Day 5 - Fri Apr 8 to Athens
We left London behind via the tube again and flew to Athens, flight time 3h 15m. The croissant from Pret Manger in the London airport was divine! 'Twas sunny in Athens and about 65° (sandal time, yeah!!). We found our hotel about 2 blocks from the subway station (Jen is quickly achieving subway master status). I got a kick out of the naked ladies on the billboards, not even sure what they were advertising. The Athens airport and subway were both extremely modern, and most things are labeled in both Greek and English. Thankfully because the Greek is downright impossible to decipher. In the sense that many names start with K it reminds me of Hawaii.
As it turns out in Athens, there is history everywhere, you don't even have to look for it. There are ancient marble columns out in the neighborhoods, more than you can shake a stick at. And the Acropolis is perched up there on a hill in the middle of town, watching your every move. They are nice enough to light the prominent ones up at night, where they look even cooler. At the Syntagama Metro station we viewed a small exhibit displaying what excavators had found underground when building the station. They had a cross section of the earth that was about 15 feet tall and 2 feet deep that showed the striation of the earth as well as burial graves (two of them with bones!!) and building walls from previous civilizations dating back to 200BC.
We walked around town for a little longer than we wanted to because I got us lost. But we saw lots of quaint little streets, the archeological finds in the main subway station, and Jen petted several cats and dogs. There were also no less than 100 open air cafes along our walk, 98% of them Greek restaurants. Jen cleverly noted that if you wanted to get ahead in this town, all you'd need to do is open something else. It's also scooter and motorcycle-central. I noticed there were quite a few couples riding bikes, and often the man had a helmet and the woman did not. I need to find a clever nickname for this arrangement. It is pedestrians beware as drivers simply do not slow down and crosswalks seem to be meaningless.
There do not seem to be a lot of tourists here yet, the streets were very busy with locals milling about and having dinner. Of course this also means Jen sticks out like a sore thumb with her blond hair and light skin. As the guidebook warned us, everyone smokes all of the time, even while eating. Literally, munch, munch, puff, puff, munch. It's bizarre. As with London, hardly anyone here is overweight - especially the women who all seem to be a size 2 and wear it tight, or low cut, or both.
We had dinner at about 10pm. That seems to be when the locals eat, even the children. It was dead at 7pm, when all the restaurants hosts were actively begging us to stop in.
Our room is thankfully bigger than in London, but otherwise pretty much the same, except for the RV-style bathroom where there is no shower curtain, so everything in there gets wet, and also the sheets of questionable cleanliness!
I (Jen) finished a book today, Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik. It was quite excellent and I'm a bit sad it's over. I guess the good part is I can send it to Mom and lose a bit of pack weight and gain some room in my pack. Chris and I both packed just a tad too heavy - but not sure there was any way around it. With the laptop, 2 cameras (and all the adaptors and cords that go with), and 5 guidebooks covering various countries, it doesn't leave a lot of room for other stuff. In a week or two I'll reevaluate everything I brought and ship back what I'm not using enough. Of course I'll need it as soon as I ship it back....
I'm exited that I haven't had a migraine yet - so that's about 5 days, which is quite unusual for me.