Travel Journal
Santorini & London -- April 1-16, 2004
Day 1 & 2

Day 1 -- Friday, April 1

Started out the day doing last-minute run-around errands. Got a cellphone upgrade while I was at it, thinking that I would be able to use it while overseas. Didn't quite work out because of the per-minute prices, but I still got a sweet deal on it. ($190 retail, sold to me for $30, I'll get a $30 rebate... Only will have to pay the tax of about $16, yippee!) Once home I jam and get all my junk together and get picked up abt 4:45pm.

Once inside the Bradley terminal, the check-in line for the British Airways counter moved quite fast. We were through it in no time and took our bags over to the X-ray area. Had to wait a while for them to be carted out, though. Something about a dog getting taped into his crate. Whatever... We didn't need to shop for things or food while here at the home airport (we brought sandwiches), so there was no point hanging around in the main area. So off to the gate we went! The security check was simple and rather normal; they didn't even make us take off our shoes! Shocking that there was no line there either. I waited tons longer when I went to SLC back last November. We changed our money, then went over to gate 120. By then it was 6pm -- time to eat those sandwiches! After that I called my mom and said goodbye. (She wasn't able to get off work early to do that at home.) After that we started talking with this group of British teenagers (3 girls & a guy, part of a larger bunch) that had been here on a media class 'field trip'. Boy, they never had field trips like that when I was in high school! They were all kind of sad to be going home, and it seemed like they'd had a good time here. After we all got on the plane and the vast herd of them swapped seats all over the place (must have driven the attendants crazy when serving the special meals!), it turned out that our little group ended up on our aisle, with the boy next to me, and the girls in the center section.

Take-off was a non-event and we settled into the flight. Tried to watch a movie, but couldn't really concentrate on it. Dinner was served a few hours in, a nice pasta dish with a little salad, a roll, slice of chocolate-ish pie, and a tiny Cadbury bar. Never got to see what the chicken dish was. (It had run out.) I managed to sleep a little bit, in chunks. Actually ended up listening to the entire loop of the comedy audio channel while resting. Kept watching the little map 'channel' to see where we were and how much longer we had to go. With only a little over 2 hours to go they brought us breakfast: a nice little boxed affair with a ham & cheese croissant, sealed cup of orange juice, sealed cup of yogurt, and a breakfast bar. They also poured tea or coffee if you wanted it. Paul & our new 'son' Neal both gave me their yogurts (one of which I had room for at the time) and breakfast bars (saved those for much later, was a good thing too). After we landed we took some pictures with our new little friends and gave them our emails so they could later on see the pictures of our just-begun trip (which I hope they do!)

Day 2 -- Saturday, April 2

Paul wanted to wake up a bit, so he got a double espresso and I ate that remaining cup of yogurt. Then we had a look around at the shops in the Departure Lounge of Terminal 1 at Heathrow. We got hungry again a while later and shared a nice sandwich (chicken & spinach with herb sauce, quite nice). Got bored and thought we'd go to our gate, but the guy told us not to since it wasn't up on the board yet and could change. So instead we had a quick pit-stop and sat down on a short-row of seats to relax. It was about 7:30pm at this point, when suddenly out of the corner of his eye, Paul spotted something and ran over to the center of the seat area. I followed, and suddenly we were in front of a large Samsung flatscreen, watching the last 15 minutes of the 2nd episode of the new Dr. Who, The End Of The World. What else can I say but fan-frickin-tastic!!! Sure wish we'd noticed that TV about half an hour before that, though...

And wouldn't you know it, but right after that was over, our gate number came up on the board (and HAD changed), so then we dashed off to that end of the terminal. Got on the second plane without a hitch, and it was actually only about half-full. Several rows in the back were totally empty. This was a slightly less-advanced plane: no screens at our seats, just TVs up above every few rows. Our film this evening was National Treasure (which we weren't expecting until the trip back from Athens), and we enjoyed it immensely. While we were watching, they served dinner: a very nice chicken dish (Wonder if it was the same one we could have had the night before?), roll, Mediterranean salad, and a slice of apple pie with a dash of cream sauce.

We got off that plane a little after 2am (Greek time), and there was a passport check before the baggage claim area, but no customs area after that. Weird. Trundled upstairs to the departure area, and in looking around saw a lady at the Aegean ticket counter. She was able to put us on the earlier flight of 6:05am instead of the one we had at 10:20am. So in slightly less than 2 hours we could check our bags in. Paul had his first Greek coffee, and we looked in a CD/DVD store to pass the time. After our bags were gone, we wandered about the little stores in the terminal, bought a map of the island, and got a sausage snack. Actually, we ate that while waiting at our gate. Finally we were called, and got on a little shuttle bus that took us to the plane. Stepping DOWN from the curb and UP to the bus posed a problem for me with a heavy backpack on. I miscalculated and slammed my lower left shin on the edge of the bus floor. Man, did that HURT!!! After we climbed the stairs into the plane and got to our seats, I realized there were all of SIX people on this flight. (which includes us!) The plane was 22 rows of 2 & 3, so it was like loading gnats onto a little red wagon. Dirt-quick 45-minute flight, only just enough time for our cookie and drink.

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