August 2012


The plan for our tour of Greece was to complete a triangle with the three principle cities, Thessaloniki, Patras and Athens at the corners. The first two legs, from Thessaloniki to Patras and from Patras to Athens would be completed by car and the final leg from Athens back to Thessaloniki by rail. The only reason for starting in Thessaloniki was that the airfares were cheaper than to Athens.

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency (*) in Thessaloniki, on the outskirts of town not far from the airport. The hotel has a very nice restaurant with an excellent list of local wines. We also discovered the ideal Greek breakfast here: fruit, yoghurt and honey. The only downside of the hotel was the intrusive piped music, impossible to escape by the pool and in the lobby areas.

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Our trip to the US Pacific North West did not begin well. Our Delta airlines flight was substantially delayed at take-off. By the time we had crossed the Atlantic the flight crew were running out of working hours. We landed at JFK and sat on the tarmac while the cockpit tried to persuade Immigration to allow us to land, without success. So we continued to the airlines hub at Cincinnati. Here we were put up for the night in a English-history themed hotel in Northern Kentucky, before flying on to Seattle the following morning. Immigration officials at Cincinnati were remarkably cordial and welcoming, given that they were being delayed on site especially for our very late arrival.

It rains frequently in Seattle, but we must have been due some good fortune, because our day touring was perfect. We went up the Space needle, amused by the 45 seconds of in transit commentary from the lift attendant, and took a boat ride round the harbour, with a lively commentary provided by a local guide. Lunch was at the Elliott Bay Restaurant on the harbour front, watching the sun sparkle off the waves in the bay.

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