June 23, 2019: Traveling to Rome

Sunday. GT2 Day Fifteen. Greece to Italy Travel Day.

Today is our day to switch from Greece to Italy. Traveling all day, even though it is not really all that far. It just worked out in such a way that we need to be traveling all day to do what we need to day.

Up at eight. Got all packed and ready and into the car. We did some last minute videos and were on the road at nine. It is a two hour drive to the airport on the far side of Iraklio.

Everyone was tired this morning and not looking forward to the long day ahead of us. The drive went just find, though. We made good time. And we had no issues finding the place to drop off the car at the airport with Athens Car. We had to run out and fuel it up, as well, before turning it in. But that was fast. I dropped Dominica, Madeline, and Emily off at the airport and then dropped off the car, and then walked down to meet them.

We were now stuck at the Iraklio airport for a really long time. We arrived at eleven and our flight is scheduled for three forty five! That’s a long day of doing nothing.

For our first few hours, we were stuck outside of security because it was too early to turn over our luggage. We found a Greek cafe upstairs at the airport, the only thing that is up there, and the girls camped out there. They got a little food, but did not like it very much. They just wanted to sit and read or whatever on their phones. I wanted to get some exercise, since the time was just going to be wasted anyway, so I left them there and for two hours just walked laps of the upstairs of the airport, which I essentially had all to myself. This was actually a super good use of time since I was able to get in around eight thousand steps just during that time, getting my daily number over ten thousand before even going through security, instead of sitting. And while I did laps I could constantly see the flight status boards so was completely on top of the flight updates so that the girls did not need to check in on them. Other than being a lot of time that could have been used to do something fun, it worked out pretty well for me.

Like many European airports, here you get your flight updates at pretty much the last second. So ninety minutes before our flight suddenly our flight was added to the departures board along with information as to what gate we would be leaving from and what check in desk was handling us. We got thirty for. So as soon as that was put up I went and got the girls and we went to desk thirty four and dropped off all of our luggage. We are flying Neos today, for the first time ever. We don’t know this airlines but reviews of them seemed good. The baggage drop was nice and easy, at least.

Then we went through security and had more time to kill on the other side, but not nearly so much. But now we don’t have to carry our luggage so we are feeling much more free. The girls were hungry so went and found an Everest sandwich shop and got sandwiches. I wanted something Greek as my last meal, so found an It’s All Greek and convinced them to make me a vegetarian pita sandwich. They felt badly that it cost so much with no meat, so they gave me a free Coke to go with it.

After eating, it was almost time to board. A good use of our time. We did not eat a lot, but enough that we would not be hungry on our way to Rome.

Boarding was via a bus taking us out to the tarmac. Not surprising, given what a small airport this is. The plane was a Boeing, which I don’t prefer both because, of course, they are a bad company that doesn’t look after their customers and passengers, but also because Boeing seats aren’t nearly as comfortable as Airbus seats. Airbus is the better plane, almost every time. But this flight was not busy and I ended up with a whole row to myself, as did Dominica. And the girls had their own three seats. So loads of space. But even with the whole row, Boeing does that “arm rest that only goes halfway up” crap, so even with all the space in the world, the seats are horribly uncomfortable.

A big surprise for us was that even on this super cheap, super short flight Neos provided a full meal for us. And not just “a” meal, but a really great meal. Cheese, cold cuts, salmon, parsley potatoes, bread, olives, serious chocolate ricotta torte desserts and more. Plus everyone gets a bottle of water, a glass of wine, and coffee service after the meal! And they come around offering “unlimited” bread rolls, too! This was ridiculously posh. I read in the in flight magazine that Neos takes their food extremely seriously as they see it as an important part of Italian culture and being Italy’s airline for Italians. Italians expect a certain level of food quality and Neos aims to please. And all of their food is Italian traditional food, from Italy. Emily just about fell over in shock from what they just handed out to us, she was not expecting something like this at all.

I looked up and Neos flies between Rome and Cancun. That might prove to be handy in the future.

Our flight went well. Very high turbulence landing in Rome, though.

We got into Rome and did all the customary stuff getting out luggage and what not. Once there, we had limited time to get to our apartment so we grabbed an Uber, even though it cost more than the train. That was quick, comfortable, and easy though. We were definitely on the mood to pay penalties for arriving late after hiking all over Rome with our backpacks on.

We got into our apartment and that went really well. Nice and easy. The apartment is tiny but super nice. We just have one “big” room but the beds are comfy and the place is very well appointed. We have great Internet too, for the first time on the trip (hopefully not the only time.) So before anything, I started uploading what media that I could as we are now very far behind from having our Internet out for a day and so many failures. And we got so much good stuff last night that people want to see. The apartment is super cool, in a basement with vaulted stone ceiling. And it has air conditioning, thank goodness.

Once we were settled in we immediately set out for a restaurant for dinner. Time for real Italian eating! We found a cute little place just around the way that was quiet, local(ish) and had food that we thought that everyone would eat. Our location of our apartment is right down the street from Vatican City, so the entire view on our street is St. Peter’s Basilica. It’s crazy how close we are to it.

Dinner was awesome. Dominica got the cheese and pepper dish popular in Rome. I went for something more unique, but wish that I had gotten what she got. The girls ordered spaghetti pomodoro and separately meatballs and combined them to make the American dish. It’s kind of their first Italian meal. At least Italian ingredients.

After dinner we went back to the apartment and dropped off Dominica and Madeline. Then Emily and I went out walking and found a Carrefour grocery and did some late night shopping. It was an experience for Emily as she got to see real Italians get into full out screaming fight over check out lanes in the grocery. A real cultural experience. It’s like getting to be in a movie.

From there we walked back to the apartment and everyone was off to bed. Tomorrow is our day to tour Rome.