Arriving an hour later than our scheduled landing into Athens airport, we hiked the 25km’s of shiny, immaculate corridors it took to get to the baggage claim. Luggage retrieved, a quick side-step round the elderly lady lying on the floor with blood pouring from her face (weird) and we were through to the arrival halls. A taxi driver had been booked for us as part of our apartment rental deal, so seeing my name on his little placard, I waved and headed over to him. He greeted us brusquely, grabbed one of our bags and power walked us to his car.
Mr Taxi Man was angry. He’d been working since 6am and because the plane was late, he was still working at 11pm. I apologised and said next time I was flying an Airbus to Greece from the UK I’d change my flight plan through Europe so all the Athens taxi drivers wouldn’t have to stay up so late. A long, silent ride into Thissio ended about 40 minutes later.
I’d been told the fare was 43 Euros but the meter read 32. I handed him 35. Mr Taxi Man got angrier. He wound down his window and started yelling at the booking rep of the apartment we were renting, who was standing on the curb by the front door ready to greet us. Grabbing our own bags out of the boot, the rep explained to us the taxi fair from the airport was a flat rate of 43 Euros in Athens but drivers had to let the meter run by law. I’d already handed over another 10 Euros before I got out, but the explanation was welcomed.
I’d splashed out about double what I’d normally spend for this apartment, just for a change and a belated birthday present for myself. It turned out to be not quite as special as it looked in the photos. Not the end of the world, but a bit disappointing.
Definitely the end of the world though was the plumbing situation. You can’t flush toilet paper in Athens! You have to let it pile up in a bin beside to the toilet. Let me just say, if ever you want to get closer to your partner, to take your perhaps stilted relationship up another notch of the totem pole of intimacy, a visit to Athens is one answer. Why had I never read this before? Nothing in travel is ever a surprise anymore. It’s all on Trip Advisor and Yelp and Google Reviews. Plus I knew people who had been to Athens. Why had none of them ever mentioned it? What kind of world wide conspiracy was this?
A fitful sleep was had while I tried to process this tragedy.
We left the apartment the next morning, conspicuously carrying our very tightly tied plastic bag full of soiled toilet paper, and set about being tourists. Well, first we found a bin, then we set about being tourists. (more…)