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.