April 7, 2006 – Friday – Milan, Italy to Athens, Greece & first day in Athens
My solar eclipse tour group returns to Toronto from Milan today, however I am going onward to Athens, staying for a week. We have a 5am wakeup call, and the bus arrives at 6:30am. We arrive at Milan’s Malpenza airport, where our airport guide takes us to the Alitalia check-in. He takes me to a different check-in, since I’m not going to Canada/US. After clearing security, I call Paul the Honest Greek taxi driver and confirm he will pick me up at Athens International airport upon my arrival there.
People watching in Malpenza airport:
- Russian sports team – lots of hot looking, muscular young men
- A woman with her Yorkshire terrier
- A young Italian woman wearing sequined cowboy boots
- A sports team from Tunis and another from Italy – young men & women – I thought the Turin Olympics were over?
- Staff at an American Express booth stopping people to sign them up for the Alitalia gold card – a tough job
- Several African men in traditional long robes and hats
The Alitalia flight to Athens offers scenic views of the Ionic and Aegean Seas through the mist (see banner image above). After arriving in Athens huge international airport, I walk directly to the Arrivals area – no entry formalities thanks to still being in the European Union. My prearranged driver Paul is holding a “Mr. Carr” sign, so he is easy to find. He drives me to Athens (30 minutes by car), and drops me off at Harry’s apartment. Harry meets me at the door and shows me his rental apartment. It’s very basic, but clean, and has a small kitchen, dining room, bathroom. Despite the place having 3 bedrooms, I have the apartment to myself.
Harry recommends a local restaurant run by Albanians for dinner this evening. It takes me awhile to find it, despite it only being a block away. It isn’t fancy, but the food is good, and it’s not too expensive. I see lots of locals stop in to pickup takeout for dinner – a good sign! I have salad, a pork & spinach main course, and a Coke for €10.50.