Posts Tagged ‘athens’

A quick flight to Athens

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Awaking too early as my phone had not correctly updated itself I decided to try to get the extra hour before I really had to be up. Waking this time at 2.45am by dad knocking on my door I felt quite awake and ready for the break.
Last minute checks and we were off, I decided to drive and actually got all the way to Birmingham without feeling tired; it was a holiday record!

Going through numerous checks including the near on complete strip down; where I had to get my laptop out of the bag, chain off, belt off, everything out of my pockets, coat off etc etc we sat in the lounge for only about 10 minutes before getting onto our KLM flight to Amsterdam. Set off in sun rise heading over Norwich way with little turbulence and a weird breakfast; 45 minutes later we were landing, 15 minutes later the plane had actually parked. Seems weird that it takes 15 minutes for a plane to get around an airport, 45 minutes to get from Redditch to Birmingham via car yet only 45 minutes to get from Birmingham to Amsterdam via a plane; amazing!
Amsterdam seemed a very rich fertile place with large estuaries all of which was very flat, that was about as much we saw as we had to go straight to our next boarding area.
Jodie had bought a bottle of water at the last airport as part of package little realising it would be taken off our hands soon as we tried to board our next plane. The deal wasn’t so much of a deal after all and didn’t we know about it… Jodie wasn’t impressed we could get scissors, a laptop and mobile phones through but not a bottle of water; whatever happed to our 5 basic needs!
Before long it was time to fly again, this time a 3.5 hour flight to Athens. The flight went smoothly with sandwiches, a chocolate brownie and various drinks. Flying over the Alps it was most picturesque, still with lots of snow on the peaks even though it is end of summer.
Landed at a very wet Athens airport at around 2.30pm local time, which including losing 2 hours through time difference.
Soon found our car in the car park which was a Seat Leon, looking relatively new yt somewhat battered!
We precariously joined the motorway and set towards Athens central where we were greeted with mayhem! Never seen anything like it, cars everywhere but in a lane, bikes going through red lights, horns sounding left right and centre for no apparent reason. Taking a few wrong turns was a big mistake, taking a three right turns you would assume would get you right back on track but that was not the case, it was near on impossible to find the route again. Eventually after asking 2 people who sent us in different directions we found the hotel, or so we thought… Turned out to be the Convention centre, but we knew we couldn’t be far away at all; or so we hoped after it taking some 4 hours to get where we are. We booked in and realised an extra charge was required for parking the car at 19Euros per night. The car park had a Hummer, Maserati 4.2l, Porsche 911 GT; but thankfully several other low key cars like ours too.
The hotel was 5 stars alright, with Concierge, large open areas, glass lifts, marble walk ways and that typical business vibe.
We got our room keys and settled in before going out for a meal, not knowing where to hell to go the concierge got us a taxi to a local Greek restaurant which was family run. Down a back street we were greeted with rain and a typical old Greek man. The food was nice and well priced, or so we thought; our first mistake was asking him to provide us with his recommended house wine, not realising until they has 2 bottled down them it was 25euros a bottle totalling our menu at 120Euros! We had a mixture of salads, lamb special, Mousaka and Bolognaise.
We headed back to the hotel and went to bed after arranging tomorrow.

Module 1 Motorcycle Training

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Started the day early as I had my DAS training, as per usual I was running late and found myself rushing around at 8.30 looking for important documents and protective clothing as the rain was pouring down.
I got to RMT a little later than normal but luckily not too late.
Soon got dressed up and ready, more-so than RMT as they had got me the wrong bike!
There was another lad with us for the morning who was preparing for his Mod 2, so we stayed around Redditch and Bromsgrove covering typical test routes. The weather was quite dismal but was a great experience to have covered it now rather than on my test for the first time. It didn’t seem as bad as first thought, although you have to be cautious of the wet, a bike still has a lot of grip.
Before long it was lunch time, I felt more confident than ever before, but still not entirely comfortable, realising I was having to over stretch for the clutch meaning I wasn’t using it correctly and still not slipping it enough.
We prepared the bike with a strong cable tie to help me out with the clutch and headed off to the Mod 1 test centre where I will be having a taste of the circuit; comprising of several module including pushing the bike, weaving in and out of cones, figure of 8, emergency stop, swerve manoeuvre, u turn and walking pace.
I struggled a little with the figure of 8 but felt very confident that I will be ok on my test. We headed back to Redditch and unfortunately started to splutter a little bit, suddenly losing all power and realising that the bike had been on reserve all day; meaning I had no reserve to get to any fuel station so had to drain a couple of litres out of the other bike.
By 4.30 I was home and knackered as usual, once more finding muscles I never knew I had!
It was all a mad rush preparing for the holiday as I hadn’t done anything yet.
By around 10.30 I had been to Tesco for last minute things, had a shower, packed my bag had yet another take away and ready for bed.