Second Time Around travel blog

Not sure she wants to enlist

Classic for good reason

Mycenean funeral mask

We seem to have left behind the wind and rain. We are enjoying sunshine and warm afternoons.

We have our Dutch friends Jan and Henriette to thank. We have joined them for the remainder of our Greek tour. We specifically asked them to arrange the weather.

Mo first met Jan in grad school in Seattle. We have visited one another in the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, and U.S. over the years and have found them to be excellent hosts and travel companions.

The historic core of Athens in easily walked. Good thing. Traffic anywhere else in the city is nightmarish. There is a subway as well as buses, but "tourist" destinations are in the walkable center so the subway is useful mainly for getting to and from Athens airport (special €10 ticket required).

The tourist destinations do not disappoint. The Parthenon lives up to its reputation. The lesser-known Agora is a remarkable parklike open space at the city center. Even at the end of a long walking day, I was fascinated by the highlight pieces at the National Archeological Museum. I will say, however, that the smaller museums of Crete and Santorini were better presented.

A special experience was being hosted by Jan's friend Derrel. Derrel is from the Netherlands but lives in Athens where he works as a pilot for a major international construction company. Derrel not only picked up all of us at our hotel to drive us to his favorite out of town restaurant, he picked up the dinner tab and prepaid an Uber ride for us back to the hotel. We hope to someday return the generosity.

The only annoyance for me are the very aggressive restaurant "greeters" who try to herd you into their place. It was a pleasant relief today to find a small neighborhood sit-down place devoid of aggressive anyone, as well as decent food on offer for lunch.

Outside the tourist center, Athens is like any busy major city in Europe. Graffiti, crowds, homeless, and all. Take care crossing the street, even with the light.

I am pleased to say the Attalos where we are sleeping is the best hotel so far. It's good to be in a place where everything works in a quiet off-the-street room. And there are no ants.

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