So after the tumultuous series of events in Athens, there was nothing left to do but press onward.
Digging in, what I found was conflicting and not completely clear on the path forward. The one thing that I found was that a “Letter of Recovery” from a doctor was required to board a flight back to the states.
My flights had been changed to Wednesday the 30th, so there was nothing more to it than obsess over the situation. That’s one of the things I excel at, obsessing over things not in my control. Always been that way, not any better nowadays although I am better at not getting into situations out of my control, but this one well and fully was. I know Pam was more than a little annoyed, and while I’d like to say it’s all okay, that little guy in my head is running around screaming “the sky is falling, the sky is falling!!!.
Pam did some calling around and was referred to a Doctor Elena who was reputed as being very patient friendly. The problem with most of the “professional” services in Greece, well at least this remote part of it, is no one keeps regular office hours. They show up whenever and leave whenever.
The placard on the Dr’s office (which was on this very busy, very narrow road through the middle of town) indicated she worked from 9-11 and 1-3. Okay.
So on Monday morning, Emilio, bless his heart, got up early with me on Monday and the first thing we did was a retest. Yea verily that came back very positive. The clinician indicated it wasn’t even close. Yay.
The next course of action was the letter of recovery. Emilio dropped me off literally on the street at 0900 in front of the office and I waited while trying to stay out of traffic. At 11, I gave up waiting for the good Dr. Emilio picked me up and we went back to the villa for lunch and more stressing.
We were back at the office a few minutes before 1 p.m. and the door was open and there was a waiting room full of patients. Ok. So, I sat and waited my turn until everyone else was done, and met with the good Dr. She was non-committal about anything, but did say to come back in the morning at 9 a.m. and we could look into it.
Getting back to the villa, I dug into the innerwebs and found a template for a “Document of Recovery” that we printed out to bring with us. It was a literally a template meant to be filled in with blanks for headers and footers and such, but it was the only thing I could find. I did find some guidance on the CDC’s website about all this and printed out a slew of stuff for her if she wanted to see it. The guidance clearly said travel could be conducted 5 days after onset of symptoms. I was significantly past that, so no problem, or so I thought.
The good Doctor was in her office the next morning when I arrived and you could tell she was highly amused at the entire situation. After making a comment about bureaucratic nonsense, she looked at my vaccination card and said it was time for a 4th one. I showed her the most clear guidance and described the letter and showed her the template. All she was willing to do was fill in the blanks in hand of the template and stamp it. Oh, well better than nothing.
Getting back to the villa, I submitted the paperwork to United through their website. Numerous times, all coming back as not acceptable. Finally I decided to call them. Thank goodness I’m a Gold Premier member so I could call the Premier contact number. Explaining the situation to the agent, they put me on hold. After a while the agent returned and said that yes, CDC policy was 5 days after onset of symptoms, airline policy was 10 days after positive test result. What? That meant I couldn’t travel for another week. Yikes. About the only good thing about this is I wasn’t sitting in a hotel room watching the bill run up.
Unfortunately I had already checked into my BA flight back to London. There was no way I could change it online and decided to call them. Ever try to call BA? Yeah, they REALLY don’t want to speak to you. It took several hours before I could get through. By the time I was able to speak to a live person, my flight was boarding. All the agent would do is issue a voucher to use against another flight. Only trying to use it was fruitless as it evidently has to “age” before use. So I just bit the bullet and booked another flight. I rebooked my United flight as well. I decided I would take the bus in the evening to Athens the night before, stay at a local hotel and then board my flight early the next morning on April 5th.
At that point there was nothing more to do than wait. I did some handy man stuff around the house for Pam, and followed her around like a sick puppy when she went out and about. I did manage a couple of photo walks during that time, so, finally, there’s pictures…
From the balcony where I was staying there was a spectacular view out over Kolpos Idras:
This is one of Pam’s dogs, Delta. For the life of me I couldn’t tell your why I didn’t get a picture of the other one, Geórgios. Sorry about that.
Finally down on the ground level, I went looking around.
This gives you a feel as to why Pam and Emilio love living here. It’s absolutely beautiful.
Next time, we’ll take a trip the the Greek Island of Spetsas.