This is my second time in Athens. Last time was as one of the stopping off points on a cruise in 2013. It was supposed to be with Helen but as she was ill I went alone.
The time before that was when I was still at university in 1985. It was an enjoyable holiday but not for my parents. I was with a group of friends and we had booked a package holiday. We were booked into a hotel and being the dutiful son had left details with my parents.
When we arrived in Athens we were informed by the tour rep that we had been moved to another hotel. Given the passage of time I can’t remember why. I do remember that we kicked off but to no avail. I also remember that the replacement hotel was better than where we had booked. As it turned out that was for more reasons than simply that the rooms were of a better standard.
After a few days (one of which was a visit to the Acropolis at midday, don’t, it’s hot!) I did my dutiful son bit (again!) and phoned home. Remember this was in the days before mobile phones so this required finding a phone box and the necessary Drachma for the call. When I got through I detected a mixture of relief and anger in the voices from home which left me a little perplexed.
“Why haven’t you called sooner?” seemed to be the gist of the messages. I felt that this was a little over the top given I’d only been gone a few short days. After some toing and froing it transpired that the reason for the heightened level of anxiety was that the hotel we had been booked into in Athens had been bombed in the first few days of our holiday. This was news to me and, of course, it was news to my parents that we had been moved.
The bombing had made the news in the UK and upon calling the number provided on screen for anxious relatives to call my parents were informed that they had no record of us at all! They no doubt wondered whether we’d even gone to Greece!
Fortunately so far this trip has been incident free. Tomorrow we hit the town!