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Luft Me Up! Greek Lakes & Paxoi Islands  
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 12829 times:

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/Banner1_zps8098f8d6.jpg

Background

After my amazing trip to the Greek region of Epirus last year I was eager to return and explore further that lovely part of the world. The plan was simple: Fly from Chicago (where my wife and I live) to Bulgaria, visit my family, then drive across the border to spend some time on the Epirus mountains and beaches, and then fly to Austria in order to cool down before heading back home to Chicago. I won't bore you too much with how we booked the flights. Suffice it to say that we chose to fly ORD-FRA-SOF with LH, then fly out of SKG to FRA (on A3) and then from FRA to INN (on OS/VO) for a couple of days on the Alps. From there, back to FRA (with OS/VO) and finally onward to ORD (with LH).

This was meant to be my first visit to INN and the first time flying with Austrian/Tyrolean. No new aircraft types for me this time. However both TATL segments were scheduled on a 747, which is always exciting. Surprisingly, this was also meant to be my first TATL crossing on LH.

Here's a map of the entire trip:
http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/aM1x_zps28bbad34.jpg


I've decided to break our trip down to 2 segments in order to make it more manageable to read. Here's a map of what's to be covered in this first part:
http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/aM2x_zps6330104a.jpg

Pre-Flight

A few days before heading out I went to a bank on the South Side of Chicago to make some foreign currency. Here's the dialogue (believe me, this is not made up) between myself and the young female cashier, who didn't seem to be in a particularly good mood:

-Hi. I would like to buy some foreign currency, please. I would like to get the equivalent of 400 US dollars in Euros
- (blank stare) You mean, you'd like 400 Eurodollars or 400 US dollars turned into Eurodollars?
-Eurodollars?
-Yeah, do you want to pay 400 US dollars or get 400 Eurodollars?
-You mean Euros.
-Huh?
-They're called Euros.
-Same thing.


___________


In the days prior to our departure I was getting a bit nervous about the TATL segment of our trip. Out of Lufthansa's 22 Boeing 747s, only 17 had been retrofitted with the new interior (meaning PTVs on every seat). Would we be on a retrofitted 747, or would we be unlucky enough to get one without the new interior (meaning overhead monitors only)? The day before we were to leave I twitted LH asking what registration was to operate the next day's afternoon ORD-FRA flight. To my surprise, a few hours later LH got back to me saying that D-ABVH would be our aircraft. I checked online and, to my delight, I found out that D-ABVH was retrofitted! How excellent.

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/Twitter_zps5675f334.jpg
LH's response to my twitter question. (By the way, I don't actually have a real twitter account. I just created one to ask LH this question. I doubt anyone cares for what I have to say).


Continued below



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
35 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 12916 times:

Sleepless over the Atlantic

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/B1_zps7b834421.jpg

The day had finally arrived. A taxi ride and $40 later we were among the first in line for check-in at LH's counters at ORD. A rather cold but über-efficient gentleman had us (and our luggage) checked-in in 30 seconds. It felt like we were in Germany without even having left ORD yet! Security was thankfully not too busy so we were through in less than 10 minutes. I wish every visit to ORD was like that.

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5164xx_zpsa73e1651.jpg
Stalking our flight's crew to the gate


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5168x_zpsbe25c7f2.jpg
Here's our bird hidden behind the gate and a bunch of jetbridges.


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5167x_zps1ae75835.jpg
Confirming that this is indeed D-ABVH.


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5158x_zps4c880510.jpg
ORD was much busier this time than the last time I was here


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1904x_zps0a76a363.jpg
And what do I see in the background as we are lined up for boarding?


Knowing that we wouldn't be eating any American food for the next 2 weeks, my wife and I decided to sit down and eat at... an Italian restaurant, not too far from our gate. The gate itself (B17) had very limited seating and to make things worse, it was flanked by 2 other gates that offered hardly any seating themselves. Not ideal when you have a 747 and 2 more aircraft-worth of passengers to accommodate. I was expecting a chaotic and messy boarding but what followed left me speechless. Our boarding must have been the fastest and most efficient boarding I've witnessed in my 15 years of flying. All passengers were asked to line up according to the row they were seated (the gate crew had put labels indicating where everyone should line up, kinda like Southwest) and then we were asked to start boarding with those seated at the back starting first. Hallelujah! Everyone was on board in no time and with very little hassle. So freaking simple, so unbelievably efficient.

I was delighted to see a tiny old lady seated in the seat in front of me. In my experience old ladies don't tend to recline their seats. However, before boarding was completed, a middle-aged German guy came over and pointed out that she was seating at his seat. Darn, this guy certainly looked the recliner-type. Sure thing, for the next 8 hours he kept his seat in the fully reclined position...

My wife and I had (on purpose) selected middle-section aisle seats (I find them much more functional than window seats on long-hauls, especially when there is hardly anything to see outside). The seats themselves were not too bad. In fact I was happy with the pitch and the headrest was rather comfortable. The IFE touch-screen on my seat was somewhat unresponsive but I've seen much worse. Not the greatest selection of shows or movies either but enough to keep you busy for a few hours.

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1915x_zps448d3675.jpg
Decent pitch


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1914x_zps4c0dfaae.jpg
My entertainment for the next few hours


Push back was on time and after a long take-off we were finally Europe-bound. It didn't take long for the service to start, initially with snacks and drinks, followed by the meal and more drinks. The meal choices were chicken and a vegetarian option. Both my wife and I went with the chicken. The chicken was somewhat flavorless, as were the vegetables, leaving just the potatoes to save the day. The salad was pretty standard. The pineapple mousse dessert however was abysmally nasty. Not a terribly good meal but the metal cutlery was a plus!

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1917x_zpsd50a1639.jpg
Pre-meal snack


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1927x_zps9d87977e.jpg
The meal: Chicken, roasted potatoes and mixed vegetables. A green salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing, Monterey jack cheese and a rather nasty pineapple mousse with chocolate shavings


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1923x_zps0c451eb7.jpg
The guy in front of me had some serious issues with his PTV


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1928x_zps4f7a960c.jpg
Pre-landing snack. Fruit salad, muffin and a shortbread cookie


The crew was a mix of male and female attendants. They all appeared to be in a good mood and were very polite, even if it came across as somewhat artificial at times. I'll take that over the cold-hearted TK attendants any day!

After dinner I opted for a Bailey's hoping that the alcohol would relax me and allow me to sleep. Alas, it was not meant to be. Not even the multitude of boring movies was enough to make me fall asleep. I spent the rest of the flight staring at my PTV or looking at the moving map on the overhead screens. About 90 minutes before landing we were served a snack box consisting of a muffin, a fruit salad and shortbread cookies. Not my kind of breakfast but then again I'm a bit prejudiced against sweet foods.

We landed at FRA on time and were greeted by an eerily quiet airport (it was quite early after all). This, combined with the jet-lag that was kicking in by now, made me feel like I was in a dream. We now had 3 hours to kill until our connecting flight to SOF.


Flying Lufthansa Balkan Style

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If you ever find yourself in FRA, near the B gates, and you need to use the bathrooms then pray that it's not 7:30am. Apparently that's the time all bathrooms are cleaned simultaneously. Or so I found out while trying to find a restroom that was available. It took me 20 minutes to find one I could walk in. Our 3 hours in FRA reminded me of how much exciting traffic European airports get. While 90% of traffic at ORD is UA, AA or DL, in FRA you get to see all sorts of fruits: Widebodies from Namibia, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Singapore, turboprops from Austria, Embraers from Azerbaijan and Bulgaria, airbuses from Croatia...You name it. Despite my exhaustion, I had a great time looking at the action on the apron.

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5218x_zps21468045.jpg
Hello Frankfurt. It's been a long time


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1932x_zps48bf0faa.jpg
On the SkyLine train travelling between T1-AZ and T1-BC


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5173x_zps8cfd3cc8.jpg
Some beautiful Asian widebodies lined up next to our gate


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5192x_zpscea3222e.jpg
An interesting collection of aircraft in the distance. A Privatair 737, a DHL 757 and a Thomas Cook/Condor 767


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5205x_zpsdd7f37ab.jpg
Now, that's something we don't ever see at ORD


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5210x_zpsfb45777e.jpg
I see these guys land at ORD quite often


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5217x_zpsc077a652.jpg
Air Canada had a surprisingly large number of widebodies laying around


In the meanwhile, we had found our gate and set camp there. We were scheduled to fly an A320, but upon inspection I saw an A321 anchored at our jet-bridge. Splendid. Pretty much everyone at the gate was Bulgarian, except from the 2 compulsory Japanese businessmen you find on every flight. Boarding was your typical Balkan affair: Like scrummaging rugby players, everyone converged in front of the gate, fighting for a spot in the sun. After all, lines are for weaklings and idiots. My wife asked me how was it physically possible that the guy who was behind her a moment ago was now already in the jetbridge while we still had 20 people in front of us. "It's an art, honey" I reminded her. Welcome to the Balkans.

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1947x_zps55674dde.jpg
Our aircraft at the gate


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1950x_zps94c097e7.jpg
In situations like these I'm glad jet-bridges are as narrow as they are so that they force everyone to form a line


This was a completely full flight. To make things worse, many passengers were traveling with screaming toddlers. This however was not the worse part of this flight. You see, it appears that many of my compatriots have not yet mastered the skill of covering their mouth when coughing. If they have to cough then they just do so, even if it has to be in your face. A coughing and sneezing frenzy by some fellow passengers in my vicinity made sure than I spent much of the subsequent week nursing a cold.

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1951x_zps4c25f8e3.jpg
Pretty standard pitch


The aircraft (D-AISU - "Nördlingen") was in great condition and the seats were more comfortable than expected. We pushed back on time and took off over sunny Frankfurt a few moments later. Lovely views of the German countryside this morning. We headed southwest, scheduled to fly over Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia before entering Bulgarian airspace.

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1965x_zpsbed10a38.jpg
Shortly after take-off looking back at FRA and Frankfurt's skyline in the distance


I was pleasantly surprised to see two decent size half-sandwiches served as a meal on this flight. One contained cheese, ham and pickled peppers and the other was vegetarian. Long gone are (I hope) the days when LH gave you a small bread roll with a piece of cheese in it, in flights like these. The crew, once more, was very pleasant and helpful, always with a smile on their faces.

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1967x_Frankfurt_Egelsbach_QEF_zps1c01f6ed.jpg
Overflying the Frankfurt Egelsbach (QEF) Airport


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1971x_Miltenberg_zps3b4d7c5c.jpg
Over the town of Miltenberg


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The rather nice sandwiches we were served shortly after take-off


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1978x_zps70f73a20.jpg
Flying over MUC


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1985x_sz_zps6c93fe64.jpg
It was a nice surprise to see SZG and Salzburg in the distance


The rest of the flight was overall uneventful. Once we reached Slovenia, clouds moved in so there was not much to see outside. My wife managed to get some sleep but I remained awake the entire way. I knew I was in for a nasty jet-lag in the days to come. The clouds finally cleared near western Bulgaria.

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_1994x_zps757094a4.jpg
The disbanded Dobroslavtsi Air Base, outside Sofia


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_2003x_zps3398e131.jpg
The town of Elin Pelin, just east of SOF


Arrival at SOF was on time. We looped around the city and landed from the East. We were seated near the front of the plane so we managed to be of the first few to disembark. This allowed us to beat everybody else to immigration. Then we arrived at the still empty luggage claim area. It was just us and a 40-year old Bulgarian fella, who (completely unfazed by our presence) let loose a loud fart. Yes, I was definitely home.

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_2011x_zps551d69a8.jpg
Looking at SOF shortly after landing. Another LH aircraft seems to have beaten us there


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_2017x_zpsa193a124.jpg
A lot of abandoned-looking hangars and aircraft


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_2019x_zpsa05965bd.jpg
This old Balkan Tu-134 is definitely abandoned. Quite sad.


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_2025x_zpsa7f50256.jpg
Getting ready to anchor at the gate


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Welcome to Mteland? Am I in the wrong country?


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_2035x_zps33dedd1a.jpg
SOF's old-school logo at the luggage claim area


With our suitcase collected we crossed to the arrivals area, relieved that everything had gone according to plan so far. The plan now was to go to central Sofia and get on the first bus to my hometown of Petrich. However, exhausted as we were, we decided to check-in at a hotel, get some sleep, and then take a bus the next morning. We grabbed a taxi and headed to the Kempinski Zografski Hotel, a place I was fairly familiar with since my stay there last November. I asked for a room on a floor as high up as possible in order to allow my wife to see a panormic view of Sofia. She had been with me to Bulgaria before, but she had never been to Sofia. We got a room on the 18th floor, but before we could enjoy the views, we first had to get some much needed sleep...

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5230_zps220ddea4.jpg
Cute


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5241x_zps88f02297.jpg
No shortage of commie-blocks in Sofia


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5248xx_zps2a942c58.jpg
I can think of many better uses for all that gold atop the Nevski Cathedral's dome


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5251x_zpsb0cde25b.jpg
Sofia's architecture is slowly acquiring some more color


Petrich. Behind the Glitz and Glamour

The next morning, rested and after a quick breakfast of Bulgarian pastries, we hopped on a taxi and got to Sofia's central bus station. We got out tickets and jumped onto a sort-of-a-bus vehicle (see below) destined for Petrich. Unlike most Bulgarian drivers, our bus driver was extremely slow and I would not be exaggerating if I told you that we did not overtake a single vehicle during the first 3 hours of the journey. Not even a Lada, not even a Trabant, not even a Wartburg. This perhaps had to do with the fact that the driver spent more than half of the journey talking on his smart phone or frantically searching for something online. I always admired people that can multitask.

Our trip included a scheduled stop at the Blagoevgrad central bus station. However, in a move that only Bulgarian logic could explain, our driver decided to stop at a tiny rest area about 5 miles outside of Blagoevgrad for "a ten minute break". Why did he have to do this when we were supposed to stop at Blagoevgrad for a 10 minute break anyway? I'm suspecting a commission from the purchases made at the rest area's coffee shop had something to do with it...

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_2045x_zps2b11b594.jpg
A look at Sofia's central bus station as we're departing for Petrich


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_2050x_zpsdc3e923e.jpg
Much of central Sofia's roads are not made of asphalt but of granite blocks, which makes driving on them very noisy


From Sofia we drove south, though a bunch of construction sites before reaching the highway. Soon a thunderstorm caught up with us, rendering any kind of landscape photography impossible. We also drove on the highway strip of Dupnitsa (a bad photo of which you can see here), which was (maybe still is) intended for emergency military aircraft landings. We finally made it to Petrich in the afternoon and were welcomed by a severe hail storm.

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_6686x_zps43355e6c.jpg
Arriving at Petrich


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_2062x_zps9b2f6c0e.jpg
The something-like-a-bus thing that brought us to Petrich


It was great to be back in Petrich. My little hometown doesn't have much to offer in terms of attractions, but here are a few photos:

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_6691x_zpsaf7e4908.jpg
The commie-style shopping center. I have purchased many an item from here (most of which didn't last a week).


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_6692x_zps2605ac38.jpg
Bvlgari... er, I mean Bulgari offers quality knock-off goods at excellent prices. They are huge in New York I hear.


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_6706x_zpse1d4913c.jpg
Not sure I'd like to stay here


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5282x_zpsbdf49e92.jpg
Some home delicacies, served in traditional Bulgarian clay pots, washed down with some nice Bulgarian lager


Continued below



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 2, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 12878 times:

Roadtrip Summer Edition

After a few days at home, myself, my wife and my best friend, who we shall call "KG", drove off to an unforgettable road trip in Greece. We intended to visit the city of Ioannina in Epirus, the coastal town of Parga, the islands of Paxoi and Antipaxoi in the Ionian sea and then, on the way back home, visit the beautiful lake town of Kastoria and the twin Prespa lakes. Here are some photos from the trip accompanied by brief commentary:

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_6716x_zps0529410c.jpg
Driving toward the border past some sandy hills


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_6677_zps73a4a3cf.jpg
See you later Bulgaria


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_6740x_zps57e5ba9b.jpg
Graffitis everywhere. We must be in Greece.


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5333x_zpsa592bf61.jpg
Near Thessaloniki we saw this SU airbus getting ready to land at SKG


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5493x_zpsedde512a.jpg
Driving by some power-plants near Kozani


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_6297x_zps4b13fefd.jpg
We drove through more than 20 major tunnels (some of them several miles long) on our way to Epirus


Ioannina Revisited

Some of you may remember Ioannina from a previous report of mine. This lovely city is the capital of the Epirus region and lies next to lake Pamvotis, home to an inhabited island. We didn't have time to visit the island this time, but you can see some photos of the island from my last visit here and here.

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_6265x_zps523009f6.jpg
Arriving at Ioannina


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_6275x_zps4c15028a.jpg
Lovely lakefront with boats taking people to the island across the lake


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_6283x_zps32c0db91.jpg
Many people were fishing at the lake. I saw some discarded carp by the sidewalk. Surely fish can't be so abundant that is thrown away?


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5535x_zps00e93e8a.jpg
Rowing is pretty big in Ioannina and the Greek national team trains here regularly


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5538xx_zps435b973c.jpg
We stopped for a break to drink some divine Frapogala


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5540x_zps84e69565.jpg
Looking at the boats that take people to the Ioannina Lake island



Parga. Epirus' coastal gem

After leaving Ioannina, we headed further west toward Parga. Before getting there however, we decided to stop outside the town of Glyki, near where the Acheron river springs from underneath the ground. The source of the Acheron River is the mythological gateway to Hades, where Ancient Greeks believed that souls entered the underworld. However, the place didn't look hellish at all. In fact, it looked like heaven. The beautiful colors of Acheron rivaled those of Voidomatis, a river further north in Epirus that I visited last November (see a couple of photos here and here). We were quite far from the main source of the river but it was great to see water springing out of rocks and joining the main flow downstream...


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5609x_zps3d1f3e8c.jpg
The lovely Acheron river, with Arnold Schwarzenegger having a good time in the background


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5617x_zps1fc6be8b.jpg
Despite the freezing cold waters I can't blame those kids for wanting to jump in


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/SAM_2065_zps5c0bbf18.jpg
A guy I once met said that the Epirus rivers are the only places he could "swim and drink water simultaneously".


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5619x_zpsdd07c03e.jpg
I wasn't brave enough to jump in so I just admired the colors.


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5626x_zpsb5e39b57.jpg
The lilypad-covered lake of Kalodiki, not too far from the Acheron river


After seeing Acheron, we drove past a bunch of mountains before finally arriving at Parga. We left our stuff at our hotel and went out for a swim and to enjoy the town. It's a beautiful and very colorful place. Too bad we only had less than 2 days to enjoy it. While there, we treated ourselves to a bunch of Greek delicacies including PlaneHunter's favorite food in the whole world. Here are some photos from around Parga:

http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5687x_zpsccff3143.jpg
Parga is full of old houses, many of them very well-preserved


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5667x_zps006659b7.jpg
One of Parga's trademarks: The island of Panagia, so close to the beach one can swim to


http://i1285.photobucket.com/albums/a593/JCNadal_xxxx/LH1/DSC_5671x_zps0ce3324c.jpg
Looking at Parga from the castle above


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Beautiful


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The tiny islet of Agios Nikolaos Monolithos seen in the distance


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Looking at Parga from its esplanade



Paxoi and Antipaxoi Islands. Heaven on Earth

The next day we joined a boat for a mini-cruise around the islands of Paxoi and Antipaxoi, which were about an hour west of Parga. The boat was full of obnoxiously loud Italians, chain-smoking Greeks and severely sunburned Brits. Once at Paxoi we were treated to a beautiful scenery, full of aquamarine waters, green trees and pastel-colored houses.

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The town of Loggos on Paxoi island


Myriads of private boats at Lakka, on Paxoi island:
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.
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.
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Ancient-looking olive (and other) trees surrounding the beaches of Lakka


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The waters were absolutely crystal clear


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Little churches everyone. It's Greece after all


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One of Lakka's beaches


Blue Caves of Paxoi

After some time on the east part of the island (where the main towns are) we sailed to see the west coast of Paxoi, home to several blue caves, some of which (to our delight) our boat actually entered. Here are some photos:

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The western coast of Paxoi is full of steep cliffs


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The Ypapanti Cave. Greek submarines used to hide here during WW2


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Approaching the mouth of the cave


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Inside the Ypapanti Cave


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The Galazio Cave


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The boat was packed to capacity but everyone seemed to be having a good time


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Inside Galazio Cave


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The Galazio cave used to have multiple entrances but a section of it collapsed recently, rendering each entrance a separate cave


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The entrance to the Ortholithos Cave (see here), guarded by a huge rocky pillar


After enjoying the caves, we proceeded south to the smaller island of Antipaxoi. We anchored a few meters away from the world-famous Voutoumi beach and enjoyed the crystal clear waters for about an hour. What an absolute treat!

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Heading to the Antipaxoi island


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Young and old alike started jumping off the boat


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With waters like these, who could blame them?


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This guy was enjoying himself


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After taking this photo I had to give up on my camera and just jump in


Finally, after a nice swim at Antipaxoi, we returned to Paxoi, in order to visit the capital of the island, the town of Gaios. The harbor of Gaios is a thin strip of water squeezed between two islands (Paxoi and Agios Nikolaos) in a very bizarre geographical peculiarity. We stayed there for close to 2 hours before heading back to Parga.

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On the way back to Paxoi we passed by two rocky islets, called Kaltsonisi and Mongonisi


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Gaios, the capital town of Paxoi


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The Paxoi Museum


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A pink church. Does Bishop Anthimos know about this?


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Our boat "Vicky F", anchored at Gaios. What you see behind the boat is the island of Agios Nikolaos, separated from Paxoi by less than 30 meters (100ft). No bridge between the two islands through


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I loved the rustic feel of Gaios


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These bullying geese, swam across the channel, got on the harbor promenade and proceeded to assault us


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More old buildings


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Back in Parga


The next day, and before leaving Parga, we drove up to Ali Pasha's Castle near the village of Anthousa, which overlooks the Parga Bay. This is an abandoned and half-collapsed fortress built on a steep hill. We walked in the dark subterranean corridors within the abandoned castle, which was both terrifying (as we were completely alone) and exciting at the same time.

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The bay of Parga as seen from the Ali Pasha castle on the Trikorfo hills


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This alien-looking grasshopper-thing was chomping away on a fallen fig. We saw many more of his friends in the castle ruins


Continued below



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 12872 times:

Kastoria. Beaver town at its best

After leaving Parga, we drove east for several hours before reaching the town of Kastoria (its name means something like "beaver-place", and many of these rodents can indeed be found here). Kastoria is built on a thin peninsula that jets inside Lake Orestiada. Kastoria is famous for its fur industry. Everywhere you look you see fur shops (not talking souvenir-type shops, but huge, fancy-looking, fur-trade shops). The city is also known as the hometown of one of the best European basketball players of the last decade, Dimitris Diamantidis. Here are some photos from this very interesting place:

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My friend KG is a huge aviation buff as well, so when he suggested that we stop by Kastoria's airport (KSO) I couldn't say no.


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Looking at Kastoria across the lake


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The lake was swarming with birds and other wildlife. You could see pelicans, storks, ducks, geese and some other, rarer, types of birds, even next to downtown


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A lot of cafes and tavernas next to the lake


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Kastoria is a very pretty city indeed


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Just like Ioannina, rowing is big here too


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This fishing boat has seen better days


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Spot the frog


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Fishing must be still going strong as we saw quite a few of these small fishing boats


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These weird lily pads were covering much of the lakeshore


Prespes Lakes and Agios Achilios island

Another place I was very exited about visiting was the twin Prespa Lakes. These are comprised of Megali Prespa (Great Prespa) and Mikri Presma (Small Prespa). More than 90% of Small Prespa lies within Greece, with the rest being in Albania (the Albanian part however is just a thin strip of high silted marshland). On the other hand only 12% of Great Prespa belongs to Greece, with the rest belonging to its two neighbors to the northwest. So while neither lake is exclusively Greek, we only had time to check the Greek sides, as there were no convenient nearby border crossings. I was particularly excited to visit Agios Achilios on Small Prespa, a small inhabited island, linked to the mainland by a long floating bridge.

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Looking toward Small Prespa Lake. The two peaks sticking out of the lake are its two islands, Vydronisi (left) and Agios Achilios (right)


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The virgin mountains around the lakes offer a lot of wildlife


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Prespes' own Hollywood-style sign? Not quite. This is what remained from a local canned-foods factory


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This narrow spit of land separates Great Prespa (left) from Small Prespa (right)


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Great Prespa Lake


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Bovine mud-bath at Psarades village on Megali Prespa lake


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The sleepy village of Psarades is tucked away between mountains and lakes, effectively separated by the rest of Greece


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Psarades was not exactly bursting with life


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Driving back to Small Prespa. You can see the floating bridge that connects to Agios Achilios island


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About to walk to Agios Achilios island


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Surrounded by reeds


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An absolutely humongous horse-fly resting under the bridge railing


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Walking on the floating bridge toward the island


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Looking toward the interior of the island


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A lot of old abandoned buildings on the island


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The ruins of an old basilica. The island briefly served as the capital of the Bulgarian Kingdom (around the 10th century). As a result, one can find here the tombs of various Bulgarian kings like King Samuil, Gavril Radomir and Ivan Vladislav. The tombs are not marked, save for some scratches made by Bulgarian visitors.


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The lake looked very peaceful


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Clouds kept moving in and out but eventually the rain caught up with us


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Leaving an abandoned village behind


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We stopped for a coffee at the island's only restaurant and enjoyed the views of the floating bridge in the distance


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A local fisherman getting ready to head out in the lake


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A sleepy pelican resting not far from the bridge. Small Prespa hosts the largest colony of Dalmatian Pelicans in the world


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A closer look at Vydronisi (Otter Island) as we're driving away


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A lot of mountains on our way back home


Finally, after enjoying the Prespes lakes, we drove east, toward Thessaloniki and then north toward the Bulgarian border. Near Thessaloniki we saw yet more aircraft about to land at SKG:

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A Tarom ATR about to overfly us. Dedicated to dc9northwest


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A TK 737 wearing the new livery


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A Germanwings A319 with the new colors


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Stopping by Lake Kerkini not far from the Bulgarian border


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Abandoned fishing boats


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"Keep the same distance from me as you do from your mother-in-law"


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Ready to return home, shortly before nightfall


What an amazing trip this was. We had only 3 days in our hands but we managed to see so many beautiful places. I'd love to go back one day and do this all over again. There is simply so much to see in this little corner of Greece.

Final Remarks

Let's start with the flights. LH impressed me with their efficiency during check in and boarding (and I was also shocked that they returned my tweet). On board, while my impressions of the crew were positive, the food (on the TATL segment) and IFE left me unimpressed. This was my first TATL crossing with LH and I have to say that they certainly rank above most US carriers, but they are a notch bellow carriers like, say, LX (at least in my experience). Nothing to complain about the FRA-SOF segment, other than the boarding procedure. But then again, that's not LH's fault per se. Maybe they should consider introducing the idea of boarding groups on line-forming-challenged routes, like those to the Balkans. But then again (let's be honest) even that would probably be ineffective.

As for our roadtrip... Seriously people, do yourselves a favor and head over to Epirus, the Ionian region, and to all those lakes in northwestern Greece. They are absolutely lovely. Much better than the crowded mainstream destinations elsewhere in Greece (no, I'm not bashing Athens again, I swear).

Thanks for reading,

Stojan



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6944 posts, RR: 77
Reply 4, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 12697 times:

Hi Stojan,

great report with stunning pictures, well done! LH's product looks okay, good to see you got a frame with PTVs.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
A taxi ride and $40 later we were among the first in line for check-in at LH's counters at ORD. A rather cold but über-efficient gentleman had us (and our luggage) checked-in in 30 seconds. It felt like we were in Germany without even having left ORD yet!

Oh come on, that's a generalization!  

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
(I find them much more functional than window seats on long-hauls, especially when there is hardly anything to see outside).

I also prefer those on night flights.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
It didn't take long for the service to start, initially with snacks and drinks, followed by the meal and more drinks. The meal choices were chicken and a vegetarian option. Both my wife and I went with the chicken. The chicken was somewhat flavorless, as were the vegetables, leaving just the potatoes to save the day. The salad was pretty standard. The pineapple mousse dessert however was abysmally nasty. Not a terribly good meal but the metal cutlery was a plus!

That's bad to hear. Usually LH serves decent meals.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Pre-landing snack. Fruit salad, muffin and a shortbread cookie

Now that's disappointing - breakfast inspired by American carriers.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The crew was a mix of male and female attendants. They all appeared to be in a good mood and were very polite, even if it came across as somewhat artificial at times.

I haven't had a bad LH crew for a very long time.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
My wife asked me how was it physically possible that the guy who was behind her a moment ago was now already in the jetbridge while we still had 20 people in front of us. "It's an art, honey" I reminded her. Welcome to the Balkans.

Priceless!   

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
A coughing and sneezing frenzy by some fellow passengers in my vicinity made sure than I spent much of the subsequent week nursing a cold.

Ah, very bad.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
It was just us and a 40-year old Bulgarian fella, who (completely unfazed by our presence) let loose a loud fart.

  

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
This alien-looking grasshopper-thing was chomping away on a fallen fig. We saw many more of his friends in the castle ruins

Cool shot - that thing really looks alien-like.


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 5, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 12429 times:

Thanks for stopping by PH. Your input is always greatly appreciated.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 4):
great report with stunning pictures, well done! LH's product looks okay, good to see you got a frame with PTVs.

Thanks!. I was overall satisfied with LH (the return flights were also nice). It's been several years since the last time I flew them and I'm glad to see that their intra-European product has in fact improved.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 4):
Oh come on, that's a generalization!

I love playing with stereotypes (as it's obvious elsewhere in my report) . It's true though that I've never had anything but efficient service in Germany and Austria.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 4):
I also prefer those on night flights.

It's always a hard decision to let my window seat go, but it's sooo much better on those overnight TATLs.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 4):
That's bad to hear. Usually LH serves decent meals.

I was a bit surprised. It must have been a bad catering day. The meal on the return leg (as you will see) was quite nice.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 4):
Now that's disappointing - breakfast inspired by American carriers.

It's becoming a trend unfortunately.

I'm surprised that you didn't comment on the octopus photo dedicated to you. Are you still so traumatized by that A3 meal that you want to avoid the subject altogether? .

Stojan



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6944 posts, RR: 77
Reply 6, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 12324 times:

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 5):
Your input is always greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Stojan!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 5):
It's been several years since the last time I flew them and I'm glad to see that their intra-European product has in fact improved.

The NEK seats are better than the old ones and while catering has been reduced in terms of quantity, one cannot complain about quality.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 5):
I love playing with stereotypes (as it's obvious elsewhere in my report)

Yeah, no worries!  

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 5):
It's true though that I've never had anything but efficient service in Germany and Austria.

Well, I recommend to try Deutsche Bahn during a cold winter...  

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 5):
I'm surprised that you didn't comment on the octopus photo dedicated to you. Are you still so traumatized by that A3 meal that you want to avoid the subject altogether?

OMG, I cannot believe that I have overread that! No, I'm not traumatized...but the more often I look at that picture...no, seriously, that looks much better than the A3 meal I got.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinedc9northwest From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 2302 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 12278 times:

Hallo, meine Freund,

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
-Eurodollars?
-Yeah, do you want to pay 400 US dollars or get 400 Eurodollars?

Ja, das ist very funny. She couldn't care less. She also probably couldn't care less that it's "couldn't care less" and not "could care less".

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Out of Lufthansa's 22 Boeing 747s, only 17 had been retrofitted with the new interior (meaning PTVs on every seat). Would we be on a retrofitted 747,

Ach, only siebzehn out of zwei und zwanzig.

You know, a *true* aviation enthusiast always has to get a window seat and has to prefer the older plane without PTVs  
Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
A rather cold but über-efficient gentleman had us (and our luggage) checked-in in 30 seconds. It felt like we were in Germany without even having left ORD yet! Security was thankfully not too busy so we were through in less than 10 minutes. I wish every visit to ORD was like that.

Ja, das ist sehr Deutsch. I can't complain--I like it efficient.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
I was expecting a chaotic and messy boarding but what followed left me speechless. Our boarding must have been the fastest and most efficient boarding I've witnessed in my 15 years of flying. All passengers were asked to line up according to the row they were seated (the gate crew had put labels indicating where everyone should line up, kinda like Southwest) and then we were asked to start boarding with those seated at the back starting first. Hallelujah! Everyone was on board in no time and with very little hassle. So freaking simple, so unbelievably efficient.

Nein, nein, nein. Lufthansa boarding is very organized. Usually. As you saw, Balkanic disorganization is stronger than German organization.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
Darn, this guy certainly looked the recliner-type. Sure thing, for the next 8 hours he kept his seat in the fully reclined position...

But of course... How do you find them, Stojan?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
IFE touch-screen

IFE... I'm torn. Touch-screen... cool but ultimately it will have to be a bit unresponsive... It's just the way it is.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Both my wife and I went with the chicken. The chicken was somewhat flavorless, as were the vegetables, leaving just the potatoes to save the day. The salad was pretty standard. The pineapple mousse dessert however was abysmally nasty. Not a terribly good meal but the metal cutlery was a plus!

Doesn't sound too great. I'd give it a C as far as airline food goes.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
After dinner I opted for a Bailey's hoping that the alcohol would relax me and allow me to sleep. Alas, it was not meant to be.

Nein, nein, nein... Don't you know alcohol disrupts your sleep cycle, my neuroscientist friend? You wouldn't have slept too well. Oh, wait, you were on a plane in Y. You wouldn't've slept well anyway! 
Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
If you ever find yourself in FRA, near the B gates, and you need to use the bathrooms then pray that it's not 7:30am. Apparently that's the time all bathrooms are cleaned simultaneously.

Ja, we must call it "nein-piss o'clock". Still better than CDG2B. Somehow the toilets were always closed for cleaning, and never got any cleaner and less smelly.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
In the meanwhile, we had found our gate and set camp there. We were scheduled to fly an A320, but upon inspection I saw an A321 anchored at our jet-bridge. Splendid. Pretty much everyone at the gate was Bulgarian, except from the 2 compulsory Japanese businessmen you find on every flight.

I bet you would've liked 180 Japanese businessman on that flight instead of 178 Bulgarians.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
After all, lines are for weaklings and idiots. My wife asked me how was it physically possible that the guy who was behind her a moment ago was now already in the jetbridge while we still had 20 people in front of us. "It's an art, honey" I reminded her. Welcome to the Balkans.

Indeed, queues are for weaklings, yes, I know that feeling well  You have to teach your wife that your time is more important than everyone else's, so pushing is perfectly ok. If you knock someone down, all the better.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
You see, it appears that many of my compatriots have not yet mastered the skill of covering their mouth when coughing.

It seems many of our compatriots do not understand the concept of "colds". Apparently they stem from "draughts" rather than "viruses".

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
It was just us and a 40-year old Bulgarian fella, who (completely unfazed by our presence) let loose a loud fart.

*ppppppft* I've honestly never had that happen in an airport.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Welcome to Mteland? Am I in the wrong country?

Just a sleepless night lucid dreaming type situation.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
She had been with me to Bulgaria before, but she had never been to Sofia.

You spoiled her by showing her Sofia before Innsbruck!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Unlike most Bulgarian drivers, our bus driver was extremely slow and I would not be exaggerating if I told you that we did not overtake a single vehicle during the first 3 hours of the journey. Not even a Lada, not even a Trabant, not even a Wartburg. This perhaps had to do with the fact that the driver spent more than half of the journey talking on his smart phone or frantically searching for something online. I always admired people that can multitask.

A slow Bulgarian driver, you're kidding me. I guess the internet was taking up all of his bandwidth.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Bvlgari... er, I mean Bulgari offers quality knock-off goods at excellent prices. They are huge in New York I hear.

Ah, Bulgari, love that brand.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
A Tarom ATR about to overfly us. Dedicated to dc9northwest

Thank you. Only flew on these once, on my way to ATH.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Let's start with the flights. LH impressed me with their efficiency during check in and boarding (and I was also shocked that they returned my tweet). On board, while my impressions of the crew were positive, the food (on the TATL segment) and IFE left me unimpressed. This was my first TATL crossing with LH and I have to say that they certainly rank above most US carriers, but they are a notch bellow carriers like, say, LX (at least in my experience). Nothing to complain about the FRA-SOF segment, other than the boarding procedure. But then again, that's not LH's fault per se. Maybe they should consider introducing the idea of boarding groups on line-forming-challenged routes, like those to the Balkans. But then again (let's be honest) even that would probably be ineffective.

Noch ein mal mit Lufthansa, mein Herr?

Yeah, LH is quite good but not my favorite... that sums it up pretty well.

Cheers and thanks,
Alex


User currently offlineomidp From Canada, joined Jun 2010, 164 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 12212 times:

Excellent pictures and TR. I can't wait to try LH long haul. May I ask for your cameras brand and style please since I'm camera hunting  

User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 1033 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 12118 times:

Hello Stojan, what a great report!

Decent TATL crossing by LH I would say, but the highlight of the report are of course the pictures from Greece: stunning! I have yet to visit the country, but from these pictures I think I am missing a lot!


User currently offlineRyanairGuru From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 5947 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 11724 times:

Stojan, Stojan, Stojan...

If I was mourning the loss of more stories about Twohorse, Nebraska, you have just blown that right out the water... Ionia is one of my favorite places in the entire world!

I'm not talking about the monstrous resorts of Kyrkyra and Zakynthos, where British and German tourists, "tanned" to a rather fetching shade of scarlet, spend their days fighting over who can put their beach towel down first, and then spend their nights getting sloshed and vomiting in the street.

No, the real Ionia where pastel fishing villages tumble down the hillside into the water, and just 5 minutes out of "town" elderly widows wear black and their only companions are a donkey and goat. Your report brought all this swimming back to the forefront of my mind, and I am so pleased that you got to experience this (but am also slightly jealous!!!)

I have never been to Epirous or the lakes region, but be assured that it will happen!

Thank you  
Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Seriously people, do yourselves a favor and head over to Epirus, the Ionian region, and to all those lakes in northwestern Greece. They are absolutely lovely

Truer words have never been spoken...


As for the flights, Lufthansa look really underwhelming - pretty much as I expected. I've never flown them, but on the basis of this and other reports I certainly have no desire to. That said, the staff sound great, from responding to your Tweet (seriously, you got Twitter just to ask that? Isn't it sad that is now the only to communicate with large and impersonal corporations!) to the friendly and professional flight attendants, it sounds as though their staff are their biggest asset.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
2 compulsory Japanese businessmen you find on every flight

Oh, of course. You have to wonder if they ever actually do any work, or whether they just fly around the world in order to keep up appearances! And they do get everywhere; when I flew SYD-CFS in June (a turboprop flight to a random coastal community with no apparent international significance) most of the passengers looked like they were dressed for the beach ... but 2 were there as well, in their suits!!!

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
She also probably couldn't care less that it's "couldn't care less" and not "could care less".

  

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
Nein, nein, nein

  

Sorry, Alex, you had me in stitches!


Thank you again Stojan for this stunning report. I'm really looking forward to the next part!

Best wishes,
Alex



Worked Hard, Flew Right
User currently offlineglobalflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 953 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 11266 times:

Hi Stojan...as always fantastic photographs... I can never match your quality. You made me laugh and some of your comments like the dude in baggage claim and also the Eurodollars! Welcome to the Southside of Chicago, right?!   Cannot wait to read the other posts. I knew you all would love INN! Austria is so charming! Cheers, Will


Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1789 posts, RR: 30
Reply 12, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 11233 times:

Hello Fat Viscacha 2 

As I said already on another meeting place on the net: you’re really on a (nice) roll lately with your very enjoyable trippies and stories! Never thought you would fall for the Luftwaffe as weapon of choice to cross the Atlantic  Wow! But hey, consistency is their middle name so you’re quite certain what to expect. That said, I’m happy to see you got yourself a recent frame with PTV’s, it really took them too long to install these on the longhaul fleet methinks!
Loved your roadtrip to Greece as well, SKG and surroundings appeal to me greatly though I’ve never been there.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I won't bore you too much with how we booked the flights

Hey come on, I’m interested in that kinda stuff. How long did you drool in front of your screen before you got yourself the flights of your choice  

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
from FRA to INN

I just can’t believe you got yourself to INN before me, I’m so jealous... Ticket prices into INN are astronomous so I really wonder how your itinerary was constructed. But maybe I’m running ahead of things?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
LH's response to my twitter question. (By the way, I don't actually have a real twitter account. I just created one to ask LH this question. I doubt anyone cares for what I have to say).

I’m not into Twitter either, I don’t see the point of putting up a ‘tweet’. I let that to the birds...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
we were among the first in line for check-in at LH's counters at ORD

No OLCI ex-ORD on LH? Or do you just like to have the ‘human interaction’ @ the counter?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
So freaking simple, so unbelievably efficient.

Don’t tell me it was the 1st time you experienced this. We do it all the time in Europe! Or well, sometimes. Or rather, once in a little while... Indeed it’s very efficient if everyone understands the concept but that’s another discussion.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
but the metal cutlery was a plus!

I’m sure you’re having your meals at home with one of those now?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
"It's an art, honey" I reminded her. Welcome to the Balkans.

Hilarious! Coming home is always a great feeling...!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The rather nice sandwiches we were served shortly after take-off

One thing you can’t fault LH, their catering is most of the times pretty decent and these sandwiches are delicious.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
It was just us and a 40-year old Bulgarian fella, who (completely unfazed by our presence) let loose a loud fart. Yes, I was definitely home.

   Stop it you’re killing me!

Thanks man for another great and entertaining story and oh btw: loved your title pic and pun, definitely my style  

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineinfodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1466 posts, RR: 33
Reply 13, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 10621 times:

Hi Stojan,

What an enjoyable report, I was glued to the screen from start to finish. Thank you in particular for including so many pictures of your stay in Greece. Whilst I’ve only been to the Cyclades, albeit several times, I know there are many more islands and areas worth exploring in the country. Your photos of Parga & Paxoi in particular had me mesmerized. They are now firmly on the to-do list.

I’m not too impressed with the food on your transatlantic flight, it doesn’t look too inspiring & I would have expected better from LH.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
After dinner I opted for a Bailey's hoping that the alcohol would relax me and allow me to sleep. Alas, it was not meant to be. Not even the multitude of boring movies was enough to make me fall asleep. I spent the rest of the flight staring at my PTV or looking at the moving map on the overhead screens.

I can relate to that situation too!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
You see, it appears that many of my compatriots have not yet mastered the skill of covering their mouth when coughing. If they have to cough then they just do so, even if it has to be in your face.

Sadly, this is so true & I see it every day.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Not even a Lada, not even a Trabant, not even a Wartburg. This perhaps had to do with the fact that the driver spent more than half of the journey talking on his smart phone or frantically searching for something online. I always admired people that can multitask.

This reminds me of a bus driver in Greece on our last holiday. During the short ride he managed to conduct a phone conversation whilst trying to light a cigarette & simultaneously biting his nails…..

Oh, and I loved your story with the money change girl. Not many people from Chicago go to Europe by the sound of it  

Looking forward to the next part & especially reading about your flight to INN.

Happy flying
Infodesk   



"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
User currently offlinebritjap From Japan, joined Aug 2006, 280 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 10496 times:

Hi WBR,

Another great report from you. As ever, fantastic pictures and great narration.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Here's the dialogue (believe me, this is not made up)

Mmm... I wonder what rate she would give me for Yendollars? (or would they be Japdollars???)

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
a middle-aged German guy came over and pointed out that she was seating at his seat. Darn, this guy certainly looked the recliner-type. Sure thing, for the next 8 hours he kept his seat in the fully reclined position...

Unlucky! I really HATE such people. I think we have had this discussion before though! 
Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The guy in front of me had some serious issues with his PTV

Something similar happened to me once on a an LH flight from KIX to FRA. I was given about 50 euros worth of vouchers to spend in LH's catalogue. I didn't bother using them but the gesture was appreciated.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
My wife asked me how was it physically possible that the guy who was behind her a moment ago was now already in the jetbridge while we still had 20 people in front of us. "It's an art, honey" I reminded her. Welcome to the Balkans.
Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
It was just us and a 40-year old Bulgarian fella, who (completely unfazed by our presence) let loose a loud fart. Yes, I was definitely home.

You don't really give the best impression of Bulgaria you know!! 
Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Spot the frog

I'm not even gonna mention how long I spent looking for that frog.... Damned frog!

I do always enjoy your reports. Many thanks for this one.

Regards


User currently offlineAirdolomiti From Germany, joined May 2003, 694 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 10312 times:

Thank you for a truly exceptional report! I was particularly impressed by the Acheron river and Parga - your photos have provided me with plenty of inspiration for future trips   I also have fond memories of Paxoi as I flew there with now-defunct seaplane operator, AirSea Lines.

User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 16, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 10099 times:

Hi Stojan


Interesting report, thanks for sharing it with us.
Good to see LH finally did something about their 'aged 744s' the new cabin looks nice but pretty narrow compared to the other longhauls.

Great pics of Greece and neighbouring countries as well

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineYtraveller From United States of America, joined Jul 2013, 289 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 9979 times:

Hi Widebodyroga,

Your trip report was a great read. After visiting the UK, France, Switzerland, and most recently Italy, we decided to put off on Europe for a while, but we may have to reconsider based on how beautiful the Greek Islands and Bulgaria look. So thanks for including those pictures of your stay.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The rather nice sandwiches we were served shortly after take-off

Yeah, one big thing I love about Lufthansa is their food, even if it's a snack on a short-haul flight. Recently we flew FRA-FCO with LH, and they gave us these really delicious and moist banana (or whatever it was) muffins. That definitely beat the croissant we were given on BA.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Much of central Sofia's roads are not made of asphalt but of granite blocks, which makes driving on them very noisy

This is also the case in central Rome. The car's bumping across the cobblestone, you're jumping around in your seat, etc etc

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):

After some time on the east part of the island (where the main towns are) we sailed to see the west coast of Paxoi, home to several blue caves, some of which (to our delight) our boat actually entered. Here are some photos:

Beautiful, just beautiful. The color of the water, inside the caves...makes me jealous.   In Italy we were supposed to go on a boat ride into some caves on Capri Island, but it got canceled due to the weather.  


Thanks a lot for sharing this trip report. The scenery is just amazing, and I hope to visit Greece and the surrounding regions one day.
-Ytraveller


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6944 posts, RR: 77
Reply 18, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 9873 times:

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
That said, I’m happy to see you got yourself a recent frame with PTV’s, it really took them too long to install these on the longhaul fleet methinks!

The problem was the late decision to refurbish these planes, the process itself didn't take so long. Btw - the remaining frames without PTVs (and without new First) won't get them any more. They will be retired within the next months.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 16):
Good to see LH finally did something about their 'aged 744s' the new cabin looks nice but pretty narrow compared to the other longhauls.

Narrow? The cabin?


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 19, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 9792 times:

Thanks everyone for the comments. Pardon me when I respond to only half of them now (I'm on the road again and thus somewhat busy), but I'll be back for the rest soon

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 6):
The NEK seats are better than the old ones and while catering has been reduced in terms of quantity, one cannot complain about quality.

I agree. As for the food, compared to my previous (after-2005) experiences with LH, I feel like both the quantity and the quality have been increased, but then again I can't claim to have flown enough with them to have a good idea about this.  .


Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 6):
Well, I recommend to try Deutsche Bahn during a cold winter...

I confess that I have not tried this yet… Now that I think about it I don’t think I’ve ever been to Germany in the winter…


Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 6):
OMG, I cannot believe that I have overread that! No, I'm not traumatized...but the more often I look at that picture...no, seriously, that looks much better than the A3 meal I got.

Hehe, just teasing of course. If I recall correctly, your A3 octopus came with some kind of red sauce, which is a definite no-no for me regarding how octopi should be cooked.


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
Ja, das ist very funny. She couldn't care less. She also probably couldn't care less that it's "couldn't care less" and not "could care less".

Guten Tag there Alex. Yeah, you know how customer service can be on the South Side. I was not shocked about her attitude but about the fact that a bank employee (that works as a cashier no less) calls Euros “Eurodollars”.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
Ach, only siebzehn out of zwei und zwanzig.


I guess like PlaneHunter just mentioned, the rest will be retired soon so no need to be retrofitted.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
You know, a *true* aviation enthusiast always has to get a window seat and has to prefer the older plane without PTVs

I think we have already established that I’m not a true enthusiast. I don’t care about subtypes, or flying the same registration twice, or about reaching *whatever* status on *whatever* FF program. I can normally survive a TATL without a PTV, but during an overnight flight (when you can hardly tell you’re flying) I think it’s a necessity (given that I can’t sleep in such flights).


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
a, das ist sehr Deutsch. I can't complain--I like it efficient.

Which is why you moved to Switzerland...

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
Nein, nein, nein. Lufthansa boarding is very organized. Usually. As you saw, Balkanic disorganization is stronger than German organization.

Balkan is of very stronk! I want to see a bunch of Balkans trying to board a plane in Japan. I can already imagine the Japanese gate staff fainting while experiencing this.


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
But of course... How do you find them, Stojan?


I honestly don’t know. I have NOT been in a TATL in recent years were the person in front of me did NOT recline his/her seat for the duration of the flight. “Oh jolly good, a tall guy is seating behind me. I bet he won’t mind if I fully recline my seat because probably he will recline his too.”


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
IFE... I'm torn. Touch-screen... cool but ultimately it will have to be a bit unresponsive... It's just the way it is.

At least my PTV worked, unlike the guy’s in front of me.


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
Doesn't sound too great. I'd give it a C as far as airline food goes.

Yeah, especially after seeing TK’s meals, this one looked quite sad.


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
Nein, nein, nein... Don't you know alcohol disrupts your sleep cycle, my neuroscientist friend? You wouldn't have slept too well. Oh, wait, you were on a plane in Y. You wouldn't've slept well anyway!

Yeah, I should probably give up on my attempt to sleep on TATLs. It ain’t gonna happen. As for alcohol disrupting my sleep cycle... That was the whole point. I was trying to put myself to sleep at 7pm :p.


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
Ja, we must call it "nein-piss o'clock". Still better than CDG2B. Somehow the toilets were always closed for cleaning, and never got any cleaner and less smelly.

ALL toilets in Paris are ALWAYS closed for cleaning. Which is why everyone pisses on the sidewalks.


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
I bet you would've liked 180 Japanese businessman on that flight instead of 178 Bulgarians.

That goes without saying!

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
Indeed, queues are for weaklings, yes, I know that feeling well You have to teach your wife that your time is more important than everyone else's, so pushing is perfectly ok. If you knock someone down, all the better.

It’s a mentality that she has yet to embrace. I don’t know why. It makes perfect sense to me.


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
It seems many of our compatriots do not understand the concept of "colds". Apparently they stem from "draughts" rather than "viruses".

Draughts. LOL. Good point


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
*ppppppft* I've honestly never had that happen in an airport.

It was a first for me too.


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
Just a sleepless night lucid dreaming type situation.

I thought Klingons had taken over Bulgaria and changed its name.


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
You spoiled her by showing her Sofia before Innsbruck!

Lol, yeah. I had to be clever about it.


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
A slow Bulgarian driver, you're kidding me. I guess the internet was taking up all of his bandwidth.

Yeah, it sounds like an oxymoron. Maybe he was "out of shape".


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
Ah, Bulgari, love that brand.

 .


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
Thank you. Only flew on these once, on my way to ATH.

I flew one of these from SKG to OTP once. Great experience (I think it was my first ATR). I also saw TAROM’s Skyteam logojet at SKG a week later. Interesting choice to dress the ATR in the alliance colors…


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 7):
Noch ein mal mit Lufthansa, mein Herr? Yeah, LH is quite good but not my favorite... that sums it up pretty well.

Yeah, that’s how I feel about LH too. If the price is right though I'll choose them again. I just love connecting at German airports, which is another thing to their favor.

Thanks for the extensive comments Alex. Much appreciated!



Quoting omidp (Reply 8):
Excellent pictures and TR. I can't wait to try LH long haul. May I ask for your cameras brand and style please since I'm camera hunting

Thanks omidp! Like I also told you in private, I use a Nikon D3100 with a standard 18-55mm lens but also with a 55-200mm VR Nikkor telephoto lens. All of the photos that were shot from within an aircraft, however, were shot with my Samsung TL240 point-n-shoot.


Quoting roberts87 (Reply 9):
Hello Stojan, what a great report! Decent TATL crossing by LH I would say, but the highlight of the report are of course the pictures from Greece: stunning! I have yet to visit the country, but from these pictures I think I am missing a lot!

Thanks Robert! You should give Greece a go sometime. But as I always tell people, Greece is fun if you go off the beaten path.


Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 10):
Stojan, Stojan, Stojan...
If I was mourning the loss of more stories about Twohorse, Nebraska, you have just blown that right out the water... Ionia is one of my favorite places in the entire world!


Haha, thanks Alex! As much as I loved my Midwestern wanderings it was about time to try something more exotic! I didn’t know that you liked the Ionian Region so much. It’s definitely a special place. This was the first time I spent any considerable time there and I can’t wait to go back.


Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 10):
I'm not talking about the monstrous resorts of Kyrkyra and Zakynthos, where British and German tourists, "tanned" to a rather fetching shade of scarlet, spend their days fighting over who can put their beach towel down first, and then spend their nights getting sloshed and vomiting in the street.

No, the real Ionia where pastel fishing villages tumble down the hillside into the water, and just 5 minutes out of "town" elderly widows wear black and their only companions are a donkey and goat. Your report brought all this swimming back to the forefront of my mind, and I am so pleased that you got to experience this (but am also slightly jealous!!!)

Agreed 100%. Like I was telling Robert above, for me Greece is fun if you avoid the big cities and resorts. Unfortunately most Greek cities are kinda ugly (Greeks don’t be offended that a Bulgarian said this, I know that our cities are even uglier) and the resorts (like anywhere else in the world) are too “artificial” (for lack of a better word).


Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 10):
I have never been to Epirous or the lakes region, but be assured that it will happen!

You need to. You won’t be disappointed!


Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 10):
As for the flights, Lufthansa look really underwhelming - pretty much as I expected. I've never flown them, but on the basis of this and other reports I certainly have no desire to. That said, the staff sound great, from responding to your Tweet (seriously, you got Twitter just to ask that? Isn't it sad that is now the only to communicate with large and impersonal corporations!) to the friendly and professional flight attendants, it sounds as though their staff are their biggest asset.


I didn’t expect anything extravagant from LH but I knew that I would not get screwed over by them either (like I feel when flying the Axis of Evil: AZ, UA, IB). If the food was a bit better then I would have had nothing major to complain about. As for Twitter, you're absolutely right again.


Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 10):
Oh, of course. You have to wonder if they ever actually do any work, or whether they just fly around the world in order to keep up appearances! And they do get everywhere; when I flew SYD-CFS in June (a turboprop flight to a random coastal community with no apparent international significance) most of the passengers looked like they were dressed for the beach ... but 2 were there as well, in their suits!!!

Very true! I swear they are everywhere… Even in CFS you say? That’s hilarious. We saw more of them on our subsequent flights to Austria.


Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 10):
Thank you again Stojan for this stunning report. I'm really looking forward to the next part!

Thanks again Alex. I hope you like the next part too. It shouldn't take me TOO long to get it ready, even though I'm lacking enough free time this week.

Will be back for the rest.

Stojan



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 20, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 9606 times:

Back for the rest (sooner than I thought)

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 11):
Hi Stojan...as always fantastic photographs... I can never match your quality. You made me laugh and some of your comments like the dude in baggage claim and also the Eurodollars! Welcome to the Southside of Chicago, right?! Cannot wait to read the other posts. I knew you all would love INN! Austria is so charming! Cheers, Will

Thanks Will! The Balkans and the South Side of Chicago are endless sources of amusing tales. Take a trip there and it's a guarantee you'll come back with a ton of stories!  .


Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
Hello Fat Viscacha 2

As I said already on another meeting place on the net: you’re really on a (nice) roll lately with your very enjoyable trippies and stories! Never thought you would fall for the Luftwaffe as weapon of choice to cross the Atlantic But hey, consistency is their middle name so you’re quite certain what to expect. That said, I’m happy to see you got yourself a recent frame with PTV’s, it really took them too long to install these on the longhaul fleet methinks!
Loved your roadtrip to Greece as well, SKG and surroundings appeal to me greatly though I’ve never been there.

Thanks Nils! It was about time to try LH on a TATL. Excluding US carriers, it's the company I have flown the most, yet I had never crossed the pond on them. As it appears, they are not a bad choice. Flying with them was a nice way to end this summer and all the flying that came with it.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
Hey come on, I’m interested in that kinda stuff. How long did you drool in front of your screen before you got yourself the flights of your choice

Hehe, the truth is it that the TATL part was easy to figure out. LH offered the best prices and connections so it was a no-brainer. It was mainly the Austria stopover that was hard to decide on. Our first choice for a stopover in Austria was VIE. However the prices were astronomical. No idea why. On the other hand, prices to GRZ, LNZ and INN were very decent. Going to Innsbruck was a childhood dream of mine so I suggested to switch VIE for INN.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
I just can’t believe you got yourself to INN before me, I’m so jealous... Ticket prices into INN are astronomous so I really wonder how your itinerary was constructed. But maybe I’m running ahead of things?

I forgot to mention that the reason I found decent priced flights to/from INN was because I booked our tickets through vayama.com, which happened to have a special fare that was not posted on any other flight-searching machine. I still can't believe that I managed to register INN. Maybe the prices are better in the summer, when they're in their off-season? Or does this makes them worse?

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
I’m not into Twitter either, I don’t see the point of putting up a ‘tweet’. I let that to the birds...

Well said  .

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
No OLCI ex-ORD on LH? Or do you just like to have the ‘human interaction’ @ the counter?

Lol. In fact we did OLCI the night before but our printer broke down so we had to get our boarding passes at ORD (and of course drop off the bags).

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
Don’t tell me it was the 1st time you experienced this. We do it all the time in Europe! Or well, sometimes. Or rather, once in a little while... Indeed it’s very efficient if everyone understands the concept but that’s another discussion.

It was the first time I've seen this in the US (excluding Southwest of course). Very efficient. It should become standard practice.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
I’m sure you’re having your meals at home with one of those now?

Me? What makes you say that.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
Hilarious! Coming home is always a great feeling...!

In my case it's like stepping into a different dimension... .

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
One thing you can’t fault LH, their catering is most of the times pretty decent and these sandwiches are delicious.

I'm a sucker for pickled stuff so those sandwiches hit the spot. My wife was not hungry so I ate hers too...

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
Thanks man for another great and entertaining story and oh btw: loved your title pic and pun, definitely my style

Thanks Nils  . You and I are going strong with the title puns. It has now become a bit of an a.net trend and I'm loving it  .

Quoting infodesk (Reply 13):
What an enjoyable report, I was glued to the screen from start to finish. Thank you in particular for including so many pictures of your stay in Greece. Whilst I’ve only been to the Cyclades, albeit several times, I know there are many more islands and areas worth exploring in the country. Your photos of Parga & Paxoi in particular had me mesmerized. They are now firmly on the to-do list.

Hello Hannah! Thanks for stopping by! I know you've had some really good time in Greece before so I knew you would appreciate some of the places in my photos. It's interesting how the Cyclades and the Ionian islands are so different, even though they are not that far apart. You should definitely give the latter a go sometime  .

Quoting infodesk (Reply 13):
I’m not too impressed with the food on your transatlantic flight, it doesn’t look too inspiring & I would have expected better from LH.

Fortunately LH redeemed itself on the return flights!

Quoting infodesk (Reply 13):
I can relate to that situation too!

It's terrible isn't it? As much as I love flying, I can't hide the fact that I'm dreading TATL crossings because I know I won't be able to sleep.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 13):
Sadly, this is so true & I see it every day.

Do you really? At the airport (ZRH) or even outside?

Quoting infodesk (Reply 13):
This reminds me of a bus driver in Greece on our last holiday. During the short ride he managed to conduct a phone conversation whilst trying to light a cigarette & simultaneously biting his nails…..

I can't help but shake my head whenever I hear things like that. I've had some terrible experiences with bus drivers in Greece and Bulgaria. They tend to be so unprofessional at times.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 13):
Oh, and I loved your story with the money change girl. Not many people from Chicago go to Europe by the sound of it

Chicago is supposed to be a fairly "worldly" place but the south side is not so much. It's kinda sad, but the south side and the north side of Chicago are like two completely different cities...

Quoting britjap (Reply 14):
Another great report from you. As ever, fantastic pictures and great narration.

Hey Britjap, thanks for dropping by and for the comments.

Quoting britjap (Reply 14):
Mmm... I wonder what rate she would give me for Yendollars? (or would they be Japdollars???)

I don't even want to imagine what she would have called them...

Quoting britjap (Reply 14):
Unlucky! I really HATE such people. I think we have had this discussion before though!

True. I guess it is their right to recline but some do it in such an inconsiderate way...

Quoting britjap (Reply 14):
Something similar happened to me once on a an LH flight from KIX to FRA. I was given about 50 euros worth of vouchers to spend in LH's catalogue. I didn't bother using them but the gesture was appreciated.

That's nice of them. Fortunately the PTV of the guy in front of me "re-booted" itself after a while and started working again.

Quoting britjap (Reply 14):
You don't really give the best impression of Bulgaria you know!!

lol, I'm only stating the facts .

Quoting britjap (Reply 14):
I'm not even gonna mention how long I spent looking for that frog.... Damned frog!

I had the wrong lens on my camera or I would have done a close-up on the frog. It looked so cute, floating on the bottom of an upside-down bottle.

Quoting britjap (Reply 14):
I do always enjoy your reports. Many thanks for this one.

Thanks man! I appreciate your comments. Loved your recent report by the way. I love the routes you choose to do reports on  .

Quoting Airdolomiti (Reply 15):
Thank you for a truly exceptional report! I was particularly impressed by the Acheron river and Parga - your photos have provided me with plenty of inspiration for future trips I also have fond memories of Paxoi as I flew there with now-defunct seaplane operator, AirSea Lines.

Thanks for your comment Airdolomiti! Acheron, Parga and Paxoi were absolutely [b[packed[/b] with Italians, so you'll feel right at home  . So you flew with AirSea Lines to Paxoi? How cool! You should definitely share some photos/stories from that trip (if you haven't done so already)!

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 16):
Interesting report, thanks for sharing it with us.
Good to see LH finally did something about their 'aged 744s' the new cabin looks nice but pretty narrow compared to the other longhauls.

Great pics of Greece and neighbouring countries as well

Thanks Marc! It was a great trip indeed.  .

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 17):
Hi Widebodyroga,

Your trip report was a great read. After visiting the UK, France, Switzerland, and most recently Italy, we decided to put off on Europe for a while, but we may have to reconsider based on how beautiful the Greek Islands and Bulgaria look. So thanks for including those pictures of your stay.

Hello Ytraveller and thank you for stopping by! Europe is so diverse that you can never run out of places to visit. Even if I didn't have family there I would still keep going every year, trying to sample a new country every time...

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 17):
Yeah, one big thing I love about Lufthansa is their food, even if it's a snack on a short-haul flight. Recently we flew FRA-FCO with LH, and they gave us these really delicious and moist banana (or whatever it was) muffins. That definitely beat the croissant we were given on BA.

I'm glad to see LH do that. For all of us who travel domestically in the US, these kind of treats are special.

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 17):
This is also the case in central Rome. The car's bumping across the cobblestone, you're jumping around in your seat, etc etc

You're right. I had forgotten about Rome. It's beautiful to look at but definitely annoying to drive on. Maybe it's a way to keep drivers from speeding (the faster you go, the louder the noise).

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 17):
Beautiful, just beautiful. The color of the water, inside the caves...makes me jealous. In Italy we were supposed to go on a boat ride into some caves on Capri Island, but it got canceled due to the weather.

What a pity. I love this kind of water caves. Good thing that the Mediterranean is full of them...

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 17):
Thanks a lot for sharing this trip report. The scenery is just amazing, and I hope to visit Greece and the surrounding regions one day.
-Ytraveller

Thanks again Ytraveller. Hopefully you'll get the chance to visit these places one day. I'd highly recommend them.

Stojan



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1966 posts, RR: 24
Reply 21, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 9453 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Another great report, Stojan! Photos are great; nice to see all the things you did on your trip!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The plan was simple: Fly from Chicago (where my wife and I live) to Bulgaria, visit my family, then drive across the border to spend some time on the Epirus mountains and beaches, and then fly to Austria in order to cool down before heading back home to Chicago.

Sounds like a great vacation!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
Here's our bird hidden behind the gate and a bunch of jetbridges.

Great picture, and I love the view of the 747's "eyes" looking back at you.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
The pineapple mousse dessert

I'm not surprised it wasn't very good; Pineapple doesn't seem like it would be good as a mousse!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
Alas, it was not meant to be. Not even the multitude of boring movies was enough to make me fall asleep. I spent the rest of the flight staring at my PTV or looking at the moving map on the overhead screens.

That's how I felt flying EWR-MXP on United's 767-400 two weeks ago; I tried to sleep, but failed until almost on descent!

Looking forward to the next part.

Matthew


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 22, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 9026 times:

Quoting 767747 (Reply 21):
Another great report, Stojan! Photos are great; nice to see all the things you did on your trip!

Hi Matthew and thanks for your comments  .

Quoting 767747 (Reply 21):
Sounds like a great vacation!

As the temperatures in Chicago are already starting to fall I look at my photos of Paxoi and I'm getting melancholic. It was a great vacation indeed!

Quoting 767747 (Reply 21):
Great picture, and I love the view of the 747's "eyes" looking back at you.

Hehe, yeah, it does look like a monster peeking at a hole where its pray is hiding.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 21):
I'm not surprised it wasn't very good; Pineapple doesn't seem like it would be good as a mousse!

Agreed! I love fresh pineapple but process it in any way and it becomes a big no-no for me. I feel the same way with tangerines.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 21):
That's how I felt flying EWR-MXP on United's 767-400 two weeks ago; I tried to sleep, but failed until almost on descent!

It's pure torture. You're trapped in a confined space, its dark, everyone's sleeping and you just sit there knowing that a nasty jet lag is waiting for you on the other side. Not fun.

Thanks again,

Stojan



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineaerdingus From Ireland, joined Dec 2006, 2862 posts, RR: 15
Reply 23, posted (1 year 3 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 8568 times:

Love the funny writing style & the Balkan slant. And the destination pics ...wow..I feel a little depressed that I'm not from that region, as it looks like a real locals secret place!

Cheers, I do enjoy reading your trs.  



Cabin crew blog http://dolefuldolegirl.blogspot.ie/
User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1358 posts, RR: 13
Reply 24, posted (1 year 3 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 8279 times:

Hey,

Thank you for another fantastic report. Ioannina is popular place to visit among Israelis, and now I understand why. Those photos you took are breathtaking!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
you ever find yourself in FRA, near the B gates, and you need to use the bathrooms then pray that it's not 7:30am. Apparently that's the time all bathrooms are cleaned simultaneously. Or so I found out while trying to find a restroom that was available. It took me 20 minutes to find one I could walk in.

It's amazing how the usual German efficiency ends once you enter the FRA terminal.

Both western Bulgraria and northern Greece are high on my to-do list, and your report just boosted both few spots higher. Thx for shearing. Jonathan



"In Israel, on order to be a realist, one's must believe in miracles" - David Ben Gurion.
25 gabrielchew : Super report, and gorgeous pictures! Thanks for spoting Stojan! For someone working in a bank, that is pretty scary! I've got my fingers crossed for a
26 Post contains images adamspotter : Hi Stojan, Finally found time to start reading part 1 of your (unfortunately) last 2 reports! Another amazing one you made here with many beautiful pi
27 Post contains images Widebodyroga : Hello Aiofe! Thanks a bunch. You were in SKG the other day weren't you? Did you get a satisfying dose of "Balkan"? Hi Jonathan! I had no idea that Io
28 Post contains images aerdingus : I was! Yes I did hahahah, they were funny but nice bunch. Full cabin with people standing up & conversations happening everywhere. A busy but fun
29 IrishAyes : Stojan - First of all, incredible TR. Great photos (my favorite part) and supporting details to capture the trip vividly. As always, the humor makes i
30 Post contains images Widebodyroga : Thanks for dropping by this report too Rohan! It's practically impossible to travel to the Balkans without finding yourself in a surreal situation or
31 Post contains images SR117 : Hey Stojan, thanks for taking the time to put this together. Mountains and beaches, a combination I am growing fond of lately. Really? Even if it was
32 Post contains images Widebodyroga : Hey Ricardo! Thanks for dropping by. I do appreciate the feedback! My pleasure! I'm well aware! So have you booked anything, say to somewhere very sou
33 ardian : Breathtaking tripreport! I was truly captivated by it. Beautiful pictures and I especially enjoyed the road trip. Those are always the best way to tra
34 I39OO : Hi Stojan, I stumbled upon this fantastic TR of yours while waiting in a rather unpleasant place and it has given me a nice half an hour of detachment
35 Widebodyroga : Hey Fellas, Thanks for unearthing this report. Please accept my apologies for the delayed response. Hi Adrian and thank you for your kind words. Glad
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