The next morning I woke up bright and early in preparation for my fancy Greek breakfast and when the door knock came, I opened my door and they brought in my breakfast to the room. Just a few minutes later, another knock came and when I opened the door, one of the hotel staff was gesturing out over the southern half of the island and wanted me to step outside. He didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Greek so I decided to trust him. Not really the logic but I decided that he must have something to show me and there were other people milling around so it must be okay. So I stepped outside and looked in the direction of where he was pointing. It had been raining all morning and there was now a break in the clouds and a beautiful, bright rainbow in the horizon. It was probably one of the most vivid rainbows I have ever seen in my life and it was amazing. I thanked him for getting me out of my room to see it because it was washed away just a few seconds later by the rain. And by thanked, I mean, I attempted to thank him in English, he got the idea but I’m not sure he fully understood what I was trying to say to him. Regardless it was very sweet of him, and I think he knew that I was grateful he had pointed it out to me.
I went back into the warmth of my room and decided to move my breakfast to my bed and eat breakfast in bed because I could. I took a relatively slow and leisurely time getting ready, getting dressed and packing the remainder of my life into my bag until it was time to grab my shuttle to the airport. I have to admit that the ride to the airport was definitely a splurge but it was worth not trying to grab a taxi and I had the same shuttle driver as when I had arrived. We chatted about my time on the island, what I had done and chatted about his favorite things about Santorini. I actually learned quite a bit about the island such as the fact that there is only a 3-4 month window every year where they can fix up the buildings because the rest of the year is all tourism focused. He dropped me off at the airport and I promised him that I would see him next time I’m in Santorini because I already know that I need to go back, and I walked into the airport.
I waited for my flight at one of the three gates of the entire airport. We were actually the only flight out at that time and eventually made my way onto the bus and then the airplane. We took off from Santorini and I was officially on my way to Belgrade. One thing about getting from Santorini to anywhere is that during this time of year, I had to fly through Athens regardless of where I was going. I actually sat on a regular size single aisle aircraft (Boeing 737 on the way there and Airbus 319 on the way out) so I think they could technically fly to other locations outside of Athens. But the airline I took as a local to Greece airline and I’m not sure they have as many destinations outside of Greece. I stopped in Athens for my four hour layover where I made full use of my priority pass and got myself into a lounge for the layover. I enjoyed some snacks and then made my way to the gate.
The Athens airport is super easy to navigate get through. I would say that it is one of the easier airports to get around and hang out in. Even though I had a four hour layover there, it wasn’t a terrible place to hang out while I waited for my flight to Serbia.
With about an hour before my flight, I decided that it was time for me to be productive and go get Serbian currency before I landed in Serbia. Funny story, I had actually tried to get Serbian currency in Seattle but my bank didn’t sell it. Then I tried in the Seattle airport and they didn’t carry it. So I tried in Amsterdam during my layover on the way to Athens and they didn’t carry it. So when I decided that I needed to try and get it before I landed in Serbia so I went to one teller and they sold it but had run out. So I went on a hunt for another foreign currency exchange desk and they had also run out. I decided that this was a sign I wasn’t going to get any Serbian currency before I got to Belgrade, but I had to make sure I got it from my hotel as soon as I landed.
I got to my gate, only to realize that the flight to Istanbul before mine hadn’t boarded yet and I was supposed to board in about 10 minutes. So I sat there and waited for something to update to tell me if my flight was delayed or what gate I should be heading to. Eventually about 20 minutes after we were supposed to board, they made an announcement and told us that we had been moved to another gate. So I booked it over to the other gate, which was a funny experience because I had about 100 other people following me and it was unnerving because it felt like people thought I knew what I was doing when I didn’t. But I made it to my gate, we boarded and took off, an hour later, but I was officially on my way to Serbia. I was officially on my way to my 30th country.