RKS Travel: Toronto to Athens: Escaping the COVID Shield

In 3 years I have been somewhat housebound as far as international travel goes. Paris in October of 2019. How great it was.

Time to spread the wings so off to Greece for a real vacation. Very smooth car ride to Toronto’s Pearson Airport. Expecting pandemonium, we left some 4 hours of cushion. But believe it or not we were through security in a flash with too much time to kill.  

Stopped in at Plaza Premium Lounge braving a line-up of close to an hour for food and beverages of low quality. The Guinness Tap not functional and the only other beer was Molson Canadian (enough said). They kept running out of food. Better value and quality at the in-terminal restaurants. Weird music almost hypnotic probably subliminally ordering you to buy a Caesar at $6.99. As we were leaving a special tune over the sound system “Deck the Halls”! Christmas in September!

The gate was jammed with people waiting to board and like all good Canadians that obey their federal government all were wearing masks! A very funny passenger agent announced you could check in your carry-on baggage. This set off a roar of laughter amongst the passengers. A disorderly boarding and what a great seat I get on the Air Canada plane. Right at the rear of the plane right by the toilets where you are continually victimized by an explosive flushing noise and the galley. Gee there used to be about four inches between the seat ahead and my knees. Now there is none.

The Air Canada mantra is, “We have chicken or pasta but we are out of chicken”. It never fails. My pasta looks and tastes decent but the cheese appears to be synthetic. And the usual stale roll with frozen butter. Low quality French wines which should be an offence as there is a “Canada” to Air Canada. The fun continues with “breakfast” of a stale croissant and a yogurt.  High culinary standards. Oh on the return trip the “out of chicken” Air Canada retort was heard. The food was slightly better on the return trip with an appetizer of Greek Salad and chicken ratatouille which was fine but the chunk of 40% dark chocolate had been placed under the hot dish leaving a molten pool of melted chocolate.

I could continue but perhaps best to say welcome back to international travel.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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