Greece on our own
02.07.2007 32 °C
July 1, 2007
This morning I discover that Yogurt and Honey is not only a dessert but also breakfast. So once again I get to enjoy the local treat. We all dine at our 5 star hotel buffet and drink heartily as today it will be 95 degrees and we are planning to tour the historic sites of Athens. So we try an early start and depart the hotel at 10:00 AM
We ask for the best way to the Acropolis the highlight of any Athens tour. Our hotel directs us to the subway. We were a little hesitant at first since we do not know the system, do not speak Greek and are not sure of the fares but off on a Sunday morning we go down under Athens.
The subway turns out to be very clean and very easy to navigate. There are three lines, Red, Green and Blue. Blue only goes to the airport so we can eliminate that line. Red and Green Connect at a station one stop from our hotel station so we pay the .80 each and head into the subway.
We arrive at the entrance to the Acropolis in about 10 minutes. The subway is A/C active and not too crowded so it saved us 8 Euro in cab fares. We soon learn that we can use our .80 tickets all day and spend many hours traveling the city from end to end on the subway. It is a great way to get around.
So at the Acropolis we buy our 12 Euro tickets which are good for entrance into all the main sites, a great bargain. We enter the area and begin a long slow climb from the city level to the highest point in the city. On the way we see the Theater of Dionysus, several temples and some other artifacts of ancient Greece. The temperature is now well above 90 and we only survive the walk to the top due to a nice warm breeze and shade trees.
The Acropolis is very crowded and we have to negotiate around several tour groups from various parts of the world but finally climb the last steps to the top. It is worth the climb.
The Parthenon is magnificent and is under some level of reconstruction. The buildings around the Parthenon are also beautiful and represent various temples to the various gods of ancient Greece. There is also a modern look out point flying the Greek flag. We explore for more then an hour and really do not notice the heat until we begin the walk back.
Soon we see a refreshment stand and 14 Euros later we have a frozen Strawberry beverage and two Power Aids to replenish our lost water. Cathy is doing very very well and is really walking in the heat with limited issues. Chris is carrying a water filled back pack so we always have water so we are very well prepared. We even have towels and wet wipes to help cool us off so we press on.
Down from the Acropolis we visit the Temple of Zeus. Very little is left but this was the largest temple ever build in ancient Greece and was the site of one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, the Statue of Zeus. From here we visit Hadrian’s Wall, which we say last night.
It is now time for some food so we stop in a small café and for 10.5 Euro we dine on sandwiches and water. Feeling rested and a little cooler we press on and go back into the Plaka for more shopping.
We walk slowly through the Plaka and head back to the train station for a much needs return to the hotel and a nap. It is now near 96 degrees and getting hotter. We use our same subway ticket and head back to the hotel.
After a shower and nap we decide to board the subway again and head to the port city of Faliro. This is a port city near Piraeus a much larger port but all the guide books say Piraeus is dirty and the food is bad and overpriced so we go to the smaller port city and were glad we did.
We get off the subway and really have no idea where we are or which way to go. A very nice young lady helps us by giving us directions to walk across a footbridge and follow the road to where you will find many restaurants. Here directions were perfect and in less then 20 minutes we arrive at the water and have our choice of a dozen on the water dining options.
Competition for diners is keen and every place has a menu our front and a “hawker” telling you this is the best place, or we have the best prices, or our fish is the freshest. They will throw their body in front of you or a car to get you to stop and eat at their family place.
We pass the first one or two and come to one that we are told has the best prices. As we walk away he tells me if I came back he will buy me a drink. Not a bad offer. So we walk a little more and the restaurants are getting more and more expensive so we go back to the first place which had a decent menu and reasonable prices. I negotiate a free wine for Chris and I, Cathy did not want any, and we are shown to a table literally right on the water.
Being on the water the weather is now much cooler and we are enjoying the sunset as we sip our wine. Dining in Greece is a slow casual affair. They bring us a basket of bread (1 Euro) and sweet olive oil and a large bottle of water (2 Euro). We decide on a meal and order Spaghetti with fish for Cathy, fried sardines and a Greek salad for me and chicken fillets and French fries for Chris.
We dine slowly and feed the fish that are swimming just off the restaurant floor; I said we are on the water didn’t I? After about 90 minutes we are done eating and just sit and relax as the sun finally goes down behind some tall buildings. Since we still have some light left we decide to walk back across the bridge, use our same subway ticket and head back to the hotel for a well needed rest.
Tomorrow is the last day we spend with Chris as he begins the next part of his journey, 30 days exploring ancient Greece with his classmates.