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Europe Cruise Day 29
Monday, October 4th
Athens, Greece (Day 4)

Return Home

Today is return home day. Here are two clocks from timeanddate.com. One is Athens time and the other is home time.

Athens Time

 

Eastern Time (Home)

 

These are here just to show the differences in the times that are about to come.

Today is departure day. I am transferred to the airport for Air Canada Flight 829 that leaves at 1:15PM Athens time and arrives in Montreal at 4:15PM Eastern Time (home time). Then, after Customs and Immigration in Montreal , Air Canada flight 423 leaving Montreal at 6:00PM arriving in Toronto at 7:15PM. And finally a transfer to Brantford probably arriving sometime between 9:00 and 9:30PM.

The End.

How it actually happened!!!
(written November, 2011)

Well, I have finally made it to the last day of the trip. The first day of this web site for this trip was created in September 2010 shortly after returning. The second day was started a year ago today on November 22nd, 2010. I am not sure how long that one took but it was a while because of all the video excerpts on that page. Day 3 was started on August 27th, 2011 and Day 29 (this page) was started and completed on November 22nd, 2011 almost three months after starting Day 3 and a year after starting Day 2. Remembering many of the details has been a significant problem this far after the trip but with the help of the blog I created for this trip, Wikipedia mostly, and Google I have been able to fill in most of the detail that I think is necessary.

Here, taken exactly as I wrote it in the blog sometime shortly after returning, is how the trip ended........

Monday, Oct 4, 2010 – The Return Home.

This day started with the included breakfast buffet. The trip to the airport was scheduled to leave at 10:30AM from the hotel. Transportation was available so I left the hotel just after 10:00AM. The trip took 45 minutes in a Mercedes Benz taxi paid for by Holland America. Arrival at the airport, which is a long way from downtown Athens, was at approximately 10:50AM. Things were not too busy except at one check in. You can no doubt imagine which one! Yes, it was Air Canada, which had a line several hundred feet long with many people in it. It seems that the check in had just opened. There was a lengthy wait. I think it was about an hour from where I was in the line.

The luggage was 24.2KG which is too heavy by 1.2KG. It seems that the big line up, (there were still quite a few people behind me), deterred them from taking the time to charge me for it so I got away with it. Lucky Me!!!!

By the time this was all done it was close to noon so I was off to the next step which was Passport Control. Here there was another lengthy line-up. It took 10 or 15 minutes to clear this one. Then came the dreaded airport security checks. Luckily, the security check areas at Athens airport are configured close to the gates and each one only serves only a few gates so the line here was not too bad. I think I finally made it to the gate at about 12:30 for the 1:15PM flight.

With all the rushing around I had not had a chance to check the Boarding Pass to see what seat number I had received. It turned out to be 02K. They boarded the plane by rows from the back so as it happened I was one of the last to board. There was a minor mix up as some people had gotten in row 2 instead of 3 where they where they should have been. This was quickly resolved and all was well. It has been a long time since I have had a window seat that does not make me look around a section of the wing or an engine. It was a nice change.

There had been a technical malfunction with a temperature sensor on the plane which delayed departure for about 15 minutes. It was interesting that it was a technical crew from KLM that fixed the problem.

The flight departed just after 1:30PM heading for Montreal. The plane Air Canada uses for this flight is an old 757 or 767-300 ER (for extended range) and has not had any interior cabin upgrades so it still uses the old style video projectors on screens and no other real amenities. This made it hard to follow the route but I think it went something like this. The plane flew northwest from Athens, then north along the Adriatic Sea and over what I think was Venice, Italy. It continued north over the Alps and Europe flying just about over Amsterdam where I started from. This was quite bumpy, there sure seemed to be a lot of hot air over Europe that afternoon. Once out over the North Sea the plane appeared to turn west and flew over the United Kingdom and just south of Ireland before starting out over the Atlantic Ocean. If you are wondering how I knew the plane was over the United Kingdom, I looked down and saw vehicles all driving on the wrong side of the roads.  It took about 4 hours to get to this point.

It took about 3 hours and 45 minutes to cross the North Atlantic and the plane came ashore just north of the Gulf of St Lawrence. Since I was on the north side of the plane this was hard to confirm. It appears the rest of the trip generally followed the north shore of the St Lawrence River to Montreal. This was hard to confirm but there was enough information to indicate that this was the most likely course. As the plane made the approach to the airport in Montreal it flew right over where we lived when we were there 45 years ago. I was able to pick out the house.

The flight landed between 15 and 20 minutes late which was not bad since it was about the same amount of time late leaving Athens. This left 90 minutes to catch the 6:00PM flight (423) to Toronto. The first stop was Passport Control. There was a massive line-up. There was confusion and I got into a line that moved but not to quickly. I finally made it through there after about 45 minutes. I should note here that these times are estimates as I was in a great hurry and things where very rushed. I collected the luggage (which by that time was there waiting) and went out through Canada Border Services with no problem. Next stop was the connecting baggage check in where the bag was recorded and disappeared down a belt. The bag was checked all the way to Toronto from Athens but had to be claimed in Montreal for customs reasons. Next out of the arrivals, up stairs to departures and guess what, security again. The Gate was A50 so I found the entrance for the A gates, and there was another line. This one was not doing too badly. A person came along from Air Canada asking if there was anyone there for flight 423 to Toronto. There were several so we were directed to the front of the line and processed fairly quickly. One interesting thing at Montreal that I had not seen before was that they scanned your boarding pass at security. After all the checks I was cleared and had about 10 minutes to the flight. The gate was, as is almost always the case it seems, a long way away. If I had used one of the other security entrances I would have been much closer, but how was I to know that? I rushed to the gate and they knew I was coming apparently because of the scan done at security. That is a very smart idea. I walked in the plane found seat 13A which only had half a window that was shared with the seat in front. I found enough space to store all the carry on stuff and with 5 minutes to spare sat down in the seat. I really had to go to the bathroom but I did not have time. That ended up waiting for Toronto. One unusual thing happened on this flight. One passenger in business class did not like those strange special seats that they have and wanted to sit in a normal seat. The cabin crew found a person to trade and he did.

As it turned out there was not much to see out the window due to weather so I did not miss very much. The plane arrived in Toronto at the appointed hour of 7:15PM and I visited the washroom in Terminal 1. I had some concerns about whether or not my checked luggage would make it to the second flight. I must have just made it because it was the third or fourth bag out when they started coming out in Toronto. I was at Ground transportation by 7:45, and picked up by AirLink at 8:00 and home by 9:15PM. It rained almost all the way from the airport to home.

So, even if it was a little wild at the conclusion, Cruise 2010 as I called it, was very successful and most enjoyable.

I hope that if you have viewed much of this that you have enjoyed it. Many thanks to those who helped make it happen, Colleen Renton of Goligers Travel in Brantford for her usual thorough job of arranging everything; KLM for flying me there; Holland America, all their staff and shore excursion providers; and Air Canada for flying me home. Thanks to all!!!!!

Back again soon!

Page Created: August 3, 2010
After Trip Update Started: November 22, 2011
After Trip Update Completed: November 22, 2011
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 1:38 PM

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