UK Bound (day eight)

Our last half day in Santorini was a little bit rushed, but overall not too bad. As expected, the airport was shithouse, poorly run, no lounge (OMG I know) and just a bad way to leave (or enter) the very wonderful Santorini.

I felt it was appropriate today to show off the jacuzzi suite a little more. Excuse our bags spread everywhere, but it really is a spacious room, kept cool as it’s built into the rock. Loved our time spent here.

Our last meal in Fira was at a Chinese restaurant, and the food was nice. We also checked out the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, where we learnt a little more about the excavations we saw on day six. Somehow we even had a stray puppy follow us around as we looked at the exhibits.

Our flight was as expected, pretty much the same food on the way back as over. Though we were late landing due to a 130KM/h headwind! Picked up a nice BMW from Avis and got to Chesterfield, after a brief food stop, at 23:30. Shitty wifi at The Chesterfield Hotel though!

Welcome to Santorini (sans bags)

We finally got to the main part of the holiday this afternoon, Santorini. Greece is another country I haven’t visited before and is now crossed off the list. But Santorini, just stunning, breathtaking, especially our accommodation. The view from the balcony is just stupendous. I took a few photos today, but there’ll be more to come over the course of the next week. Of course, no bags yet either.

Sea view
Sea view

For dinner tonight we went to a local restaurant called To Ouzeri (tripadvisor), trying some new things wherever we could, such as white eggplant with chloro, ocotpus with fava bean puree, local fish and local beer.

Ouzeri dinner

Australia to Europe

I started my journey to Europe on Wednesday the 11th June, and although I got there on the 12th, I spent the next 24 hours travelling to the first actual pit stop, Florence.

Dee-Anne saw me off, driving me to the airport and then herself home. I didn’t get an upgrade, but the seat next to me was blocked and I had the First class lounge to look forward to in Sydney. The food there was well worth the 14 hours in economy I was to suffer on the way to Dubai. I think I nearly had an upgrade at the gate, but after some typing into the computer, there was no seat change for me.

First lounge delights

I ended up having 3 starters, the buffalo mozzarella with roasted red capsicum, grilled sesame tuna with red cabbage & salmon tartare. As none of the mains really interested me, I finished with the chocolate croissant bread and butter pudding, which was to die for! Along with some Champagne and a massage, I was well prepared for economy.

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The flight turned out to be fairly easy to survive, with another frequent flyer onboard, and a combination of sleep/talking to the FA’s a productive way to pass the time.

Emirates impresses

At Dubai I had another massage, and another impressive dinner, octopus carpaccio, saffron cashew chicken & umm ali (a traditional Egyptian dessert, about as local as I could find – that was amazing). Only downside was the top Champagne offered was simply Moët.

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At the gate for the final flight to the UK my boarding pass beeped though, providing some respite in the final 7 hours being in the comfort of business class. Having only travelled economy on the A380 in the past and other than on an A330 to Perth trying a skybed in the day, I’d never really had the experience of sleeping in one. Unfortunately, not a lot that’s positive, other than it being lie-flat… I found it very exposed to the aisle, very little privacy. Still, better than economy.

With the flight on time, I met mum at arrivals in Heathrow, she having arrived on an earlier flight from Hong Kong. The Tube to St Pancras took an hour… but once there we had a bite to eat, and even some Champagne, while waiting for our Eurostar connection to Paris.

In Paris, we had to change stations in just over an hour, and with the traffic it was a tight connection, but we made it from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon, and onto the Thello overnight sleeper to Milan, which now we’ve experienced a 4-berth, would be happy to avoid doing again! Cramped and awkward would sum it up.

Cramped 4-berth
Cramped 4-berth

Luckily the train from Milan to Florence was much nicer, higher speed (we reached 292 km/h) and we didn’t have to sit next to strangers. It did mean we arrived well before our checkin time though (to the apartment), but that’s another story.