I’m now completing a wonderful, two-week trip to Turkey and Cyprus. Unfortunately, the return journey isn’t uniformly wonderful.
I arrived in Athens, from Larnaca, Cyprus, following a drive from Limassol to Larnaca. I’d been up since 3 am and it was now 9 am. I anticipated a 4-hour layover, with nothing much to report. But a delay on the Athens-Philadelphia segment turns that into a 10-hour layover, which causes me to miss the flight to Indianapolis. USAir has booked me for a 10:30 am flight from Philadephia tomorrow. This means the 27-hour travel time I had braced myself for is turning into 44 hours, assuming that everything from here on goes well.
I considered going into Athens for the day, but between the lack of sleep and my carry-on stuff, I decided to stay at the airport. Unfortunately, it’s hot and humid, so walking around isn’t a great option. Moreover, it’s very crowded and there are no places left to sit.
I’m sitting on the floor at this moment, both to get away from all the smoke and to take advantage of one of the few electrical outlets. People walking by give me amused looks, undoubtedly out of jealousy for the great spot I found. They know that the hard floor is still much better than the cramped seating that USAir offers on its 11-hour flight. All in all, the situation offers an ideal opportunity to be annoyed. (Photo shows some plane actually taking off from Venizelos airport&mdash:it’s not my plane, which is lost somewhere).
It’s probably an indication of fatigue and sleep deprivation that I’ve begun noticing odd connections. My flight is marked as Νέα, which I think is short for “nea hora” or new hour/time. Upstairs the Νέο McCafe offers surprisingly the most attractive option for sitting.
And then I discovered a new Airport Museum, which helped me forget the travel vagaries. It chronicles the history of the Spata area, where the airport is built.
Things To Do [when your plane is delayed six hours]: Visit the airport mini museum. Athens International Airport “Airport Museum” presents the continuity of life in the rural Messogia plains and its evolution through 172 archaeological findings discovered in the excavations undertaken during airport construction, and dating from the Neolithic and Early Helladic through the Post-Byzantine period.
I’m using Otenet, which claims to offer many Νέο features. So I feel I’m being immersed in neo/nea-ness, even though I’m not sure I understand exactly what’s new and what’s late, other than my plane.
I also discovered a separate exhibit on Eleftherios Venizelos, for whom the airport is named. He was a prominent statesman of the early 20th century, who helped to create the Νέο Greece we know today.