Contiki Big Chill Northern Trek Tour Part 1 – To Athens, Greece

I Took the day off to prepare for the trip. It was nice not to rush or watch the clock tick until my work day would be over in anticipation of my trip. I created a packing list and felt prepared. Thanks to my flight departure at night, it meant I had the option of arriving early for check-in, or cutting it close. I’m not a fan of stress and chose the former. I checked in with ample time and chilled out with my laptop making use of the free wifi.  The Toronto Pearson airport is a nice place to kill time. Lots of duty free shops & restaurants (though a bit overpriced). There’s even a Tim Hortons for those who want a more affordable option.  I never appreciated the amenities of the Toronto airport until I visited smaller, older, and less developed airports. Once I was stuck at a small airport with one restaurant and one shop and learned why people hate waiting at the airport.

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Well it turned out Greece was farther than expected. On the map, it doesn’t look much farther than London, which is a 6.5 hour flight. The actual flight time to Athens was 9.5 hours.  I haven’t taken a flight that long in a while. A few weeks before, I preordered my duty free online to ensure that my desired items would be in stock. In the past, I would stay awake to purchase my order only to be disappointed they did not have it in stock or it was sold out. I got to use my blanket & eye mask for the first time. The eye mask made an incredible difference as did the neck pillow. I had an aisle seat in the center row, which meant I could sleep without being disturbed and would not have to get out of my seat for someone answering the call of their bladder.

With the bathroom only 2 rows away, I could drink to my thirst content. This trip I brought a reuseable coffee mug.  Mostly because its easier to clean than a water bottle. During the dinner service, I was able to get my mug filled with water, rather than use their dinky plastic cups. Also saves all those plastic cups from the landfill. After I was on the plane and stowed my luggage, I asked the attendant where could I pick up my duty free. She then told me there had been a change, and passengers were to pickup their order at the duty free store instead of on the plane. I panicked and ran back to the duty free store. When I showed them my order, they could not find it. It turned out, that because I ordered it online, mine was already on the plane. I ran back and showed the flight attendant my paper.  Without even looking at it, the woman told me to go back to the store. I then politely asked her to look carefully at my order. Then another attendant looked at it and then told me it was already on the plane. I was annoyed.

After dinner service, the movie they played was a crappy one called Cedar Rapids. Think ‘The Hangover’ but not as funny and probably bombed at the box office. The sound and video quality was awful. I feel asleep quickly and picked up my duty free at the end of the flight.

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