Some people say getting there is half the fun.  Those people are idiots.

Here’s a brief synopsis (is there a long kind?) of our trip from Madrid to Athens.  We discovered on our way to the airport we needed “supplemental tickets” to actually reach the Madrid airport on the metro, but not how or where to buy the tickets. Finding out how to buy the tickets required my buying another regular metro ticket to get back to the platform where Amy was waiting.

We went to the wrong terminal (our fault for not checking in advance) and had to ask twice for directions to the check-in counter, since there really are about a hundred of them at that particular terminal.  We couldn’t buy lunch before our flight because the restaurant lines didn’t move, and the screen which would eventually tell us which area and gate we would fly out of didn’t announce that information until right when it said we needed to board.  We ran to our gate and they didn’t start boarding for another half hour.

The armrest between our seats was missing (broken) and tape held together part of the armrest between me and the person in the aisle seat.  They served food on the plane, which Amy declared the worst plane food ever, which is saying something considering how much flying we’ve done over the last few years.  I said it filled an empty space as long as it stayed down, and pondered whether adding the moist towelette to the sandwich would help.  It didn’t.

We arrived in Athens, then went to find the bus to our hotel.  The hotel suggested telling the driver which stop we needed and to sit up close to him so he could tell us when to get off.  There were almost no seats near the driver (just space for luggage) and the only seats available were the very back seats on the double-length bus.  Since we were about 60 feet from the driver, we had to try to read Greek bus-stop signs in the few seconds it took to stop at each.

We got out one stop to the north of the suggested stop, then wandered around in circles trying to get any street sign to match the inadequate map we had.  We couldn’t ask for help because it was a national holiday and almost everything was closed.

Eventually finding the hotel, we dropped our bags and asked for a recommendation for dinner.  Because of the holiday, the woman at the counter suggested we head to the marina, where the tourist restaurants would still be open.  We began heading there but decided if we were going to get bad, expensive tourist food we might as well get it at the hotel restaurant.  There we ordered club sandwiches (there was no Greek food on the menu) and were served up the most pathetic attempts at club sandwiches ever – four pieces of toast, one thin slice of meat, and no bacon.  We were provided with some entertainment, though; while we ate, a man relieved himself across the street, outside the dining room window. Ah, the joy of travel!