A Travellerspoint blog

The long road home.

Aka: Diary of a Hangry, Exhausted Traveler

View Greece 2022 on JackiesJourneys's travel map.

Wednesday, October 19

Alas here I am in the Athens international airport waiting for my first of three flights home. It has been a fun, fabulous whirlwind 11 days, and I am feeling oh so blessed to have had this opportunity. Everything came together and worked out so well. It was the perfect reintroduction back to traveling. And well you know what that means?! Time to start planning my next adventure cause 3 years absence was far too long!

After a minuscule 4ish hours of sleep, I was up at 4:45. Jen and Chris, two California friends from my tour, were coming to pick me up around 6. They had also extended their Athens stay, but booked their own hotel over by The Acropolis. It was easy enough for them to arrange a cab that would stop by my hotel on their way, thus allowing us to share the airport transfer fee.

They rolled up shortly before 6 and we were on our way. Luckily at that time of day, there were no traffic issues and we sped to the airport (literally driving so fast kinda down the middle of multiple lanes - cause you know, Greek drivers 🤣). By 6:25 we were in search of our Swiss Air checkin desk. We are headed to Zurich where we will part ways - me to ORD and them to SFO.

Once the counters were opened, we breezed through checkin and the security line. Chris stopped to buy a Greek coffee making copper cup…which turned into a long, drawn out saga of rebooting credit card systems. Jen and I went in search of beverages while she waited and waited. I nabbed a chocolate croissant (so good) and bottle of water. Here’s where my mind was blown: Pascale had informed us that in Greece, they cannot by law charge more than half a euro for a small bottle of water and the large bottles are capped at 1.5 euros. I figured all bets were off in the airport, but oh no! My water was only half a euro 🤯 In Chicago thankfully they will have water bottle fillers, otherwise I’m sure it would cost me a good 5-bucks. These Greeks take their water consumption seriously!


After sitting at the gate for a few minutes, I opted to go for a little walk. Hmmm…sausage pie you say?! Don’t mind if I do. Who knows how long it will be before I eat anything else besides the gummy worms I bought in Athens, so carb loading it shall be 🤣 And now I’m back at the gate waiting to board. The flight crew just walked by, so that is a good sign. And after a little bus ride and walking up the outside steps, I’m on board!


9:45 and finally in the air. After 20+ minutes of taxiing and waiting, I was just beginning to think we’d burn through all our fuel before departure.


There was some dozing for an hour or so. But when flying Swiss Air, your ears perk up when there’s chocolate being offered 🤣🤷🏽‍♀️😋 Can they make mine a double?!


Got to Zurich no problems, just a few minutes late. No time to get any food or water, so the starvation and dehydration continues. And to top it off, I’m stuck in a middle seat. I swear this is not what I selected yesterday. I am wondering if this is a smaller plane than initially assigned as I could’ve swore there were lots of empty seats. And that is clearly not the case. Ugh…this sucks 🤬

And it’s not just me: the whole seat thing is a giant cluster. So many people not where they thought they’d be (or paid to be). If they just get this one person away from me, then I can move my bag and at least be a little better. Still not the aisle I was anticipating but better (and they’ve done it!!). And just for future reference, gummy worms are not a meal so I’m really not happy. And it gets better: issues with a front wheel so takeoff is delayed. Cue the crying baby. This is not how I wanted to end this trip. 😫😭

One hour late and finally we are moving. So much for that precision Swiss timing my friends. Now give me some damn food already 🤪 Hopefully watching Downton Abbey: A New Era will distract my hanger and make everything better.

But of course, those crazy Granthams did make everything better, well aside from my hunger 🤷🏽‍♀️ Bad airplane food did nothing for that either. And not even so much as a tiny nibble of chocolate throughout dinner 😢 What is up with you Swiss already?!


Top Gun Maverick done and dusted and there is still over 3 hours left to this flight. Ugh - why?!?! No sleep and still starving 🙈🤪 This may just be the longest day ever.

Ice cream snack…hallelujah 🥳 And then a moment of panic when I saw a berry on top. Thankfully raspberry. But hell, at this point I may have risked allergic reaction even if it was strawberry. Too small of a container though - can I get a second?!

I may have dozed off for a brief few seconds. Now we are getting a very disappointing cookie and a cheese tart. The lady next to me is passed out with some specialty pastry on her tray. Dangerous territory as I may just gobble it up and she’d never know. Who knew traveling was such a hungry business?! Then again I’m at about 18 hours “awake” with a complete lack of sleep over the past 11 days. My only hope is to sleep the whole day away tomorrow. Although that would again leave me with a hunger issue. What’s a tired, hungry girl to do?!

About one more hour left on this damn plane. Then I get to sit in Chicago for what will feel like 6 years, but is actually slightly less than four hours. Why does traveling home have to be so hard?!

I landed in Chicago and naturally ended up in thee slowest customs line ever. Like I seriously don’t know what that guy was even doing with the people ahead of me. Luckily when I finally got to the window, it was quick and painless. Off to the baggage carousel (one of the stupid, obnoxious things about international flights), and woo hoo my suitcase rolled out shortly after I got there. Then bag recheck and a tram all around the the whole of ORD before it forced me outside and then back through security. Ok people, I’ve been flying for 19+ hours, is this really necessary (yep, still hangry, and now I have to pee besides 🤦🏽‍♀️).

At long last I was in the correct terminal and concourse, finally saw a damn bathroom, and could get me some food. After 21 hours of being up, that burger and fries tasted like thee bestest burger ever. Was it?! Probably not. But I am ok with that. Now to keep myself awake for an hour and a half until I can board this last flight.


Heading into hour 24 and my brain has completely shutdown. I can’t tell you how many people I have almost ran into. Boarding to GRB will begin soon and I can’t wait for this to be over. Then to block the hell that is traveling home out of my mind and start planning my next trip. But I do have a few more of these updates to type up and post. Thanks for coming along on my latest journey 😊


Adding a final little post about my ORD to GRB leg. There were these two loud women behind me that would not stop talking. It took every little bit of energy not to turn around and yell to shut up! As soon as I could bolt from the plane, I did. Walking out of security, I didn’t even notice from friend Joan standing there to pick me up and almost stumbled right by her. Yep, me telling her to look for the dead girl walking was accurate. With all the liquid things I bought (olive oil, liqueur, shampoo) I needed to check my bag. That came off finally and she whisked me home through the cold.

My apartment had dropped below 60 degrees, but no time to worry about that, although I did raise the heat up. I had mentioned to Joan that I wanted to shower, but she advised maybe not to in case I fell over. That was a very good tip as that just may have occurred. In the airport alone I felt woozy and like I kept bumping into people. So teeth brushing and straight to bed. I woke up a few times, but was out pretty cold for almost 11 hours 😊🥳 There is laundry and showering and shopping to be done, but first I lounge!!

Posted by JackiesJourneys 23:56 Archived in Greece Tagged greece travel chicago airports zurich o’hare

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