Greece. It is one country that seems to be on the top of everyone’s dream travel destinations. As it should be! I have been fortunate enough to cross it off my list.
My friend Mona and I were beyond excited about our last minute trip to Greece in 2009. The flight from Chicago to Philly was no big deal and went smoothly as expected and the 10 hour flight from Philly to Athens should have been no big deal. That is until it seemed like they didn’t bother to turn the heat on for the entire flight, requiring me to literally put on nearly every piece of clothing I had in my carry-on bag. And to top it off, there was that dreadful moment when the pilot got on the intercom with an announcement….
“Hi Folks! We are about two hours away from Athens. I have some good news and some bad news. Let’s start with the bad news. As it turns out, we currently have no functioning restrooms aboard our flight. FAA regulations prevent us from flying when all restrooms are out of order. The good news is that we are near Milan, Italy and they have offered for us to land and check out what is going on. We will be making an unexpected stop in Milan and hope to resolve this issue as soon as possible and get you on your way to Athens. Thank you for your patience.”
WHAT???? Seriously??? The reason none of the bathrooms are working is because it is a frozen tundra on this flight and all the pipes are frozen! Problem solved… no need to stop in Milan. Words can not express the level of irritation I was feeling and I was not at all thrilled about our little detour to Italy.
Having flown on many, long international fights in my life (India), I fully understand the concept that there are no “quick” stops when it comes to large jumbo jets and landings. I have learned that at a minimum it is half an hour to take-off and half an hour to land planes, and in this particular case, however long it takes to fix all the bathrooms on the flight. We are already looking at least one hour less of roaming around Athens 🙁 Damn you US Airways.
In the end, our “pitstop” in Milan was not that bad. Just two and a half hours. Still, I was annoyed. But, I decided to not let that bring me down. We had finally made it to Greece!!! Mona and I got to the hotel and while we were exhausted due to the time change and travel time, we were too excited to take a nap. We quickly got ready and ventured out with our handy guide book. We figured, why waste time, let’s just head straight to the Parthenon!
On our way through the great, cobblestone streets of Athens, Mona noticed a coffee shop called Everest and decided to stop for a snack. Everest looked like what can be described as the Greek version of a cross between Starbucks and Cosi. It was like Starbucks because it had all the coffee drinks but like Cosi because it had all kinds of fresh sandwiches and salads. She ordered a drink called a Freddocino and said it was amazing and that I had to try it. It only took one sip and I was hooked. So much so that I just went ahead and ordered my own!
A Freddocino is similar to a Frappucino from Starbucks, but about a million times better. It doesn’t have that super artificial taste that a Frappucino has and it also isn’t made from a powder mix. It was just a nice, cool, tasty, coffee drink that was a great treat. Another one of these types of drinks that are so addictive, it makes you wonder what they really put in there!
Funny enough, for the 10 days we were in Greece, we looked all over for the chain Everest in search for the elusive Freddocino. Much like my story about Shambhu’s coffee in Ahmedabad, India, we did not find another Everest in Santorini or Mykonos:( Luckily we had one last day in Athens before heading back to Chicago and you can bet a million dollars we had one more indulgence of the Freddocino before we left.
It’s a funny thing… while I came back from Greece with a dark, golden tan, the trip started off and ended on a frozen note.