Tony & Cynthea Zurich, Turkey, Greece, Mallorca travel blog

Hadrians' library

Hadrians' library

Opica & Digby

riot squad

riot squad


Another warm day by the look of things. The roomie was up and out early, and is back about 8.30 as we wake up. She is still bitching about the smell, and all we can smell is a bit of citronella, and it wasn’t that bad to us. She buggers off and leaves us in peace, and the cleaner comes by, so we ask Irana if she can smell something bad in the room, and she says it is fine.

Banana for breakfast, and then we are off to use the last of our four day pass tickets. We are feeling “more of the same”, but we have paid for the tickets and we will bloody well use them! We also have a few hours left on our metro tickets, and Cynthea wants to see a bit more of the city suburbs, so first we head to the metro and pick a line out towards the airport. We go as far as we are allowed on a metro ticket, and get off at the station. So much for seeing the sights, the line was all underground, and Plakentias station was nothing but a transport hub. So we head over to the train station as our pass lets us on those as well, and wait 20 minutes for the train to Nerantziotissa. There is at least a mall here, but there is no relief from the muggy heat. We have a sandwich for lunch and head to the metro. There are still lines closed for redevelopment, so there is a lot of chopping and changing to get to Monastiraki.

We visit Hadrian’s Library and the Roman Agora, but we are feeling the heat, and we are a bit tired as well, so we head back to the hostel. There is a bigger than usual police presence, and the riot squad are here fully armed, with their shields and tear gas as well, waiting across from our hotel. There is yet another protest at the town hall a couple of hundred metres away, and it sounds like it is kicking off again. We are worried that the shit will hit the fan, and they will end up down our street or at least at the corner (only about 25 metres away). The road to the town square is cordoned off, as is the street opposite our hotel (goes behind the town hall). We are told no photos, and are told to bugger off. A couple of guys next to Tony take photos, one is using film and looses the roll. The other has his digital camera taken and the cop deletes photos and hands it back. We watch from our room, Tony is spotted with his camera and it is made clear he is not to take photos. He sets the timer and places the camera where the cops can’t see it and walks away, but the shots are not that good. There is a better view from the roof top, and Tony takes some photos from there.

The guys in reception (two British, one Texan, one Greek with no English) working here tell us there is nothing to worry about, that the riot squad will send them to Omonia, away from the tourist area, if it does kick off. A couple of hours later and the riot squad stands down, the protest seems to have stopped, and the cordons have been lifted, all is back to “normal”, but there are still a lot of police about., There is a job going for the season – free bed and EUR25 a day, probably enough to live on if you don’t eat out, and don’t go to the bars.

We head down to the market square for a bite to eat, souvalaki again. Cheap and filling, it is good backpacker tucker. We have both lost a bit of weight, all that walking we guess, that and not having big meals. We meet Sam from Wellington on a mission to buy cheap beer, and we tell him the second kiosk down has the better price than the one next to us. We grab a couple of cans and head up to the roof. Anthony has a DVD to watch, but we cannot get the damn player draw to open. Tony gets out the Swiss army knife for a bit of surgery, but then sees there are no av cables. He heads down to reception and Chris tells him there aren’t any, fat lot of use that is. Chris says they will open the bar tonight, but it isn’t official so they only have a cheap beer available at 50c a glass.

In the dorm our roomie is in bed early again, Tony asks her if she wants the light off, and she just turns to the wall and doesn’t reply, so he leaves it on and heads upstairs. We watch a bit of MTV, but reception is poor so we are not that interested. Sam and Marcella have their mascot, Opica (Czech for monkey), with them in the common room, and he makes friends with Digby. We haven’t had an Ouzo in Greece yet, so Tony goes to Chris at the bar and yes they have it, and it was on the house, nice one. Tony tries one of the beers, it is some local brew in a plastic 2 litre. Tastes “different” and Chris laughs, and says everyone pulls that face when they first try it. It is cold and wet, so we have a couple while we talk until very late. We give the hostel staff a bit of a hard time about the accommodation, the showers in particular, no lift for the six floors, and lack of an open bar until now. They just shake their heads and laugh, they have heard it all before, but the owners are Russian and “do things differently”. We also mention the silly rule of one key per room, as anytime you are the last person to leave the room, no matter where you are going (to go to the roof, or the showers, down the street, it doesn’t matter where), you must leave the key at reception. Pain in the neck, that is, but they say it stops keys getting lost. Anyone leaving the hostel with a key by mistake gets such a hard time they don’t do it again.

We get back to the dorm very late, the window is closed and the lights are off, but there is a lot of light as the shutters are not closed. It will be bloody noisy to open and close the windows to get at the shutters, so we get ready for bed and just pull the thin curtain across. It is still light in the room, and Cynthea digs out an eye mask.

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