Doha to Athens

July 8, 2018 - Athens, Greece

By the time I was ready to go down to breakfast (about 9am - shame!) David had already been to the gym, played squash against himself and had a swim. Sarah and Sue had been sitting over breakfast for over an hour, and Lucie not much less. When I arrived in the dining room I was greeted effusively by a young waiter offering coffee and an older one offering - well, everything, really. When I had collected my juice and fruit from the usual extensive middle-eastern buffet he came dashing over and carried it back to the table for me. Oh yes, having already moved another whole table for me adjacent to the one at which the others were sitting. Sarah and Sue were quite miffed - 'pays to have grey hair' they said nastily.

I introduced Sarah to 'Foul Madam', the mushy bean dish which this time was black eyed beans, not so mushy, while Sue looked on in incredulous disgust. (My friend had carried these to the table for me as well.)

Then it was time for me to take a few photos around the hotel and pool before joining the others to wait for the airport shuttle. It was a little less dusty today, although the sun was still a small white disc.(Yesterday Sarah had thought for a moment that it was the moon.)

Our plane didn't leave until 2.30 and we arrived at the airport just before 12, so plenty of time for David to catch up on missed breakfast, Lucie and Sarah to check out the shops and Sue and I to get a coffee. We had 44 riyals left between us, and two lattes would have been 46, so I happily downgraded to an Americano which left one riyal over for a tip. We enjoyed relaxing in the little cafe where Max and I had sat waiting in vain to greet the others in transit two years ago.

The Qatar Air A330 to Athens was only, at most, half full, so the five hour journey was quite pleasant - even though it wasn't an A380 there was plenty of leg room although the entertainment system was a bit hit and miss so I just read my book for a while. I discovered in the Bowral Bookshop a new Australian detective story (police procedural) writer called Sarah Bailey who has just published her second book, so I downloaded the first one, 'Dark Lake', onto my kindle before I left home. I'm enjoying it.

After a bit of doing that, and a quite nice middle-east-style lunch with a glass of red, Sarah moved from beside me to occupy a full four-seat centre row, and I switched my mind to flight mode and dozed off for a bit.

We came into Athens in a thunder storm, and went out into the rain, but under cover, to wait for the airport shuttle. Athens airport is a bit third world and very busy after the glitz and tranquillity of Doha. In the absence of signs, David had asked someone who looked official and we were directed to the bus area, but it was about 40 minutes before the hourly Holiday Inn shuttle turned up. It was still raining, and dark, so not much to look at.

The Holiday Inn was just - well, The Holiday Inn, but there was Jackie waiting for us at the top of the steps, iPhone poised to immortalise our arrival in pixels. We shuffled ourselves around to suit the four rooms that Flight Centre had booked for us, Lucie and Sarah went straight to sleep, and the rest of us shared a pizza, and had a glass of wine/beer before going to bed ourselves.


1 Comment

Max:
July 9, 2018
And I pictured a sunny Grecian Sky!
At least you have been well looked after for breakfast and the flight. It sounds like Sarah is taking a while to wind down from work.
I am jealous as well. An opportunity to knock a squash ball around would have been interesting.
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