Ελλάδα: εζάρτημα έξι
Getting to the Athens airport was easy as pie. Well, easy as buying pie. A short walk to Victoria station and then buy a ticket at the counter for 6€. It is more than a normal ticket, but it’s way cheaper than the 30€ or so that you pay by taxi. The ride is just like any other Metro ride, except you have to wait for a special train at the last station on line 3 after you get off of your terminal train. It took about 45 minutes from Victoria.
They say that this airport was built new for the Olympics, but it is not that great. It is like a normal airport, with some extra things because it was built recently. There is still surprisingly no power outlets. I love how all the new airports advertise that they have wireless internet, but they are crap for power. The security checkpoint is very near the gate, which is good because you can get in and wait for your flight, but bad because you can’t really estimate how bad the wait will be at security, and there is nothing to shop at or eat after you get through your security. I wish they would just put the security near the ticket counters, like normal airports have, then you would at least be able to relax knowing that you had gotten through security and could definitely make your flight.
The flight was changed gate after I got there (less than an hour before my flight) and also delayed, I assume because the plane wasn’t ready or something. When I finally got to the gate and the plane was going to take off, we got on a bus and rode it out onto the tarmac. It was interesting to me because I hadn’t ever been on a plane where you had to board it from the tarmac before, but it was just like a normal plane inside if a little less luxury. The flight was full to the brim, partially I am sure because of the conference - the guy sitting next to me was for sure going to ECC07, and there were other passengers with a ECC05 bag so they were probably going as well. It was at least short at about 45 minutes. I watched an episode of anime, and they came by with orange juice and pita chips with cinnamon and sugar on them that were rather good. I may see if I can find some at a shop in Kos.
Landing at Kos was smooth, and looking over the Mediterranean was nice as well while flying. The airport is really small, but still prominently displays that it is an international airport - then again, you could probably swim to another country from here. Baggage was no problem as it was the only plane landing at the time. I got a cab and rode 25 minutes or so to my hotel in Lambi.
After the stay at the horrible hotel in Athens, I was pleased to arrive at Gaia garden and find that they had my reservation on hand and didn’t need any proof. Also I didn’t need to pay until the end of the stay. The difference in a 45 minute flight’s distance and 10 euro of room fare is amazing. The room is nice, with tile floors, and well kept. There is a large pool and a bar in the hotel that has free drinks (from a limited list) for guests. The hotel staff are very nice and explained to me everything, and even walked me to my room to show it to me. There is still a thing that you need to put your key into in order to turn the power on, but I am completely happy with it as it works every time and I don’t need to worry about it. The bathroom is well-kept and they were even very nice to me when I broke a glass on the floor shaving. I can not recommend more highly the Gaia Garden hotel in Lampi, Kos. I will definitely return if I take another trip to Greece. I may post pictures on Flickr of both hotel rooms if I can figure out how to get pictures off of my phone (it was working earlier, but is not working now).
The best thing about this place is that it has free wireless internet. It is blocked by a WEP password, but it is easily attainable at the desk. I can use Skype in my room and talk to Diana for 0.01€ instead of 0.98€ If I was running the hotel, I would sign up for some VoIP service and offer free international calls - it has cost me about $1 since I got here to talk to Di for ages, and it has helped my outlook nicely - they should be able to charge $5 more and make money on the deal. The Internet is not completely reliable, but I don’t mind that much at all - it’s just slightly annoying if I get cut off from Di while talking and don’t have a chance to say good bye.
I spent a bunch of time in my room using the Internet, and then walked down the street at about 11pm. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find anything, but found a restaurant which is very nice that was open and had very good Souvlaki. Then back to the hotel to try Internet again, and go to sleep. It was very relaxing. I know why people come to the islands of Greece now: it is much more relaxing than Athens was. I was worried about everything in Athens, and on edge. Here I am very relaxed. Today I will try to find the conference hotel, and look around Kos town a little. I plan to walk a decent distance, and judge the bus service here so I know how long it will take to get to the conference on Tue-Thu. Then relaxation some more, and I think I will visit that place again today late. That was nice, this island is very nice at night.