Alternate title for this one: the very, very long day of transit.
After yesterday’s excitement and exhaustion it should come as no surprise that Nick and I were out like light-bulbs. …Light-bulbs hit by an electric storm.
However, despite how tired we were, we still woke up naturally at 6am Dubai time. As we were going to check out and wanted to get some breakfast before our flight, we went ahead and got out of bed. With a quick tidy up as we were mostly organised from the day before, we showered, changed and checked out of the Coral Hotel.
We decided we had plenty of time for breakfast so headed to the Mall of the Emirates (which we were headed to anyway to access the metro train to the airport) and began hunting for food. Things were only just coming on-line at the food court area and not a lot of the vendors were open yet. With very limited choices, we went for the good old Golden Arches. MacDonalds. Maccas. Heart-starter (or should that be stopper?) breakfast for two.
We placed our order but on start up that morning, the registers were having some kind of difficulty. The staff told us they’d manually process the order though and then we could pay when we collected the food. No worries, this wasn’t problematic. We had enough time that we weren’t fussed at all. But when Nick went to collect our order, they waved off his payment. Free breakfast. Score!
After breakfast, we headed directly to the metro and got on the train for the airport. For 30 minutes, we took in our last views of Dubai. From the metro, you get a good look at the very interesting architecture and can really see the sheer scale of the construction works going on seemingly everywhere.
Dubai is certainly an interesting country. As I noted in my previous post, if a country had a motto, Dubai’s would be “Go big or go home”. We saw things here that we wouldn’t have even contemplated in other countries with similar climates. Its as though someone thought to themselves, “What would no one ever expect to see in the desert? I know! A ski slope! An ice-skating rink! A giant underground aquarium! A massive sound and light show with EXPLOSIVE water jets!!” and then they said “Yes. Make it so!” A desert land where there is something of an obsession with cold, ice and water. It was intriguing to say the least.
We boarded our plane to Athens with no issues, despite our slight mishap in misdirection when we arrived on our first day in Dubai. This was all smooth sailing. This flight was run by emirates and as usual, the service was great. It was sad to be back in Economy (a.k.a the class we were born to) again after having experienced first class but really – the worst thing about economy is the other passengers.
The in-flight meal of cod with dill sauce was actually really nice and Nick and I both wiled away the flight time by reading, napping, watching movies, or in Nick’s case, taking some absolutely amazing photos out the plane window.
Before too long, we landed in Athens. The weather here is cooler than expected – only about 21 degrees celsius. We had an 8 hour stop over before our flight to Santorini, so instead of sitting around the airport for the whole time, we decided to see one of the main attractions in Athens, the Acropolis.
The Acropolis is open every day until 8pm so we weren’t at all worried about timing. However, we didn’t have anywhere to stash our bags. So we decided, perhaps foolishly to just suck it up and take them with us. After all, we are relatively light travellers and both of our bags were equipped with shoulder harnesses. We’re tough!
So, luggage toting along with us, we headed to the metro station, navigated the overly complicated way to buy tickets and jumped on the train to Monastiraki metro station which would put us approximately a 15 minute walk away from the Acropolis.
What we didn’t realise at the time was that it was a 15 minute walk completely uphill. Started to regret the decision to bring the bags with us. Even more so once we got to the Acropolis and were told we weren’t allowed to take our bags in. But we could drop them off at the cloakroom free of charge. …but the cloakroom was closing in less than an hour. Ouch.
Never-the-less, undaunted, Nick and I took a whirlwind tour of the place. It was quite windy up there and my hair was whipping around as though it was possessed by the spirit of Medusa! But We got some lovely pictures and exited in time to collect our bags with no issues.
We decided while we were out to also grab some dinner as the airport fare wouldn’t be very exciting. Since we were in Athens, we decided to grab some pita bread and souvlaki fare from a place, very aptly named Street Souvlaki. We then headed back to the Metro station and the airport to catch our next flight to Santorini.
I’m ending this post, sitting in the airport waiting for our gate to be announced. We should be boarding in a little under an hour but we won’t be at our hotel and checked in until past midnight. My next post will come to you from Santorini and will feature yet another Soars making a guest appearance for a few days.
I might be sworn to secrecy about the sketchy activities over the next few days as, even pre-holiday, the phrase “what happens in Santorini stays in Santorini” has been bandied about, but I’ll still have many delightful stories to relate.
Km’s walked: 13.1
Flights complete: 3/10 (soon to be 4/10)