Friday, March 25th was to be a day of preparation to return to Virginia. My flights were booked for the next day, and the number one task was the COVID test necessary to reenter the United States.
On Thursday I had asked the clerk at the hotel the best means of doing that and they said there was a service available to come to the hotel. It was a bit spend at 100 euro, but was, allegedly, very easy. The earliest appointment available on Friday was 1100, so I figured I would just have a leisurely sleep in, get my test and then go out and do the rest of the hop-on hop-off.
So, after waiting some 45 minutes after 11 in the hotel lobby, I asked the clerk to see what was going on. Evidently my appointment was not registered and the earliest they could get there was 3 in the afternoon. Whew. That’s cutting it close. So I told them never mind, that I would find someplace else.
Or so I thought. Upon emerging into the bright spring Athenian day, hordes of people were encountered walking down virtually every avenue.
As it turns out March 25th is Greek Independence day. H’mmm. Didn’t know that. Virtually everything was closed for the day, including the local pharmacies where I planned to get my COVID test.
Following the crowds, I sought out the nearest hop-on hop-off stop. Unfortunately the streets were closed, and so there was no hop-on hop-off at least for the foreseeable future. After migrating the very thick crowds for a while, a parade was finally in view and magically the throngs of revelers parted and the parade came down the street.
Luckily, the parade was very short, so it was through in just a few minutes. By that point, it was in the afternoon, and I realized I needed to find somewhere to get tested.
Finding the municipal gardens, I walked around a bit to find someplace to sit and research. The only available site for testing I could find was the airport. 20 minute service, 20 euros. So, locating the nearest metro station, I paid my 9 euro transit fee and hopped on the train.
30 minutes or so later, we arrived, and after wandering around the airport a bit, the testing station was located.
No one was in line, so paying my stipend I went into the testing area. You all probably know how this goes by now, so I won’t describe it.
Anyway, they hand me a piece a paper with my access code on it and tell me they will e-mail the results in about 20 minutes.
Deciding not to wait, I board the train back to Athens. Unfortunately there is no cell signal anywhere in this transit. Getting to my stop, I exited the car, and noticed there was signal and an e-mail.
Sitting on the bench, opening the email, typing in the access code and opened the document to see the happy words “Positive”. Yikes.
Things were kind of in a blur at that juncture. Making my way back to the hotel, I called Pam and Emilio. They weren’t entirely surprised as both of them had been having COVID like symptoms since shortly before my departure, Emilio in particular. We talked a bit and agreed I would just come back there and hang out while figuring out which was was up.
So I booked the ferry the next day. The morning transit was sold out, and the only available time was 5 p.m. Oh well. I also rebooked my flights as obviously I wasn’t going to be on them….
Dinner delivered as I was less than enthusiastic about going out and sharing the “wealth”. Check out was at 11 a.m., so I got all my stuff packed, futzed around on the innerwebs and went to bed.
In the morning I got breakfast in the hotel and grabbed an extra sandwich and some fruit to sustain me for the day. Packing my bags, I departed the hotel and caught an Uber (taxi actually) to the Port of Piraeus.
Not knowing where the ferry was to land, I found a spot to sit and waited a bit. This section was evidently unused as there were a number of folks hanging out, if you will. Unfortunately I also came to the attention of a bunch of kids who decided they would come and harass me into giving them some money. Evidently they are fairly successful with this foolishness as they were not easily dispensed with.
Getting up, I walked toward the other side of the port facility which was more populated used. There were a number of places to sit and people milling about waiting for ferries going hither and thither. Finding a comfortable spot, I broke out the trusty tablet and binge watched “The Big Bang Theory”.
Every so often the hucksters would come by wanted to sell you something. My favorite was the guy with a mesh bag full of watches in boxes declaring “Fine Quality Watch”. Right. He was a bit aggressive and I had to get a bit terse with him to get him to go away. Every time he would walk past he would give me the eye and mutter something under his breath.
As the departure time got nearer, I walked around to see if I could figure out where the boat would be landing. Finding someone who spoke some English they pointed me to the end of the pier past some barricades where a number of people were already milling about. As I’m walking toward the landing, the ferry arrives and discharges the riders on board.
Seats on the ferry were reserved, and every other seat was vacant, I’m guessing due to COVID. The steward pointed me toward my seat, I folded myself in for the 3 hour ride.
We made 2 stops before getting to Kranidi, so I had to pay attention. Really didn’t want to wind up in God knows where in Greece in the wee hours of the morning. There really wasn’t anything to worry about as Kranidi was the last stop. That was my level of anxiety at that moment. Lot’s of things in flux.
Pam was there waiting for me and she drove us back to the villa. She had made a nice dinner. So we ate and I excused myself to got to bed. I was exhausted.
That’s all for today.
More fun to be had upcoming.