Another interesting flight from Athens, Greece to Basel, Switzerland

Well you may have noticed that I was not blogging in February. I was on a long travel back south (something like down under as the Australians say!). By now I am back to my base in Switzerland.

I have flown countless times until now. But I always find seeing the world from above fascinating! In most case I have no idea where exactly we are. I find that when the airlines show where we are is quite interesting. Nevertheless, this is not so common anymore I think. By myself I can assume our relative position only where there are islands around or big mountains.

I flew from the Athens International Airport to the EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg. If the weather is good and my seat nice (which means far enough from the wing) I distinguish quite a few parts of the route from north or central Europe to the south or the other way around as this time:

  • In Greece can see a bit of Athens, although I can’t tell exactly which part of the huge city it is, unless I see the Acropolis or the port of Pireus. Then follows the coastline to the north, with most distinct the interesting peninsulas of Chalkidiki and Mount Athos. Unfortunately this time Greece did not have the best weather. There was light rain in Athens and clouds in most of the country. I was also sitting from the left side of the plane, so probably I would be looking towards the mainland of the country and not the coastline.
From Google maps, how the Chalkidiki peninsulas look like from above.
  • After the general area of Thessaloniki, the plane flies over land, which is far too uniform for me to understand where we are. I can start getting an idea again, once I see a coastline with a lot of small islands scattered around: we are over Croatia! And in the distance over the sea it is the coast of Italy! I think it takes about an hour of flight from Athens to reach this point and by this time the weather had improved a lot.
A small plane rushing next to us and the coast of Italy in the background
  • At a point the sea finishes and we meet again the land. At this point we are flying over Italy! The pilot was kind enough to inform us about our position: from the left side I was sitting we could see Venice.
The end of the Adriatic and flying over Italy, with Venice in the background
  • Shortly after the end of the Adriatic, start the Alps! I love seeing the Alps from above. They are magnificent! Especially now in February they were full of snow.
  • Through the Alps we crossed over to Switzerland. Unfortunately, I have no idea which route we followed. Countries can seem to be so small when you fly over them… It did not take long to see another type of water I recognise: the Rhine. To be honest, I know that it is the Rhine because we were descenting to the Euroairport.
The Rhine from above and next to it probably the Grand Canal d’Alsace.

A beautiful flight

If I reflect about it, I think the time I have spent in airports or airplanes or travelling towards an airport would amount to at least a month. It is usually time spent tediously and rather lost from other more interesting activities. How about sitting behind a baby crying during all the flight, or in front of a child that finds it fun to kick the back of your seat? And the people that put their seats back, bringing the seat in your face, thanks to the tight space of the rows? All of these have happened to me!

Yesterday I was flying from Zurich to Athens. The trip included more than an hour in the train to reach the airport, then about 2 hours till the flight (I was a bit too early in the airport; next time I won’t), then about 2.5 hours flight and in the end one whole hour until the luggage came out! My mood followed the plane itself: it was deteriorating while waiting for the flight, improved once the plane took off and deteriorated again while waiting for the luggage.

Nevertheless, I focus on the positive! There was a baby crying but it was far away! There was a child but it was in front of me! I had a window seat and the weather was beautiful, so I had brilliant views!

Look at the lake of Zurich!


And then the Alps started.


I always find them amazing, but when covered in snow they are magnificent!



The views closer to Greece were not so clear, as there seemed to be dust in the air. But closer to landing, it cleared up and I managed to see the Isthmus of Corinth. It is a narrow land bridge that connects Peloponnese with the mainland. In 1893 a big canal was created, so as to save the ship the time to go around the Peloponnese. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to make a photo of it myself, but the photo of the NASA Observatory is really what I saw!


Photo credit: NASA Observatory