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Day 54, back to England

[Friday, 8 June 2011] I went to bed with some trepidation. Word was that the Greek taxi drivers might, might be on strike today, so I didn’t know if I would have a taxi or have to take a bus to the airport, so I got up at 4:30, went downstairs, and had the front desk call for a cab. Thank God, they were not on strike, and one was at the hotel inside of two minutes.

The cabbie told me that the taxis had been on strike the day before, on Thursday. They had originally planned to strike on Friday and Saturday, but the rank and file who had the weekend off didn’t want to be inconvenienced, so the strike was moved back to Thursday. Says something about the present Greek financial crisis.

So I sat a while at the airport, but I didn’t care. I was there, the plane was on time, and I was on the next leg of my trip. Paid for my last meal in Greece: a cup of cappuccino and a croissant: 7 Euros, nearly $14.

Flight to Munich was uneventful, as was the layover, the flight to Heathrow, the express train into London, the Underground and British Rail trip up to Dorridge, near Birmingham, where I was to spend the night with a very old friend, David Johnson. Time in travel: almost 14 hours.

David and I knew each other in Texas in the early ‘80’s. He’s a few years younger than me and had converted to Orthodoxy the year before I did at St Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas, where we met. We were tonsured Readers at the same time. A few years later we lost track of each other, but he called me out of the blue a couple of months ago. Seems he had married an English girl and they were now living in England, in a little town a few miles south of Birmingham, where they have a family, as well. It’s hard to travel this far around the world and not stop in to see folk that you know, and I had included a couple of extra days in my itinerary for contingencies anyway, so I had the time.

We reminisced about the old days, talked about people we knew. He bought me a proper English dinner of fish ‘n’ chips. I bought him a pint of ale at a proper English pub. His wife, Sue, God bless her, has a washing machine, and my cassock, which I had worn almost continuously for three weeks, finally got washed.