It feels weird to leave the county during a pandemic. The train to the Viennese airport is really empty. But I get a seat right away and we continue in this half empty fashion through the suburbs. In the end we are just three persons in my compartment when we arrive at the airport. There is also no line at the drop-off but weirdly enough there is a line for the lounge. People are placed far apart and everyone runs around in masks. By the time I sit down and have a beer I am almost used to this new realty. Maybe it’s the beer which helps.
Entering Greece with the QR code turns out to be easier than expected. The real hurdle was apparently filling out the documents in advance and receiving the code. The flight is not full due to all the people the carrier left stranded in Vienna. As sad as it is for them, I am glad when we are finally on the way with only 40 minutes delay. I guess the unloading of the suitcases took some time as well. Never mind the delay though, I was more than happy to be back in Greece.
From Athens airport to Piraeus you have a direct train. Tickets are 9,- EUR and the ride takes exactly an hour. During all this time, from the moment I left the lounge at the airport to the moment I got off the train in Piraeus, I never remove my mask. It’s not really pleasant to be honest but also something you get used to. As much as I dislike it kind of makes you feel safe. Which is of course stupid, because you are not really safe with a mask.
While on the train the seats are marked which have to stay empty, on the ferry the next morning the marks are obsolete. It’s packed until the last seat. Probably the only concession the ferry companies give is sell a seat per person. Or maybe they always did that? In any case the seat on your ticket is not important. You have to go and find your own seat.
The Greek islands have really low numbers in terms of infections. Milos, my destination, doesn’t even have a case. That it stays that way, regulations enforce the wearing of masks in all interior places. Like on buses, boats, and shops. And people comply! Which is fantastic and I love that the service personal of all transports checked the abidance of the law. When you remove your mask on the bus and driver notices it, he calls back to you from the front. Also while on a small ferry, sitting the whole time outside, the wearing of masks was mandatory. Austria could learn something from Greece.
More laissez-faire are the restaurants since they only serve outside. The waiters wear their masks mostly on their chin. And this solely for the police which comes regularly to check, or so the waitress on my first evening told me. But even there are some waiters which will wear their masks all evening long. It is impressive this commitment to hygiene and safety for everybody.
Hotels on the other hand are very strict. While I was checking in the masks were on the whole time. Later it was necessary to move through the house with a mask. The doors of Zoe Apartments were always open and the whole building had fresh air coming in from all sides. The hotel in Athens was a different matter. There masks had to stay in place all the time and everywhere in the hotel except in your room, at the pool, or at your breakfast table. All was very proper and I never felt safer.
Whatever is happening with the virus all over the world, Greece does it right. In all the places I stayed and visited, people made an effort to keep their distance and comply with the regulations. If you want to go on a vacation and Greece let’s you in, then don’t miss out on it because of the pandemic. There is nothing to worry about in Greece. Yours, Pollybert