...

I hope you went to Cafe Neon in Syntagma Square - excellent food, cheap. If you ever go to Greece again, I strongly recommend a visit to Syros in the Cyclades.

Greg said...

I stumbled across your blog about a month ago. i have thoroughly enjoyed your posts. I'm a senior in high school, and next year i plan to attend a university in Michigan majoring in areonautical science. Your blog has been like a peek in on the aviation industry. I've learned a lot and i thank you for the help your posts have been in my decisions about my future. Someday i hope to be a commercial pilot. Thanks so much for the advice and encouragement you have given to me without even meaning to.

Flying Europe said...

Nice post. Did you see the little airport in Naxos? If you ever make it to the german speaking part of europe let me know...can give you some hints.

Flying Europe

Anonymous said...

Naxos... remembered me been there as backpacker in my youth, we went from Germany to Athens by train.

Looking forward to read about your experience in Norway. Enjoyed this country and the people during 3 business-trips, still planning to to go there there for vacation. Great experience!

Sam said...

Flying Europe, I did see that airport on Naxos with Olympic's ATRs going in and out a few times a day. There were even a few private aircraft operating out of there. I suspect it's a lot more busy in the high season.

amulbunny said...

When I was a kid and non reving all over Europe I stayed in Athens for 5 days. The hotel we were at was right across the street from the Temple of Olympian Zeus. I felt humbled by the history that had happened there. Greece was one of my favorite places. We had some excitement leaving, it was 3 weeks after the Entebbe you can tell how long ago it was. We drank beer and watched the full moon illuminate the Acropolis from the rooftop bar at our hotel.