Daily Archives: 20 December, 2008

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Eight Day @ Istanbul, Enroute to Santorini

Athens Airport

All in all, my eight day in Istanbul (and supposedly my first day in Santorini) was the worst day in my entire 22-days trip. That’s because Olympic Airlines had major screw ups with all my flights. Case in point:

  • The flight from Istanbul to Athens was severely delayed. For some reasons, after cruising the runway for an hour (I didn’t realise, I was asleep), the plane had to go back to terminal to refuel. That resulted in a two-hour delay in our flight
  • By the time we reached Athens, obviously we have missed the flight to Santorini on Aegean Airlines. Major bummer. But we held our chins up and checked for flights to Santorini
  • Turned out that Olympic Airlines had the next earliest available flight to Santorini on the same day at 8.15 p.m. So Liping and I forked out an additional EUR100+ to get additional tickets
  • But for some fucked-up reason, even this flight was majorly delayed. By the time we eventually got up the plane to Santorini, it was already 10 p.m. plus at night.

Athens Airport

So what did we do to make the whole situation less distressing? Well, if you are as optimistic as me, you’ll find joy in the smallest way:

  • Liping and I had a haircut. Right here at Athens Airport while we wait for our evening flight to Santorini. The damn place looked so stylish that we gave in to the temptation… over a coin toss. LOL. Mine cost me EUR35 and it wasn’t that nice (I think some of my cuts at QB House were better) but a novel experience nonetheless, especially when your hairdresser needed to ask you to speak in English slower
  • Find joy in the entire flight delay situation. We gotta be the smallest group onboard an airplane, ever. Less than 20 of us in total, including a baby. LOL. When we boarded the train, a very disgruntled stewardess was standing along the aisle with a pissed-off look on her face, arms crossed over her half-buttoned chest. Liping was right when she commented that the stewardess looked more like a porn star than a stewardess.
  • True to the Greek-spirit, the moment we settled down in our seats, the flight took off in less than five minutes and we reached Santorini in a record-time of 40 minutes.
  • There was only one baggage claim conveyor in the airport. The entire airport setup was almost a joke. There was no passport control to speak of, and visitors can actually walked into the arrival hall to greet their friends. Even Phuket Airport was more established than that!

So we were off to our hotel guided by our poor host, Lefteris from Hotel Antonia. He must have been waiting for us on and off the entire day. I felt so sorry for him… and yet he was so friendly and helpful, we felt totally undeserved of his hospitality.

Hotel Antonia

I was totally impressed by Hotel Antonia (check out the hotel review here) was a God-sent. Absolutely heavenly. Let me tell you why:

  • The owner came to the airport to pick us up! I felt so bad to keep changing the pick up time due to the flight delays, but he never complained
  • The room was superb. Heater, private bathroom, wardrobe, fresh towel everyday… even our very own balcony!
  • The family who runs the place was very friendly, and speaks English very well… and coffee every morning!
  • This hotel in Fira, while not located right next to the Caldera, was a mere 5 minutes walk to the town centre.

Best of all, it was EUR28 per night for the two of us. I guess in summer the price will be higher, but at the winter time we were visiting, we are not complaining. Absolutely recommended. If you going Santorini, stay here.

Our Room in Hotel Antonia

When we are done choosing our bed (idiot Liping went for the double bed, and I went for more bathroom space), it was already 11.30 p.m. when we headed out to check out the nightlife in Fira. To be honest, it was way quieter than I thought it will be, but considering the winter months, I reckon tourists were really scarce.

That’s why when we visited the pub Kita Thira, and then Town Club, we are easily the only foreigners around. The crowd was decidedly local in a good way, but we must have been so Asian that no one really talked to us. Perhaps it was too late in the night for a dose of Greek hospitality.

First Night Out at Town Club

Modern Greek music and mainstream are just right for the charmingly kitsch landscape of the upbeat Town Club. During our stay this is one of the VERY few places open in Fira (afterall, it’s winter), so we were lucky the place was pretty happening on a Wednesday night. The crowd seems to know each other, mainly youths in their late teens and early 20s, and they are absolutely friendly. After some minor hiccup and shy stares, one guy came up to me, ascertained that I speak English, and asked me to dance with them… of which I did.

Fun night indeed. Thanks, Christy, for your hospitality!