Date: May 4, 2004
Cities: Athens, NYC, Atlanta, Gainesville

By the time we got down to breakfast many of our fellow travelers had departed for the airport to catch pre-dawn flights. While we waited for our time to leave, Allan helped Rachel with her luggage handle. The spring mechanism had gotten out of alignment in the handle, so the handle wouldn't retract. With the help of his trusty Swiss Army knife, Allan removed and reseated the handle so that everything was aligned, and the release mechanism worked.

The Elmira College group and all of us who were heading home to Florida took the bus with Eirini to the airport. We hugged around and then those of us flying Delta to JFK went to check in. Eirini was amused by our miniscule check bag, and suggested it would be placed with the oversized luggage. She turned out to be right (of course) since Allan was asked to put the case on the odd-sized luggage cart.

From the airport, Eirini would head back to her home farther in the outskirts of the city. The Elmira College group went to Thessaloniki to see sites in Northern Greece. They would return to Athens again for a few days before flying home.

The first leg of the trip was just under 10 hours. Fortunately the flight was only about 40-50% full. We took consecutive pairs of seats on the starboard side. We had lunch early and a cold sandwich for snack late on the flight.

At JFK our orange case came out of the luggage carousel unlatched and upside down, so everything spilled when Allan grabbed the handle. With the help of other travelers, we recovered all but one of the checked metal pieces, which was a pleasant surprise given the original dispersal pattern. Allan duct taped the case shut before checking it again. Next time: twist-ties!

At the gate for the second leg of the flight, Allan called to check voicemail and also for a no-news was good-news check on the dogs' status. The flight was delayed for an hour while TechOps (maintenance) repaired a hydraulic line.

We had plenty of time to make our last connection, and Allan had time for a slice of pizza to augment the Luna bar and amaretto candy bar we shared. In retrospect, another meal bar might have been a better choice than the food vendors at JFK.

We arrived in Atlanta a mere 35 minutes before the third leg's scheduled departure, so we only waited three minuntes to board the turboprop while catching our breath. This flight had only 27 passengers on the 80-seat plane so we could spread out again. We look forward to the day turboprop planes will be retired. The noise comes through the seat of your pants as much as through your ears.

We arrived in Gainesville just before midnight and a friend picked us up at the airport and took us home. We had a great time in Greece, but we were looking forward to our own bed.

cookie by
Allan West and
Jane Dominguez