For the past couple of weeks Ive been abroad - both on business but also some holidays. I was helping to run some internal training on Longhorn Server (specifically NAP and Branch Office technologies) to a bunch of internal folk - if youre in Europe watch out for the Longhorn Server events that will be coming your way soon!

In Australia - Jeff and I have been on this path for awhile with our recent and still running TechNet Update events on the "Longhorn Server Top 10". Anyhow - I digress...:)

So after doing the training event - my wife flew over and we had a short holiday. We stayed in Athens and went to the Acropolis etc. Went to Rhodes and stayed at the St Nikolis Hotel. Flew back to Athens and drove to Meteora (truly awesome and takes your breath away!) Then drove back and flew to Santorini and stayed at Dana Villas. Flew back to Athens again and finally home via stopovers in London and Singapore. We learned a few things about Greece...:)

1. Greek time is different to other countries time. When they say a flight is boarding at 10:50am they mean kind of around 10:50. If they can make it then great. Usually it just takes a bit longer.

2. Greek driving is just frenetic. Speed limits are more like rough guidelines. 80 km/h limit? Hmm. 120km/h sounds ok. 120km/h limit? Anything goes. And I mean anything goes. We cruised at times at 160km/h - people were passing me like I was standing still. Traffic lights? We had taxis that just kept going through red lights just flashing their lights to let other drivers know they were coming through regardless. I loved driving there :)

3. Greek airline pilots are impatient. We flew on Olympic Airways. The landing at Rhodes island was one of the scariest and fastest landings Ive ever been on. For me to shut my eyes and just hold on to the 737 seat for dear life says it all. The takeoff from Santorini was just as bad with the pilot taxiing at such a very fast pace that caused the cabin staff to say the fastest emergency briefing Ive ever heard....sounded like an auction...:) Im sure the ex-airforce pilots that fly this airline still think they are in the airforce.

4. Greek food is fabulous. My wife and I just kept eating. And eating. And eating. Spent a fortune on food!

5. Book direct. Dont go through the travel agencies. We found that we could have saved hundreds of dollars by bypassing the travel agencies and booking directly over the internet - especially with the hotels. In many cases your local travel agency deals with other booking agencies in Greece and all charge their cut on the price.

6. Learn some Greek. It helps when no-one speaks English - which happened often on the drive to Meteora. We bought a little pocket guide with some phrases in it that helped a lot!

7. Smoking is everywhere. The taxi drivers just light up while youre in the cab. No-one asks first if you mind including bar staff etc. Its like I remembered the 80's to be.

That said - We had a great time. Greece was fantastic - we loved it. Would definately go again - especially to Santorini!

Back to work again...