Saturday, 11 September 2010

Aegean Adventure, Day One & Two.

The journey from the north of England to the south using the M6/M40/M25 varies in the time it takes due to the ‘sheer weight of traffic’ on the road. Today the journey only took 4 hours. What a pleasure.

Arriving at London’s Heathrow airport: now the fifth busiest airport in the world, without a map to the hotel was a bit adventurous, as the site covers 12.14 square kilometers . Eventually, having seen most of Hownslow, we found the Marriott Hotel and checked in. As it was late we ate at the hotels ‘Tuscany’ restaurant, this is not to be recommended as it was very expensive and the food only just acceptable as I was hungry. The pasta was Al Dente to the point of not being cooked it was sooooooo chewy. The food and wine were both very overpriced and the waiter was uptight at our late arrival,even thought thay are open till 23.00. I think he had better get a nine to five job as he was not a happy man.
The rooms at this Marriott are very nice, with two queen sized beds. The beds were very comfortable with feather topped toppers, and I do like the Marriott’s pillow menu.
Having breakfast at the ‘help yourself all you can eat’ service in the morning, I spotted a few Emirates crew , in full uniform tucking in, breakfast must be included in the room rate for the crew? But I did not know Crew were allowed to be seen eating in uniform....having heard tales of crew beeing scolded for drinking a coffee with out THE hat on.

We made our way to the free bus into the terminal (not the Heathrow hopper), this bus is one of the normal double deckers with ‘Terminal......’ on them. They are free and you cross the road from the hotel to the bus stop to get it. It only took about 15 minutes to get from the bus stop to the check in desk in terminal one. Terminal One like all the UK airports is an excuse for a shopping mall, and a nice one at that. It has a variety of eateries, including the caviar house that always tempts me but I have not been brave enough to try it prior to a flight yet.
The Aegean Air flight to Athens was uneventful. It was an A320, leather seats, free drinks and old fashioned overhead entertainment. I was not expecting a meal on such a short 4 hour flight, the meal was a Greek salad, the first of many. A strange pasta with chick peas and chicken and a pastry. In no time we landed at Athens airport in rain. As we stepped out of the aircraft to get on to the bus taking us to the terminal, a magnificent rainbow was seen. All the American passengers went ‘wow how awesome’ however I heard some English accents muttering that they had not come to Greece for rain and rain bows!
The customs procedure was as long and laborious as ever, and after getting our small bags from the carousel, we followed the signs for the Public Bus service, and found the number 96 bus to the port of Piraeus, this cost 3 Euros and took 45 minutes.
Once in the harbour town of Piraeus I realised that again I had failed to print of a map of the location of the hotel I had booked on! But remember seeing photos on Trip advisor showing a small church and by using this landmark the hotel was found. There did not seem to be many Hotels in the Port area, I was glad I had pre booked this part of the holiday. We received a friendly welcome and were shown to our small but clean and functional room, this had cost 60 Euros.

The town of Piraeus was very busy with many weddings taking place. We saw the wedding activity’s whilst looking for something to eat, for a large place we really struggled to find a restaurant. There was a large town square filled with coffee shops, but not a restaurant in site. Eventually we found one called The 4 Brothers. The siblings served us a filling meal at a good price. Then it was back to the Piraeus Dreams Hotel for a good nights sleep.