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Balkan Open Jaw. Part 2: Greece & Turkey  
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Posted (1 year 9 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 11918 times:

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BACKGROUND


Welcome to the second and final part of my Balkan Open Jaw series. In the first part I described my flights from ORD to IST and IST to SOF with TK providing some destination photos from Sofia and also from my hometown of Petrich. Here is a link to the first part. In this segment I will start describing an amazing road trip a good friend and I took to the Greek mountain region of Epirus (with photos of the Vikos Gorge, the city of Ioannina, the lake island of Pamvotis and more). I will then continue with some photos from the Thessaloniki region and my flight from SKG to IST. Finally I will close this report with photos of my 21-hour layover in Istanbul and my return flight to ORD. I hope you enjoy.


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/Map6.jpg
A reminder of the entire itinerary. Red lines represent flights and white lines represent travel by car. Created using the help of gcmap.com.

The segments covered in part II:
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/Mapsmall1.jpg
Labels: 1=Petrich, 2=Metsovo, 3=Ioannina and Lake Pamvotis, 4=Vikos Gorge, 5=Lake Koroneia.


EPIRUS: POSSIBLY GREECE'S PRETTIEST REGION


Our itinerary took us from the Bulgarian/Greek border south to Thessaloniki and from there we followed the newly-completed Egnatia Odos, a super-modern highway that features multiple (specifically, 76) long tunnels (some of which are a few miles long) through the mountains and an equally impressive number of tall bridges. I must say I was quite impressed by this highway. It didn't look like Greece at all. Our first stop was at the mountain town of Metsovo, located in a spot where the 3 largest regions of northern Greece (Epirus, Macedonia and Thessaly) meet. Metsovo, a cute little town up in the mountains warmed us up to what was to come next. Too bad that it was so foggy, we missed the opportunity to shoot some really nice photos of the alpine landscape offered by the surrounding mountains.


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Bears are abundant in the area around Metsovo and the entire Epirus in general.

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Santa Paraskevi church in Metsovo

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View of Metsovo town

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Reaching Epirus requires one to drive through tens of tunnels allowing an easier access through the mountains. One of them is the longest in Greece at 5km in length.

After Metsovo we headed further west past Ioannina (the capital city of Epirus, to which we would return later) and up another range of mountains to a bunch of villages known collectively as Zagorohoria. These picturesque villages made entirely out of stone are in the midst of some of the most unspoiled nature I have ever seen. One of the many rivers that originate in these mountains (Voidomatis River) is reportedly the cleanest in Europe (see photos below). We also climbed to a location that overlooks the Vikos Gorge (which as I mention below is considered by some the deepest in the world). Unlike most of Greece, which is relatively dry, this region is full of green forests, large lakes and beautiful rivers.


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Approaching Mount Tymfi

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Driving up the mountain surrounded by beautiful colors.

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A pretty house in one of the Zagorohoria (Aristi village)

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Voidomatis River. Many sources describe it as the cleanest in Europe, mainly due to the lack of mud in its riverbed.

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Aristi Bridge over Voidomatis. So beautiful

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It's so clean that if it wasn't for the reflection you wouldn't think there was water there...

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One of the Zagorohoria villages tugged away on the mountainside

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"Kolympithres" (translating to "the bathtubs") are little natural pools carved in the mountain stone by this small river. This is near the village of Papingo.

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If it wasn't so cold I would mind taking a dip

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Papingo village, one of the most remote of the Zagorohoria

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St.Vlasios church in Papingo village.

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People enjoying rafting down the Voidomatis

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The road we took to get to Papingo

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More of Aristi village

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Taxiarches church at Kato Pedina village

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Vitsa village

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Lovely colors near Vitsa

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You need some proper wheels to be able to survive here

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My new bovine friends

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The Vikos Gorge. According to the Guinness Book of Records it's the deepest gorge in the world. Of course the definition of what constitutes a gorge is ambiguous and therefore the above factoid is often disputed.

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Whether it's the deepest or not it sure is huge and rather steep too

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Another river descending through one of the branches of the gorge

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The Voidomatis as it carves through the gorge.

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It was so beautifully eerie up there: Just me, my friend, the lovely view and tons of bear poop everywhere. Not for the faint of heart, especially if you can't handle heights like me.

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The entire mountain is made of stones like these. This photo is from an area called "Stone Forest"


IOANNINA CITY


Our base-camp for this road trip was the city of Ioannina, the capital of the region and home to some 120.000 people. Ioannina sits on the edge of Lake Pamvotis. Within the lake there is an island (known as Pamvotis Lake Island or Ioannina Island) that has a small village of around 400 people. Those close to me me know of my love of small islands (and lakes) so it goes without question that we paid it a visit. As we were driving to Ioannina we passed by the town's airport (IOA) which appeared to be undergoing some kind of renovation. I also noticed a new control tower being built on the north side of the existing terminal. The airport is named after King Pyrros (or Pyrrhus), a ruler of ancient Epirus. The term "Pyrrhic Victory", referring to a victory that came at a considerable cost, was coined after him. There is only one scheduled flight out of IOA, heading to/from Athens with OA.


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King Pyrros Ioannina Airport (IOA)

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Hm, maybe the owner went a bit over the top with this?

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Ioannina lakefront

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The boat that would take us to Pamvotis Island

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Boat controls

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Lovely lake scenery. The lake is known as either Ioannina lake or lake Pamvotis.

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Ticket for our short crossing to the island

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Arriving at the island

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Cute little boats anchored on the main island harbor

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One of the many churches on the island (Koimisi tis Theotokou church)

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I loved the little stone houses on the island

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...just like the stone walkways between houses

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Looking across the water. The island is closer to the east coast of the lake than it is to Ioannina

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I love the fact that most buildings have moss growing on their roofs

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The interior of a tiny church

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Part of the island's defense system?

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Ali Pasha museum interior. A whole lot of guns and swords. Ali Pasha used to have one of his hideouts here.

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Some very oriental inscription on this sword.

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Ottoman-era coins

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The island is literally surrounded by reeds

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Traditional fishing boat

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Restaurants here specialize in crayfish, eels and frog legs.

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The old man in charge of the boat that brought us back to Ioannina

Once we got back in town we grabbed some quick food and then drove up the nearby Mitsikeli mountain toward the tiny village of Liggiades where our hotel was located. The hotel offered amazing panoramic views of the lake, the island, the town and the mountains beyond.


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A tower on the walls that surround the old city

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One of the many entrances to the castle

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A break for a tasty round of gyros


A few more words about the hotel. I won't talk about the views (the photos below will do the talking instead) nor will I talk about the cute stone huts that made up our accommodations. This hotel is unique simply because of its owners (a middle-aged couple and their daughters). The husband is an extremely friendly yet outspoken guy who literally gave us belly aches from all the laughing. Now get this: The guy has a Stalin fetish. A huge Stalin portrait hangs over his desk, he has planted little signs that read "CCCP" all over the hotel, and he even named the hotel "Mir" after the Russian word for "Peace". The reservations were made over the phone by my friend a few weeks earlier and during the booking process my friend had mentioned that he will be coming to Epirus with a friend of his who lives in the USA (me). Once we arrived the owner came up to greet us and immediately asked: 'Which of you two is the "American""? My friend pointed his finger at me, at which point the hotel owner turned his attention toward me and simply said: "We f***ed you in Vietnam". Hilarious. Don't go there if you get easily offended. However you will be doing yourself an injustice if you ever go to Ioannina and you don't stay at this hotel. The rooms were impeccable, the breakfast possibly the best I've ever had in any hotel in the world, and the hospitality (and entertainment) truly remarkable.


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Sign at the entrance of our hotel's parking lot

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Lovely stone buildings. Our room was behind the far left door

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Not the kind of thing you expect to see in a high-end hotel

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Our room had a traditional look and a Flintstones'-style bed

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Lovely lobby

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Nice views of Ioannina and the island from our hotel

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Traditional Greek "spoon-sweet" (whole fruit preserve) that the owner treated us to, alongside some freshly brewed coffee (all on the house!).

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Another look of the panoramic view of town later that night

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More of our hotel


After we settled in our rooms we jumped in the car and drove back to town for some more sightseeing and dinner. Ioannina looks great both during day and night.


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The pool of the fancy Du Lac hotel in downtown Ioannina

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Main entrance to the Ioannina Castle. It is known as the St.George's gate

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Illuminated walls of the old fortifications

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Metsovone cheese fried with peppers and onions. Delicious!


Washing it down with some Greek Mythos beer.

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The lights of the nearby village of Amphithea reflected on the lake

After we stuffed ourselves we took off for the hotel for a good night's sleep. The next morning we woke up at 7, packed our stuff and had a lovely home-made breakfast prepared by the owner's wife. We were offered some Greek-style apple-pie, Ioannina-style feta pie, homemade marmalades, freshly squeezed orange juice and some exceptional coffee. I wish I had this kind of breakfast every day! When we got back to the room to pick our stuff we found an unexpected visitor lurking on the floor next to the bathroom: A black mountain scorpion, apparently a harmless species that is common in the hills around the lake.

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Lovely morning view of the lake

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From up there we could also see IOA

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Greek-style apple pie for breakfast!

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Ioannina-style feta pie

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An unexpected visitor to our room

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The hotel is indeed situated in a great spot

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The Tomaros mountains

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The adorable tomcat of the hotel owner. He named it Pasok (after the Greek political party that was in charge of the government prior to the last elections) because "like Pasok, he does nothing all day"

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Waiving the hotel goodbye with one last shot of the lovely views

After we got back in town we did a bit of shopping (the area is famous for its silver and amber) and then headed to the Old Town, the section of the city within the old fortress. The town has a strong Ottoman influence and it shows in the architecture of its older buildings.

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Castle door

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Typical Epirus architecture

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Houses within the fortified part of the city

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Another castle door that probably hasn't opened in decades

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Mandarin oranges!

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An old Ottoman building

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Entrance to Itsh Kale or "inner castle"

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An Ottoman-era pillar with an inscription

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The grave of Ali Pasha, ruler of the region in the early 1800s (the same guy who had a hideout on the island).

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Fetihye Mosque

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The mosque was apparently build on the spot of an old church.

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Looking at the lake from Itsh Kale

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Bye bye, Ioannina, I'm gonna miss you

After one final tour of town we jumped in the car for the drive northeast to Thessaloniki where I was to fly out to IST a couple of days later. Not so long ago (until the mid-2000s) this journey required a 6-hour zigzag drive through the mountains. Now one can reach Thessaloniki from Ioannina in just 2.5 hours.


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Driving towards Thessaloniki

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More tunnels

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Driving east through the region of Kozani and its power plants that provide 80% of Greece's electricity.



THE UNKNOWN THESSALONIKI


In previous TRs I have posted a good deal of photos from the main sights of Thessaloniki. This time I decided to use the few hours I had in downtown Thessaloniki to visit some less-known parts of town.


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Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace building

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Abandoned buildings near downtown

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The Greeks are pissed off at the banks and it shows

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Old ladies in front of an abandoned mosque

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Neoclassical architecture is abundant in Thessaloniki

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The solution to Greece's problems? Hm...

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More neoclassical beauty

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The Rotunda, a building dating back to the 4th century

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Arch of Galerius detail

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The 8th century Agia Sofia church

Pretty buildings:
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Upper Town as seen from Aristotelous Square

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Aristotelous Square

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One of Thessaloniki's many signature desserts: "Trigona Panoramatos". Too bad I don't like sweets.

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Urban melancholy

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St. Demetrius Cathedral. Seriously ugly architecture if you ask me.

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Cute stray dogs

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The semi-abandoned Aladja Imaret Mosque hidden away from view between some apartment blocks

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Inscription above the entrance to the mosque

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Mosque roof detail

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The Roman Forum

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More of the Galerius Arch

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The guardian of the Arch

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The Greeks clearly have more ancient stuff than they know what to do with...

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Grapes hanging off a building roof in downtown Thessaloniki

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Aristotelous Square

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The famous garden clock

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The Olympion Cinema at Aristotelous Square

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Juicy persimmons still on the tree

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The White Tower (symbol of the city) seen in the distance.

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Huge tankers are always present in the Thermaikos Bay

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Thessaloniki Harbor


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User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (1 year 9 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 11926 times:

THE LAKE THAT IS NO MORE


On my last day in Greece I decided to do something that I wanted to do for a long time. Pay a visit to the site of (what used to be) Lake Koroneia, some 10 miles from the outskirts of Thessaloniki. This lake used to be one of the leading sources of fresh-water fish in Greece and up until 15 years ago had a total surface area of 45sq km. Now due to greedy irrigation for the nearby fields and excessive pollution the lake has completely disappeared (just a few muddy spots remain where the deepest part of the lake used to be). I remember when I was a kid my parents and I would drive by this lake (still in its glory days) on our way to the beaches of Halkidiki. Whatever is left of the old lake is a truly sad sight...

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The old lakefront. Notice the hook where fishermen used to tie their boats.

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Abandoned boats miles away from any water

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These boats have seen better days

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Walking on what (not so long ago) used to be the lake floor.

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An old abandoned building on the old lakeshore

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In the distance you can see what is left of the lake: mainly white salty residual

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A bit further down you can see some "wetter" spots. Mainly just mud.

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The "lake" as seen from a nearby mountain. It used to start at the left of this picture (where you can see some brown mud flats) and go all the way to the far right. A sad sight indeed.

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The formerly lakefront village of Agios Vassilios now stands miles from any water.


RIDING J-Lo TO IST


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Route: SKG-IST
Carrier: Turkish Airlines
Aircraft: A319
Reg: TC-JLO, "Ahlat"

With this and that it was finally time to get back home. The drive to SKG was all too familiar to me as I have done in plenty of times.


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Driving past the Titan cement factory on the way to the airport

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Finally there

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Landside facade of SKG

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I've been hearing about the SKG's new terminal building for years...


We arrived at SKG 3 hours prior to departure so I was the first one in line at check in (the desk opened a few moments later). I checked my bags all the way to ORD, got my 2 boarding passes with window seats and that made me a happy camper (as happy as one can be when his vacation is about to come to an end). Not much traffic at SKG these days but a few interesting birds here and there.

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Ready to check in at SKG

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An OS Fokker departing for VIE and a FR 737 that had just arrived.

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A CY Airbus leaving for either LCA or HER

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Interesting story behind this abandoned AZ Caravelle at SKG. Due to pressurization problems it had to land urgently at SKG on 23 Aug 1983. Once at SKG it was found to carry an illegal cargo of weapons so it was confiscated and it's been sitting there ever since. Today it's occasionally used to train firefighters, a fate similar to that of the also abandoned MALEV Tu-154B-2 that belly-flopped at SKG in 2000 and was written off (this aircraft is resting a few yards away to the left but it's not visible in this photo).


Security and passport control were very quick so I was airside in no time. I happened to be walking in front of the gate when boarding was called so I was the first one to walk down the stairs to the bus that would take us to the aircraft. No jetways at SKG yet, one of many things that SKG could use. A website that is not a disgrace to humanity would be another.

The link below takes you to the "official' website of SKG, managed by the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority. Click and laugh your head off:
http://www.hcaa.gr/content/index.asp?tid=121&lang=2

Those morons at the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority even had the nerve of suing a couple of amateur enthusiasts who created "alternative" websites for the airport (which by the way were vastly superior) on the grounds that they were "misleading" the public. No wonder SKG is going down the crapper with one airline after another abandoning it. When you are managed by useless morons you can't hope for anything better.

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Here's my ride as it taxis to its remote location. What do we have here? TC-JLO? To paraphrase what Marc (MSS658) likes to say: It seems like JLO will have the honor of giving me a ride today.

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Two A2 aircraft resting away from the terminal. I'm curious to try them at some point.

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As I board I notice this Mediterranean Air Freight Fairchild Metro III.

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-JLO is still wearing the old livery (from when it joined the TK fleet in 2008). I bet the real JLO never wears anything for more than a few hours.

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Bye bye SKG. You don't look all that busy today.

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Cabin view

The cabin appears to be less than half full. Unfortunately the guy in front of me decides to fully recline his seat right after he gets on the plane. The crew fails to notice this and his seat is still fully reclined during take off. The crew will do the same mistake on my next flight.

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Taking off from SKG. Notice how the other runway is being extended into the sea.

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Flying over a cloudy northern Greece.

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Excellent meal once more! Grilled chicken on a lettuce and tomato salad, a tuna and leek sandwich, an apple cake and crackers. Again, way too much food for a 50-min flight. We hardly had time to eat it before the trays had to be taken away...

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A crescent moon greeting us as we cross into Turkish airspace. How very appropriate.

The flight is just long enough to allow us to swallow our food and for the crew to collect the trays. We land at IST just as the sun is going down and we anchor at one of the jet bridges. From there I make my way to immigration knowing that I would most likely be stuck there for a while.


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Touchdown at IST

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A lot of red tails around


At immigration there was a huge line but fortunately it moved pretty fast. After about 15 mins on the wait I got my passport inspected by a Hedo Turkoglu (sans the goatee) look-alike who found my face suspicious and kept checking my passport photo. Eventually after I got my entrance stamp, I walked to the metro for the one-stop ride to my hotel for the night, the WoW Airport Hotel Istanbul.

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IST (Havalimani) metro station decoration

A NIGHT IN ISTANBUL


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My hotel (the one on the left) as seen from the DTM metro stop.

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Decent sized room

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Thank you but I won't be needing this

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The view from my room

After I settle in my room (which by the way was lovely) I get out once more. It's already dark but in the next 3-4 hours I want to see as much of Istanbul as possible. I get on the metro once more and then I change to a tram at Zeytinburnu. The trams are really modern and quite spacious but they are awfully crowded and a tiny bit smelly. After a rather long ride I get off at the Sultanahmet area. In the next few hours I see the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Yeni Cami, the Galata Bridge and Tower, and I even squeeze in a ferry ride to the Asian side. Not bad.

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Hagia Sophia

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Illuminated minarets

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Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Mosque)

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Galata Bridge and Tower

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The metal tokens one can use to ride boats around town

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The Maiden's Tower with the European side on the background

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Enjoying some turkish tea on the boat

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The boat (named Sultan Ahmet) that took me from the European side (Sirkeci) to the Asian side (Harem) and back

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The very colorful (at night) Galata Bridge

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Quiet street in the Sirkeci area

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Waiting for the tram at Sultanahmet

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At Zeytinburnu waiting for my metro ride back to the hotel.

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Apparently some Galatasaray fans created chaos at IST (a few hours after I was there) trying to terrorize the players of Manchester United who had just arrived for a game against their team. You gotta love the brainless Balkan sports thugs.


A TATL ROLLER-COASTER OF A RIDE

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Route: IST-ORD
Carrier: Turkish Airlines
Aircraft: A330-200
Reg: TC-JNC, "Bursa"


After a good night's sleep I wake up, shower, have a decent breakfast at the hotel and get ready to head back to the airport. My mission for the day is to spend all the remaining Turkish Lira I have in my possession.

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View of the airport and the nearby metro stop with a train approaching

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Istanbul World Trade Center near the airport.

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Waiting for the metro to take me to IST

Once I got to the Havalimani Metro stop I had to undergo a security check before I entered the premises of the airport. Quite interesting, I have never seen this before. I guess in Turkey they are quite sensitive to issues of terrorism. After I got through I found myself at the check-in area of the international terminal. Having already acquired my boarding pass at SKG I simply walked to the security line in order to get airside. Two security checks in the space of less than 3 minutes. That must be a new personal record. Having several hours to spare, and not knowing my gate yet, I just walked around the terminal, bought some stuff and looked at the traffic. A lot of TK birds of course but quite a few interesting Asian (and not only) carriers too.

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A rare Turkmenistan Airlines 757

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A visitor from across the Aegean sea.

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Mahan Air A330

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We're in Turkey alright.

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Lovely Turkish meal at the food court

Once our gate was announced I made my way there and realized that we had to pass 3 separate clearance points (document inspection, questioning and carry-on inspection) before we could even get to the gate. After I got done with all that I took a seat and I was soon surrounded by a contingent of 30 spanish-speaking pensioners returning home to the US after completing a tour of the Mediterranean (or so I gathered later on). A few moments later I'm also joined by two American evangelists who were returning home after completing a bunch of "missions" in the Balkans. Tim Tebow would be proud. Fortunately boarding is called soon after they sit next to me. This time boarding is much more orderly than it was at ORD.

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Our A330 getting a breather at the gate prior to boarding.

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Here's our bird as seen during boarding

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Legroom is compromised by the IFE box and footrest once more.

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A bunch of birds with the new TK livery next to us. Unfortunately all 4 flights I took with TK were on aircraft with the old paint scheme.

No chef to greet us at the door this time, but the same nasty seats as on the inbound are there to greet me once I get to my row. Fortunately my seatmate is a tiny old lady (a member of the pensioners' group I mentioned earlier) who occupies hardly any space. We push back in time and we take off not so long after that.

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Never heard of Ghadames Air before

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Bye bye IST.

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Flying over the western districts of Istanbul

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The Ataturk Olympic Stadium

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Flying over a cloudy Bulgaria once more.

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Mood lighting

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Menu

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Amenity kit in a tin box this time. Isn't it lovely?

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Amenity kit contents

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An Efes beer before the meal to relax me

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What may or may not be the Danube

The food yet again was exceptional. We were given the choice of a grilled chicken breast with vegetables and potato puree (which I picked) or a rigatoni pasta. We were also given a tomato/cucumber/feta salad, a salad of kidney beans in olive oil and a walnut/pear tarte. I have flown TATL with many carriers but it seems that only southern European carriers (AZ, OA, IB, TK) know how to feed you.

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Tasty first course

So here's a thing that ticked me off. After the meal, we were supposed to be distributed our arrival/departure and customs forms. An announcement was made explaining how foreign visitors to the US would need to fill both the arrival/departure and the customs forms, while US citizens and residents would only need to complete the customs forms (all of us who have traveled to the US more than once know the drill). A few moments later a couple of flight attendants started distributing the forms. When one of them reached my row I noticed that she was giving away only arrival/departure forms. Here's the dialogue that followed:

-Excuse me, I don't need this form. I only need the customs form
-What?
-I only need the customs form
-This is the customs form
-No, this is the immigration form. I need the customs one, the blue one.
-No, this is the form...


At this point I gave up. It was obvious she didn't know what she was talking about. I thought I would ask another member of the crew to give me the correct form later on. Some ladies behind me (part of the spanish-speaking posse, albeit with US passports) were also confused about the forms they were given. A few moments later I stopped a different flight attendant and I explained that we would need some customs forms. She just nodded and said "OK". Well, I never heard back from her. Long story short, I simply had to get up, go at the back galley, grab a bunch of customs forms and distribute them myself to all the people that needed them in the rows next to mine. That was quite unacceptable. If you are working on a TATL flight to the US you should know what forms are supposed to be distributed. This of course was just the tip of the iceberg. The crew was very unfriendly in general and to be honest they looked quite pissed off. I have flown with less than friendly crews plenty of times but this one easily takes the cake. A shame really.

The rest of the flight was spent trying to watch stuff on my PTV (my neck got stiff in the process) and attempting to sleep. The fact that the person in front of me had their seat fully reclined did not help my state of discomfort but what can you do? Once more the crew had failed to notice that his seat was reclined during take-off. Nonetheless they did ask him to un-recline for landing. Better than nothing!


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Excellent second meal of Turkish kofte with sauteed veggies and rice, smoked salmon salad, crackers and cream pudding with sour cherry and raspberry sauce.

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Getting ready for start our descent soon

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The night is about to fall

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Chicago's urban sprawl in sight

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Finally anchored at our gate

With this and that we landed at ORD about half an hour early allowing us to beat a bunch of other international flights, and thus leaving the immigration inspection area to ourselves. As per tradition my bag took forever to show up so I was very relieved to see it down the carousel after pretty much everybody else had left.


FINAL COMMENTS


So where should I start? Let's start with my overall impressions of TK. Well, TK was exactly as I expected them (on the basis of what I've heard from others). Their catering and on board amenities were excellent and superior to most of their competitors'. The aircraft were impeccably clean and well maintained. Another positive is the fact that all 4 flights were on time or early, a huge plus. Personally I was not a fan of the seats in their A330-200 but this is perhaps due to my above average height. Nonetheless, there is no excuse for the very limited adjust-ability of the seats. For me, however, the worse aspect of TK was their crew. With very few exceptions (1 or 2 individuals) the vast majority of the crew were extremely cold, often abrupt and in some cases incompetent (see incident with customs forms). Having heard of so many less-than-positive comments about TK's crews from other users it seems like this is an area TK has to work on a bit harder.

As for the places I got to visit? Well, it should be obvious by now that I've become a huge fan of Epirus and I'd love to go back there again sometime soon. I've heard of so many good things about the coastal areas of Epirus too so I'd love to see those parts as well, preferably in the summer. However, if you are a fan of mountains, please do yourself a favor and go there, no matter the season.

Thank you so much for reading.

Widebodyroga



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6782 posts, RR: 77
Reply 2, posted (1 year 9 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 11805 times:

Hi Widebodyroga,

great second part of your series, full of stunning pictures! Always nice to discover new places in a report. And all the food pictures made me hungry...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The link below takes you to the "official' website of SKG, managed by the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority. Click and laugh your head off:

Yes, you're right, totally ridiculous!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I bet the real JLO never wears anything for more than a few hours.

 

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Two A2 aircraft resting away from the terminal. I'm curious to try them at some point.

Let's see how long this airline will survive.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The crew fails to notice this and his seat is still fully reclined during take off. The crew will do the same mistake on my next flight.

That's really bad - they should have noticed during the cabin check.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
the WoW Airport Hotel Istanbul.

I stayed there as well - but it's overpriced IMO.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Enjoying some turkish tea on the boat

That looks good, beautiful color. Strong?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Once I got to the Havalimani Metro stop I had to undergo a security check before I entered the premises of the airport.

I remember they also had a metal detector at a mall near the airport, but the young female officer never checked anything after a beep.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I guess in Turkey they are quite sensitive to issues of terrorism.

I'm not sure. Remember my A3/OA report last year? Nobody seemed to be interested at first when I reported an unattended bag at IST...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Never heard of Ghadames Air before

It's a Libyan carrier, the A320 on the picture is leased from Saga Airlines.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Amenity kit in a tin box this time. Isn't it lovely?

Very cool!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Mahan Air A330

A300.  

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I have flown TATL with many carriers but it seems that only southern European carriers (AZ, OA, IB, TK) know how to feed you.

IB? When did IB feed you???

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
With very few exceptions (1 or 2 individuals) the vast majority of the crew were extremely cold, often abrupt and in some cases incompetent (see incident with customs forms). Having heard of so many less-than-positive comments about TK's crews from other users it seems like this is an area TK has to work on a bit harder.

I agree with you about the crews - they have never overly impressed my.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (1 year 9 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 11722 times:

Hey PH, thanks for your comments here too  .

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
great second part of your series, full of stunning pictures! Always nice to discover new places in a report. And all the food pictures made me hungry...

Glad you liked them. As for the food, I'm skipping lunch today so I'll try not to look at them again until after dinner...

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
Let's see how long this airline will survive.

From what I hear it's the only minor Greek airline that is actually led by people who are realistic and competent so there is hope...

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
I stayed there as well - but it's overpriced IMO.

Indeed, that's very true. I guess they want to cash on the fact that they are so close to the airport and right next to the metro line. No other hotel in the areas offers both (I think).

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
That looks good, beautiful color. Strong?

It was quite nice but it was also so hot I couldn't even tell its flavor. I had to finish it quickly because the crossing from Harem to Sirkeci is fairly short.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
I'm not sure. Remember my A3/OA report last year? Nobody seemed to be interested at first when I reported an unattended bag at IST...

Ah that's right. I guess there's a bit of an inconsistency then when it comes to how seriously they take security.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
It's a Libyan carrier, the A320 on the picture is leased from Saga Airlines.

Interesting. Thanks for clarifying.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
A300

Damn! That was a typo...  
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
IB? When did IB feed you???

On my 2 TATL crossings from ORD to MAD and back, 3 years ago. Maybe I confused you and you thought I was referring to intra-european routes? Yeah, no way IB would have fed me on those ones...

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
I agree with you about the crews - they have never overly impressed my.

A shame really. The Turks try very hard to promote their hospitality and friendliness through TK yet they crews are testimony to the contrary. It's a bit ironic.

Stojan



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1263 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (1 year 9 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 11593 times:
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Wow what a delight to the senses, those pictures from the ground   that honestly the "trip report" pics at the end kind of ruined the mood and flow of the narrative lol. Absolutely stunning pics from Greece and you were right when you mentioned to wait for part 2. Those places seem like time has just stood still, and life is as still as the photos themselves. Would be so nice to just get away to those places sometimes. You have an amazing eye for photography, and I'll be keeping an eye out for your reports going forward, (and will take the time to pull up your past ones!!). You're in my band of select a.netters (you know who you are) that capture life and bring it to us here. Thank you! Wow, I'm still speechless. (Not your fault you got to IST at night but those pics are less stellar in comparison to Greece)

Okay now to the trip reports themselves (yes, yes it is trip report forum lol), very surprised about the TK crews. Are they heading down to becoming EK as in a bag of mixed nuts. But it would appear this lot on the IST-ORD seemed to all be the sour kind. However TK's catering is really up there, and everytime I see those pics of the food I have to make sure I have something to nibble on while reading.

Once again thanks for sharing. I'm not overly fond of cats, but that tomcat pic is awesome. He really seems to be the "boss" in his area lol.


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6782 posts, RR: 77
Reply 5, posted (1 year 9 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 11440 times:

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 3):
From what I hear it's the only minor Greek airline that is actually led by people who are realistic and competent so there is hope...

Good to hear - hopefully they will make it!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 3):
Damn! That was a typo...

  

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 3):
On my 2 TATL crossings from ORD to MAD and back, 3 years ago. Maybe I confused you and you thought I was referring to intra-european routes? Yeah, no way IB would have fed me on those ones...

No, I understood that you meant long-haul flights. I can only remember bad catering on my MAD-MIA-MAD flights some years ago.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineCaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 684 posts, RR: 21
Reply 6, posted (1 year 9 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 11268 times:

Hi Widebodyroga,

wow, awesome report here, really enjoyed it. And yes, I have read the second part before the first part, but I was really curious to read about your Istanbul experience, since as you know I have also just been in that city recently.

Absolutely stunning pictures you have here about the Epirus region, that is really a lovely region. Have to admit that I have never heard of it before, what a shame. Cute villages, spectacular mountains, deep canyons and interesting looking roads to drive, that's what I would like as well.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
My friend pointed his finger at me, at which point the hotel owner turned his attention toward me and simply said: "We f***ed you in Vietnam".

What a nice welcome   ...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
A black mountain scorpion, apparently a harmless species

Are you sure it was harmless? I would have been scared as hell.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
and a FR 737 that had just arrived.

Hey, maybe from FKB, that's a route they have started just recently.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Excellent meal once more!

Looks really good, great meal for such a short flight.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
My hotel (the one on the left) as seen from the DTM metro stop.

I saw that hotel on the way to the airport and thought to myself, hey, what an interesting name for a hotel.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
In the next few hours I see the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Yeni Cami, the Galata Bridge and Tower, and I even squeeze in a ferry ride to the Asian side.

Cool, you have indeed managed to do and see quite a lot during your short stay. Almost the same things we did visit on our tour there, although we had 2 day for it (and that was barely enough   ) ...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Amenity kit in a tin box this time. Isn't it lovely?

That's indeed lovely, for sure a nice souvenir.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Long story short, I simply had to get up, go at the back galley, grab a bunch of customs forms and distribute them myself to all the people that needed them in the rows next to mine.

Now that's really bad, unbelievable, they should certainly know what forms to distribute, and even when they make a mistake they just should apologize for it and correct it. Such a behavior is really unacceptable. Such a shame since the rest of the product of TK really seems to be top, especially the meals looked delicious.

Thanks a lot for sharing your experience with us (and then I will check out the first part of your report, but that's something for the weekend)...

CaptainRed


User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1935 posts, RR: 24
Reply 7, posted (1 year 9 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 10742 times:
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Wow, what a great second report! It looks like you had a really nice vacation. The views are incredible!

Thanks for sharing everything with us!

Best,

Matthew


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 8, posted (1 year 9 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 10447 times:

Hi Stojan

Thanks for showing us around Greece and Turkey as well, I really appreciate seeing some destinations of the beaten path!

The return on TK looks nice as well, great to see an empty plane for you on the SKG-IST sector.

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1199 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (1 year 9 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 10436 times:

Thanks for the pictures of Ioninna. My mother had a friend from there and I did not realise it was so beautiful. Makes me want to go.

I agree with your comments about the meals. However I also find the meals OK on BA, OS, AF and Aer Lingus. However have not travelled on the last 3 in a few years and things change. All North American and many European airlines just don't want to spend the money on decent meals in Y.

Funny to hear that TK actually serve too much on short haul flights.


User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1703 posts, RR: 30
Reply 10, posted (1 year 9 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 10267 times:
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Hi Stojan,

Yet another wonderful installment of yours. Excellent destination pictures as well. Indeed that area looks very nice! As for TK: not much has changed since your previous report  I feel quite sorry about the crew's attitude in general. This is one thing where TK surely must improve. If they do, they belong to the top of the list methinks.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The road we took to get to Papingo

Where is my motorbike when I need it?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Whether it's the deepest or not it sure is huge and rather steep too

It looks perfect for rock climbing and long abseiling runs.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Restaurants here specialize in crayfish, eels and frog legs.

How groce...!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Landside facade of SKG

I really love the denomination of Makedonia with the triangle D. Greek is such a nice language to watch   

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The link below takes you to the "official' website of SKG, managed by the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority. Click and laugh your head off:

Just did that. Not even the most basic of info like arrivals/departures.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Two A2 aircraft resting away from the terminal.

Those look like nice colour schemes.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Unfortunately the guy in front of me decides to fully recline his seat right after he gets on the plane. The crew fails to notice this and his seat is still fully reclined during take off. The crew will do the same mistake on my next flight.

Not good. Did you address the crew on that? Or the person in front? I would...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
My mission for the day is to spend all the remaining Turkish Lira I have in my possession.

Ha ha, what a noble cause. Was it any problem? guess not 

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Amenity kit in a tin box this time. Isn't it lovely?

That makes a nice collector's item.

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlinePA330X From United States of America, joined Aug 2012, 19 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 9 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 10225 times:

One of the best I have read so far. The pictures are lovely and the way you present everything is well done. Greece and Turkey have some of the best sights the world has to offer. Again, I enjoyed reading a lot and good insight on Turkish Airlines.

User currently offlineglobalflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 927 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (1 year 9 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 10019 times:

Wow! Stojan, that was absolutely fantastic! Your pictures are awesome and I will have to check out your personal website to see if they are there as well. The only thing missing are pictures of you!   You are correct! That did not look anything like Greece. And your did a great commercial for the Hotel Mir which has stunning views. Again it is a shame that the TK service is as it is...great food, cold and almost non-existant service! I was in JCL DXB-IST-JFK (330-777) and it was the same thing. Thanks again for sharing your stories! Cheers to you! Will


Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
User currently offlinelewis From Greece, joined Jul 1999, 3629 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (1 year 9 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 10000 times:

Awesome second part for your trip report, I really like the pictures from Epirus, they bring back a lot of memories!

User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26957 posts, RR: 58
Reply 14, posted (1 year 9 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 9957 times:

Wow Stojan  

This has to be the best Greek TR and your best TR ever. I simply loved everything and you really showed the hidden Greece ! You should work with EOT lol...

Thanks so much for producing this amazing report. As you know I am currently in Greece and today was just a glorious day 20c sunny . We have the economic issues but this is still a fantastic country and thats brought home by your photos above and my experiences over the last fewcdays  


Regards

Philip  


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3256 posts, RR: 12
Reply 15, posted (1 year 9 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9677 times:

Nice report Stojan....you took a lot of great photos! Looks again like TK have great catering, but poor seats and poor staff.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The adorable tomcat of the hotel owner. He named it Pasok (after the Greek political party that was in charge of the government prior to the last elections) because "like Pasok, he does nothing all day"

Haha, cute cat.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Unfortunately the guy in front of me decides to fully recline his seat right after he gets on the plane. The crew fails to notice this and his seat is still fully reclined during take off. The crew will do the same mistake on my next flight.

I alwayd take issues like this into my own hands and tell them to put it up for take off/landing.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Amenity kit in a tin box this time. Isn't it lovely?

Looks great, and just like the LH C ones



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:MAN-LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-TPE-
User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 980 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 9 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 9630 times:

Wow, I think have to add that little road trip of yours to my bucket list. Amazing scenery, thanks for sharing!
TK looks good again, nice touch to have some Turkish food as a second meal!


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 17, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 9315 times:

Thanks for all the comments folks!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 4):

Wow what a delight to the senses, those pictures from the ground that honestly the "trip report" pics at the end kind of ruined the mood and flow of the narrative lol. Absolutely stunning pics from Greece and you were right when you mentioned to wait for part 2. Those places seem like time has just stood still, and life is as still as the photos themselves. Would be so nice to just get away to those places sometimes. You have an amazing eye for photography, and I'll be keeping an eye out for your reports going forward, (and will take the time to pull up your past ones!!). You're in my band of select a.netters (you know who you are) that capture life and bring it to us here. Thank you! Wow, I'm still speechless. (Not your fault you got to IST at night but those pics are less stellar in comparison to Greece)

Hey flightsimboy. Thanks you so much for your nice comments! The photos of IST (just like all the aviation-related photos) were shot with my point-n-shoot camera which explain their inferior quality (all the destination photos were shot with my SLR camera - Nikon D3100). Given that it was kinda late and that I was not familiar with how safe downtown Istanbul is during the night I opted for the less attention-grabbing point-n-shoot camera.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 4):
Okay now to the trip reports themselves (yes, yes it is trip report forum lol), very surprised about the TK crews. Are they heading down to becoming EK as in a bag of mixed nuts. But it would appear this lot on the IST-ORD seemed to all be the sour kind. However TK's catering is really up there, and everytime I see those pics of the food I have to make sure I have something to nibble on while reading.

Yes indeed, it is exactly like you said it. It's gonna be interesting to see how TK develops from here on. It's hard to develop gracefully when you grow so fast...

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 4):
Once again thanks for sharing. I'm not overly fond of cats, but that tomcat pic is awesome. He really seems to be the "boss" in his area lol.

Thanks again! I agree about the cat. It may sound weird but this is my favorite photo of the entire trip  .

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
No, I understood that you meant long-haul flights. I can only remember bad catering on my MAD-MIA-MAD flights some years ago.

I'm not sure how their catering is nowadays but back then it was quite good. It was their only redeeming feature because they sucked in every other way.

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 6):
wow, awesome report here, really enjoyed it. And yes, I have read the second part before the first part, but I was really curious to read about your Istanbul experience, since as you know I have also just been in that city recently.

Aye aye Captain! Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you like it. I wish I had as much time as you did in Istanbul. I wonder whether even a week would be enough to see everything it has to offer..

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 6):
Absolutely stunning pictures you have here about the Epirus region, that is really a lovely region. Have to admit that I have never heard of it before, what a shame. Cute villages, spectacular mountains, deep canyons and interesting looking roads to drive, that's what I would like as well.

It's definitely a hidden gem. Not many people know about it and maybe it's better this way. I've read rumors that TK will start flying to IOA in the near future. It would be interesting to see what this will do to the tourism of the region.

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 6):
Are you sure it was harmless? I would have been scared as hell.

That's what I was told by the locals. Maybe they just didn't want us to freak out? Either way it was good that we saw it as we were leaving and not as we were arriving  .

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 6):
Hey, maybe from FKB, that's a route they have started just recently.

Quite possibly. I did not check the arrival FIDS to find out...

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 6):
Looks really good, great meal for such a short flight.

Just like the good old days (if not better!).

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 6):
I saw that hotel on the way to the airport and thought to myself, hey, what an interesting name for a hotel.

Yeah, it is hard to miss. I could see it even as we were on the runway after we landed. As for the name... who on earth came up with it?  .

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 6):
Cool, you have indeed managed to do and see quite a lot during your short stay. Almost the same things we did visit on our tour there, although we had 2 day for it (and that was barely enough ) ...

Yeah, I need to get back there at some point for some proper (and un-rushed) sightseeing...

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 6):
That's indeed lovely, for sure a nice souvenir.

Definitely. It's going to my collection along all the other things I've "stolen" from various airlines.

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 6):
Now that's really bad, unbelievable, they should certainly know what forms to distribute, and even when they make a mistake they just should apologize for it and correct it. Such a behavior is really unacceptable. Such a shame since the rest of the product of TK really seems to be top, especially the meals looked delicious.

Agreed. I really hope that this changes. Also TK crews needs to improve their English skills. Their language skills were less than stellar...

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 6):
Thanks a lot for sharing your experience with us (and then I will check out the first part of your report, but that's something for the weekend)...

Thanks again! I hope you liked Part 1 too  .

Quoting 767747 (Reply 7):
Wow, what a great second report! It looks like you had a really nice vacation. The views are incredible!

Thanks for sharing everything with us!

Thanks Matthew! It was a great trip. I would love to go back one day and see all those other places I didn't have time to visit. Epirus may be a small place but there is no shortage of interesting things to see.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 8):
Thanks for showing us around Greece and Turkey as well, I really appreciate seeing some destinations of the beaten path!

Thanks Marc! Some people don't like it when a TR is mostly destination photos but I simply couldn't help myself this time.  .

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 8):
The return on TK looks nice as well, great to see an empty plane for you on the SKG-IST sector.

Yeah, it's always nice to be on an empty aircraft but I wish it was busier for SKG's sake. After a number of major airlines abandoned SKG in recent months nobody would want TK to do the same due to poor load factors.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 9):
Thanks for the pictures of Ioninna. My mother had a friend from there and I did not realise it was so beautiful. Makes me want to go.

Hey lychemsa. Thanks for commenting. It's quite interesting that you know of someone from the region. A visit is definitely worth it!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 9):
I agree with your comments about the meals. However I also find the meals OK on BA, OS, AF and Aer Lingus. However have not travelled on the last 3 in a few years and things change. All North American and many European airlines just don't want to spend the money on decent meals in Y.

BA and AF also offered some great catering on my latest TATL crossings with them but these were 3+ years ago too. I understand that most carriers want to save money on catering but I've had meals on some US carriers that can only be described as animal chow.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
Yet another wonderful installment of yours. Excellent destination pictures as well. Indeed that area looks very nice! As for TK: not much has changed since your previous report I feel quite sorry about the crew's attitude in general. This is one thing where TK surely must improve. If they do, they belong to the top of the list methinks.

Hey Nils. Thanks for your kind words. Agreed a about the crew. I wonder why they are always in such a bad mood. What do they do to them?

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
Where is my motorbike when I need it?

We saw some crazy people on bicycles going up. Masochists...

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
It looks perfect for rock climbing and long abseiling runs.

Along the cliff path there were a few memorials for people that fell. Quite scary...

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
How groce...!

You're a confused man :-p.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
Just did that. Not even the most basic of info like arrivals/departures.

Terrible, isn't it?

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
Those look like nice colour schemes.

Yeah, I like them too.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
Not good. Did you address the crew on that? Or the person in front? I would...

Nah, I normally stay out of all that. I suspect that the guy in question didn't even speak English so it would have been a lost cause to explain to him why he had to straighten his seat

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
Ha ha, what a noble cause. Was it any problem? guess not

Not a problem at all. I spent it all, except for a 0.5TL coin.

Quoting PA330X (Reply 11):

One of the best I have read so far. The pictures are lovely and the way you present everything is well done. Greece and Turkey have some of the best sights the world has to offer. Again, I enjoyed reading a lot and good insight on Turkish Airlines.

That's terribly kind of you PA330X, thank you!

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 12):
Wow! Stojan, that was absolutely fantastic! Your pictures are awesome and I will have to check out your personal website to see if they are there as well. The only thing missing are pictures of you! You are correct! That did not look anything like Greece. And your did a great commercial for the Hotel Mir which has stunning views. Again it is a shame that the TK service is as it is...great food, cold and almost non-existant service! I was in JCL DXB-IST-JFK (330-777) and it was the same thing. Thanks again for sharing your stories! Cheers to you! Will

Hey Will, thank you so much! Haha, I avoid including photos of me here. They'll ruin the atmosphere  .

Quoting lewis (Reply 13):

Awesome second part for your trip report, I really like the pictures from Epirus, they bring back a lot of memories!

Thanks Lewis. Maybe it is time to go back for a visit?

Quoting OA260 (Reply 14):

Wow Stojan

This has to be the best Greek TR and your best TR ever. I simply loved everything and you really showed the hidden Greece ! You should work with EOT lol...

Thanks so much for producing this amazing report. As you know I am currently in Greece and today was just a glorious day 20c sunny . We have the economic issues but this is still a fantastic country and thats brought home by your photos above and my experiences over the last fewcdays

Hey Philip, thanks! That's a great compliment coming from a Greece-loving person like you. Have fun in Greece!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 15):
Nice report Stojan....you took a lot of great photos! Looks again like TK have great catering, but poor seats and poor staff.

Hey Gabriel. Indeed, TK seems to be fairly consistent if anything. Always good at some things and always bad at others..

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 15):
Haha, cute cat.

I wanted to kidnap it!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 15):
Looks great, and just like the LH C ones

I saw people stealing other people's amenity kits on the way out. I guess I was not the only one impressed by them, haha.

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 16):
Wow, I think have to add that little road trip of yours to my bucket list. Amazing scenery, thanks for sharing!
TK looks good again, nice touch to have some Turkish food as a second meal!

Thanks Robert  . I think you should. Especially now that Ioannina is so easily accessible from SKG you should seriously consider it  .



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlinepalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 18, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 8314 times:

Hi WBR

Sorry it’s taken me an age to getting around to posting comments on your recent reports. Both were excellent. You’ve really brought to life a part of Europe I had very little knowledge of. Thank you!

Quote:
Voidomatis River. Many sources describe it as the cleanest in Europe, mainly due to the lack of mud in its riverbed.

Wow – great shot. Looks amazing. I would love to visit.

Quote:
Aristi Bridge over Voidomatis. So beautiful

Ditto!

Quote:
"Kolympithres" (translating to "the bathtubs") are little natural pools carved in the mountain stone by this small river. This is near the village of Papingo.

Super. That looks incredible too.

Quote:
Those close to me me know of my love of small islands (and lakes) so it goes without question that we paid it a visit.

Well I’ve learnt something new about you today!

Quote:
The reservations were made over the phone by my friend a few weeks earlier and during the booking process my friend had mentioned that he will be coming to Epirus with a friend of his who lives in the USA (me). Once we arrived the owner came up to greet us and immediately asked: 'Which of you two is the "American""? My friend pointed his finger at me, at which point the hotel owner turned his attention toward me and simply said: "We f***ed you in Vietnam". Hilarious. Don't go there if you get easily offended.

Yikes! Well you get all types of people in the world that’s for sure. The hotel looks great and I wouldn’t mind staying there either.

Quote:
The pool of the fancy Du Lac hotel in downtown Ioannina

Super shot!

Quote:
The adorable tomcat of the hotel owner. He named it Pasok (after the Greek political party that was in charge of the government prior to the last elections) because "like Pasok, he does nothing all day"

This made me giggle.

Quote:
-JLO is still wearing the old livery (from when it joined the TK fleet in 2008). I bet the real JLO never wears anything for more than a few hours.

Very good! I am sure it's true too  
Quote:
The cabin appears to be less than half full. Unfortunately the guy in front of me decides to fully recline his seat right after he gets on the plane. The crew fails to notice this and his seat is still fully reclined during take off. The crew will do the same mistake on my next flight.

Pretty lax. I’ve seen this numerous times as well. The Asian airlines seem to be much better (and also BA strangely enough) at enforcing the seat up for landing and take off.

Quote:
So here's a thing that ticked me off. After the meal, we were supposed to be distributed our arrival/departure and customs forms. An announcement was made explaining how foreign visitors to the US would need to fill both the arrival/departure and the customs forms, while US citizens and residents would only need to complete the customs forms (all of us who have traveled to the US more than once know the drill). A few moments later a couple of flight attendants started distributing the forms. When one of them reached my row I noticed that she was giving away only arrival/departure forms. Here's the dialogue that followed:

-Excuse me, I don't need this form. I only need the customs form
-What?
-I only need the customs form
-This is the customs form
-No, this is the immigration form. I need the customs one, the blue one.
-No, this is the form...

At this point I gave up. It was obvious she didn't know what she was talking about.

Agreed – what’s worse is when these people actually think they know what they are talking about when they don’t. Why not just give you the form you were requesting? Sigh.

Thanks for the pics of IST as well. I’ve not been there yet but it seems like a fascinating place.

TK looked interesting – apart from the food, which looked amazing, I can’t say that I was overly wowed from your experiences. Everyone seems to be raving about them at the moment but from what I read, the overwhelming theme which seems to come through is “wildly inconsistent”. I guess you can be lucky or unlucky with any airline today but I don’t see the wow factor that TK seems to attract from a number of people.
Thanks again WBR!



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinefidelidade From Brazil, joined Dec 2012, 29 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week ago) and read 8066 times:

I love the pictures so much from the trip. It is a part of the world I would love to go visit sometime.

User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1357 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (1 year 8 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 8016 times:

Excellent report. The destination pictures, especially in Greece, were fantastic. This is defnitely a beautiful off the beaten path region in the EU:...

I found SKG to be quite a let down, city as well as airport. Especially airport. This place is so cramped as soon as they have a few flights. Especially airside. What strange idea to pack some 15 or so bus gates in a corridor 50 meters long...

I had the chance to fly Astra from SKG to ATH and found them quite okay., Got the green Avro, which has green seats inside as well. Strangely enough it's difficult to book them, basically only on their website, and not on any online travel agency or even GDS... Not sure how they can earn money (I doubt they do).

Great food served by TK. Especially on the hop from SKG to IST this was impressing.


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 21, posted (1 year 8 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 7591 times:

Nice to see some more comments here. Thanks guys.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 18):

Hi WBR
Sorry it’s taken me an age to getting around to posting comments on your recent reports. Both were excellent. You’ve really brought to life a part of Europe I had very little knowledge of. Thank you!

No worries mapleprop, With so many good trip reports around it's hard to keep up with them or even keep track of them. I'm glad you liked my little sequel.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 18):
Wow – great shot. Looks amazing. I would love to visit.

You should. Greece is just over 3 hours away!

Quoting palmjet (Reply 18):
Well I’ve learnt something new about you today!

That I'm weird maybe?

Quoting palmjet (Reply 18):
Agreed – what’s worse is when these people actually think they know what they are talking about when they don’t. Why not just give you the form you were requesting? Sigh.

I wonder the same thing!

Quoting palmjet (Reply 18):

TK looked interesting – apart from the food, which looked amazing, I can’t say that I was overly wowed from your experiences. Everyone seems to be raving about them at the moment but from what I read, the overwhelming theme which seems to come through is “wildly inconsistent”. I guess you can be lucky or unlucky with any airline today but I don’t see the wow factor that TK seems to attract from a number of people.

It's just like you said it. I guess the food, the prices and the huge network is what is wowing most travelers at this point.

Quoting fidelidade (Reply 19):
I love the pictures so much from the trip. It is a part of the world I would love to go visit sometime.

Thanks fidelidade! It's a place that it's well worth a long journey to get to!

Quoting reifel (Reply 20):

Excellent report. The destination pictures, especially in Greece, were fantastic. This is defnitely a beautiful off the beaten path region in the EU:...

I found SKG to be quite a let down, city as well as airport. Especially airport. This place is so cramped as soon as they have a few flights. Especially airside. What strange idea to pack some 15 or so bus gates in a corridor 50 meters long...

I had the chance to fly Astra from SKG to ATH and found them quite okay., Got the green Avro, which has green seats inside as well. Strangely enough it's difficult to book them, basically only on their website, and not on any online travel agency or even GDS... Not sure how they can earn money (I doubt they do).

Great food served by TK. Especially on the hop from SKG to IST this was impressing.

Thank reifel. I appreciate it.

Thessaloniki has seen better days. I'm used to the town so things that would bother first-timers I don't even notice sometimes. As for SKG, it is really outdated despite the fact that it was renovated less than 10 years ago. I'd be curious hear more about your experience with Astra! I've heard good things about them but just like with everything else in Greece (except OA and A3) it is hard to book tickets with them. I once tried to book Greek train and ferry tickets online but it was practically impossible so I just gave up.

Stojan



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineaerdingus From Ireland, joined Dec 2006, 2830 posts, RR: 15
Reply 22, posted (1 year 8 months 15 hours ago) and read 7373 times:

I loved the persepective you brought to this part of the world with these tr´s. Food looks amazing. Pity about TK cabin...cheers for sharing  


Cabin crew blog http://dolefuldolegirl.blogspot.ie/
User currently offlineMH017 From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 1688 posts, RR: 31
Reply 23, posted (1 year 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 7225 times:

Stojan,

What an excellent TR about a Greek area not visitied much, and how beautiful it was, esp. with these fall colours !!!

Love your night IST pictures; so, the WOW hotel is acceptable for a 1 night's stay prior to a TATL ? In March/April I'll be doing a TK return IST-LAX-IST, and really look forward to this giving your positive rating regarding TK's hardware and catering...will be flying a 773, though  

Thanks, again, for sharing !

MH017/Pieter...



don't throw away tomorrow !
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 24, posted (1 year 7 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 7009 times:

Quoting aerdingus (Reply 22):
I loved the persepective you brought to this part of the world with these tr´s. Food looks amazing. Pity about TK cabin...cheers for sharing

Cheers airdingus! I'm certainly happy you enjoyed both TRs!

Quoting MH017 (Reply 23):
Stojan,

What an excellent TR about a Greek area not visitied much, and how beautiful it was, esp. with these fall colours !!!

Love your night IST pictures; so, the WOW hotel is acceptable for a 1 night's stay prior to a TATL ? In March/April I'll be doing a TK return IST-LAX-IST, and really look forward to this giving your positive rating regarding TK's hardware and catering...will be flying a 773, though

Thanks, again, for sharing !

MH017/Pieter...

Hey Pieter. Thanks for your kind words! I'd love to go back and check out Epirus over the summer too. I love mountainous areas in the summer!

Like I mentioned to you privately, I think the WOW hotel is a fairly decent option if you have an overnight layover at IST. As far as I know there are no other nearby hotels that can be so easily reached on the Metro. I'm sure you'll enjoy the 773 and TK's catering and hopefully you'll come across a more competent/friendly crew than I did.

Thanks again!

Stojan



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
25 adamspotter : Hi Stojan, Just realised I never got to reading part 2 of your series here! Another great report with many many stunning pictures! Greece sure is such
26 Post contains images Widebodyroga : Hey Brendan, thanks for your kind words! Indeed, a lovely place. If TK decides to start flying there it will make the region much easier to reach. Rig
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