A Travellerspoint blog

Day 36, Naxos

sunny 23 °C

I had written a full post while Shane slept this morning, but the computer messed up and it was lost. I refuse to re-write it. So unless Shane decides to write all you need to know is that we made it to Naxos. And it is awesome!

Posted by s-a 12:46 Archived in Greece Tagged naxos Comments (7)

Day 35, Athens

sunny 30 °C

I tried to sleep in this morning, we did go to bed at 0100 after all. Of course it didn’t work, I woke at 8:30. I chatted with Steph on the computer and tried to figure out exactly what to do that day (the answered ended up being: nothing.) At 0915 I got some toast and made some instant coffee. I didn’t wake Shane until 10:30, he’s been getting on me about not letting him sleep enough. After he did finally get up we were in search of stamps. We walked for a while with the directions given to us by a guy at a news kiosk, before we got to the closest thing we could find, a mail sorting station. They directed us a few blocks away and we bought them (.75 euros PER STAMP! SO CHEAP!)
We made a stop at the yogurt place, (fir honey and muesli for me and sour cherry for Shane) and grabbed two greek coffees as well. Greek coffee, Turkish coffee, it’s the same thing. Be sure you don’t drink the bottom third however, it’s only sludge. (And yes Tash and Erin it taste like the stuff we drank.) We decided on a walk up on the acropolis. The views from there are very good. It was very hot this day, with the heat just hanging around you like a blanket so the wind up top of the hill was very refreshing.
Once we got off the hill we stepped onto a metro line and took it to Pireaus port to pick up our ferry tickets. We had bought them online a few weeks earlier and they were proving hard to get at. We asked at three separate stores labeled Blue Star Ferries, how to get to an office that would print them and after a few more minutes of walking got there. The man who served us must have just had a fresh glass of hate-o-rade because he sure was cranky! We were told to be at terminal E7 30 minutes before our departure the next morning. We left 25 minutes after we had arrived the bustling port.
When we finally disembarked the smelly (++) hot (+++) train we were starving and unhappy. After making a big stink about where we would get ripped off the least we finally just sat down. The value wasn’t great but the food was adequate and we ate with gusto.
We left for home, making a pit stop at a grocery store for yogurt and water for the next day. We got our laundry and brought it downstairs to clean. We waited patiently for it to finish washing and when we moved it to the drier we found a nice black pen exploded in the wash. We dried the clothes anyway and hoped for the best. The casualties were few luckily, because all our favourite clothes were in there. We lost two of my shirts and kept (with minor marks) my favourite shorts and one of Shane’s shirts. We were lucky.
We ate gyros for dinner but ended up in skuztown along the way. I blame it on the dog. One of the (many stray) dogs we saw across the street was a golden retriever and because we miss ours so much we had to go say hi. He was having none of it and totally ignored us but because we were so enamored we missed our turn. The walk completely turned us around and suddenly we were in a far grittier part of town than we cared to see. We made it, totally intact, for gyros. This time I also tried some greek salad, but it wasn’t very good. Returning to our bakery for dessert resulted in another disappointing cake, we actually threw it out, which is very unusual for me.
We got ready for bed and had the lights out at 2230. At 2330 a couple who had just checked in burst into the room and turned on the lights. Now I should point out that the air conditioning in the room didn’t work and the door to the patio had to remain open, but it just so happens our room is above the bar. Who in turn was having a quiz night. So. It was very loud and very very hot in the room, it was a miracle we fell asleep at all. The nice couple who opened the door (flooding the room with light) and turned on the lights woke us up at once. And thus proceeded the most terrible night of sleep so far. I must have woken up 20 times from different people and noises. 0600 came slow (and when it did I REALLY wanted to turn the lights on for them!!)

Posted by s-a 09:33 Archived in Greece Tagged athens Comments (3)

Day 34, Athens

sunny 28 °C

Shane started off our morning buttering a train line of toast. Because toast can’t actually fill a person up, we headed straight over to the yogurt store. It’s just a few blocks from where we are staying and is totally awesome! This time the guy talked us into some spoon sweets to top our yogurt. I went with strawberry, sweet and crunchy tiny little berries (wild, not the kind you are used to) and Shane had a sour cherry topping. Both were very, very good. Though even for us (fat fiends) the greek yogurt is a little rich and thick. Honestly it’s like eating a bowl of slightly thin cream cheese. In the best possible way.
Our next move was to the National Gardens to await an 1100 start time of the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We hung out on the benches for a while as time ticked by. We watched a man fall asleep on a bench and a guy drown his shoes in a water fountain. We even watched that same man hitting on the woman on the bench beside him. They seemed to be getting along well. We bought a sesame bread ring that we’ve seen being sold all over the place though I’m not sure why as they are nothing special. By the time we walked around the corner, the changing had already started, but we couldn’t see much. We waiting in the back for a few minutes before the crowds shifted and the band walked down the street with soldiers marching after them. You see the huge pompoms on their shoes? We asked our tour guide about these yesterday and he told us they used to hide knives in them. Badass? I think so.
After watching the spectacle we decided it was time to see the museum of the Acropolis. It is a new museum containing the artifacts and decorations from the Acropolis as well as ancient Greece. It was actually built on top of ruins that they are still busy excavating. Interestingly they’ve made the floor glass so you can see them work on it. Unfortunately we were rather bored by the entire thing, contrary to all the great reviews it has received. I wonder if it’s because my imagination not quite up to snuff or that we are just museumed out.
We had a place in mind for lunch and after an extensive walk through the sweltering heat, saw that it was closed. Story of our lives I’m telling you! But when in doubt eat a gyro. Yum! We sat down in a cafe and ordered two frappes where Shane proceeded to get in an argument with the man sitting across as to who’s garbage was sitting on the table between us. Think we needed a nap? I agree.[Ok Shane here. What actually happened was that an employee came to clean the dirty table we were all seated around and as she was doing so she muttered something in Greek. The man who was sitting at the table with us gestured towards us and said something back to her in Greek. All I said said was ‘Hey, it’s not ours. He was sitting here with it when we got here.’ As we were leaving the guy said, ‘Oh you’re from Canada?’. And that was it. No argument, no confrontation. I was merely setting the record straight in a language I figured neither of them really understood...and yes, I DID need a nap...] (And because I'm the final editor I get the final word! There was a few more "no it's not ours" in an irritated rude voice coming from Shane while the man kept nodding that indeed it was our garbage. And ALL GREEKS SPEAK ENGLISH! EVERY ONE OF THEM!)
So back to our hostel we went where we used the computer in the sports bar and rested a bit. For dinner Shane made some pasta with the pesto, garlic and lemon we bought in the Cinque Terre. I did the dishes and we ate some baklava. This is a style of baklava I’ve had a few Greek people tell me is superior to the one we all know and love. I would now officially beg to differ. This style is not that great according to my tastes. In fact it’s less sweet, less crispy, less interesting form of last night’s delicious gooey dessert.
We continued on our walk as darkness was settling in, waiting for 2200 when the Vancouver playoff game would be broadcasted live at the bar underneath our room. We drank a few (more) beers as we watched the game with a few other Canadians and got annoyed by large numbers of drunk people (Eastern Canadians[Torontonians specifically] embarrassing Canada actually) creating far more noise than necessary. Towards the end of the night we had talked to a few of them (truthfully we got talked TO by a few of them) and left as soon as the game was over, about 0045. Thank goodness we won!

Posted by s-a 08:35 Archived in Greece Tagged athens Comments (0)

Day 33, Athens

sunny 27 °C

We slept very well into the morning. All of our room mates left at 0600 to catch ferries to the islands, so we had the room to ourself. We woke and packed quickly trying to get down to breakfast before it was over at 0930. Breakfast was nothing but a toast buffet. So we checked out and put our bags down into storage. We ran down the street to the yogurt store. Awesome! We got a greek yogurt with greek honey and fresh strawberries. So GOOD! We ran back down the street and signed up for a walking tour at our hostel.
The tour was 4 hours long, because we had such a big group to gather around. We hit most of the major sights without going in. The tour was very informative, with a huge amount of information, but rather dry unfortunately. We did manage to get some information from our tour guide, who without the tour group was really funny and nice, about the island we are going to and some places to check out.
After the tour finished at 1400 we were very hungary. We found a place we had picked out for lunch without to much trouble. We decided to try a few different small dishes. Boy did we feast, service was curt and slow, but it didn’t matter. We scraped our bread through a thick harsh garlic hummus (yummmmmmm!) We had some stuffed peppers and tomatoes and a big hunk of saganaki (fried cheese.) It was very good, we (Shane) polished off a half liter of wine and then we left.
Checking into our new hostel room was next on the docket. Our new room has a bigger lounge area but the smallest room you could fit 6 people into. There isn’t hardly room to walk. We hung out and fought with the internet for a few hours or so before we left. We needed to leave and get away from our not-so-great roommate so we walked down the street and ordered 2 frappes. 6.40 euros later (OMG!) we left. Jeeze! We got some postcards and a deck of cards from one of the million tourist stores lining the streets. We walked to the roof top bar and get a few beers during happy hour. We talked to some people hanging around and then left for dinner. We strolled the streets and got some more gyros from Sabbas (our favourite.)
We walked around looking for baklava and when we finally found some I was in love! There were a few different kinds and I chose, to start off with, the kind I find most traditional, the one I make. I don’t know how it is called but I’d call it baklava. It was so good, crispy, a little salty from the butter and sweet enough to make your throat sting. I can’t wait to get more tonight!
When we got home we took our showers (so stupid! the water gets all over the floor because the shower curtains aren’t long enough!) and fought with the internet some more. The air conditioning didn’t work in the room, so I’m sure we all sweated to sleep.

Posted by s-a 07:01 Archived in Greece Tagged athens Comments (2)

Day 32, Athens

sunny 23 °C

sunrise from the airport

We woke up at 0200, very dark and early. With gathered our things and tiptoed out of the apartment. We got our two cappuccinos and ran to the bus stop as an early night bus was speeding down the street. It was 30 minutes earlier than the one we wanted, but I thought better early than late. The bus was busy and dropped us off 5 minutes later at the main train station. We found where the bus would pick us up and bring us to the airport. We were just settling in for a long wait when an earlier bus (1 hour before the one we wanted to catch) swung by.
We hopped on, we were the only passengers. Shane gave the man a 20 euro bill. He gave him back a 1 euro coin. Then he took that back and gave him a 2 euro coin. Shane looked at him as he babbled in Italian fishing through his pockets. Shane said to him “It’s 14, (he counted 14 fingers) I need 6 (holds up 6 fingers) back. The man looks at him and start nattering and smiling. He gets out a 5 euro bill and hands him a 1 euro coin. Shane gives him back the 2 euro coin. He smiles and laughs and says some more stuff. We sit down. I guess I might try to rip off some unsuspecting tourists at 0300 too.
The bus dropped us off at the airport at 0345. We waited outside until the doors opened at 0400. The check-in counter didn’t open until 0445 and when it did we were waiting. We got a few items for an expensive breakfast and before we even settled in, at 0545 we all jumped in line (yay budget airlines with no assigned seats!) as the people from easyjet showed behind the counter. We took a bus to the airplane and ran for the doors. We got the last two seats together. We watched one episode of the Tudors on the plane. We began our decent shortly thereafter. The guy one seat in front of us, in the middle turned quite rowdy towards the end. He was really getting in his neighbours faces and constantly trying to talk to the attendants. He was clearly very drunk. As we dropped in for the touchdown he starts moving around wildly, pretending to smack his head on the seat in front of him and covering his head like he was bracing for impact. the woman next to us turn in horror and asks “is he DRUNK?!” Shane and I both said “yes, definitely.” So she says to us, “well why didn’t you do anything? He’s not allowed to fly” as though he was our friend and we allowed him to fly. It had just become as obvious to us a few short minutes ago. We gave her a few confused looks and then said “Well, he’s not our responsibility” She just looked away.
We found the metro and paid the ridiculous 14 euros for a train ride into Athens. Our hostel was easy to find and we dropped our bags off. We were very hungary so we asked the reception lady where we could find good food. She gives us a map and points out a few places on it. The map has no street names. After wandering for an hour we finally just sat down in a place that didn’t look to touristy and had a good, but not great meal. Around this time my left foot started to hurt really bad. I had woken up with a pain but it wasn’t to noticeable. It started to swell and I started to limp. The walk back was long and painful. It felt as though my 3rd and 4th toes and the nerves running from them were being smooshed.
We checked into our hostel and picked out our bunks. We grabbed our laundry and took it to the laundromat next door. While we were washing (free laundry soap YES! Shane’s pack came off the flight without ours) we bought two coffee drinks called frappe, iced coffee, sugar and milk frothed up. We talked to a few older travelers, one couple from New Zealand and one from Manitoba for a little while.
When we got back into our room we had a few neighbours. We chatted to Carina (Hi Carina!) in the bunk next to ours for a few hours while we showered and Shane grabbed us dinner. We ate our (super delicious) gyros on our bunk before we left with Carina for a rooftop bar a few blocks away. The bar was a part of our hostel and it had a beautiful view of the Acropolis as the sunset. We drank a couple beers while we chatted about cameras and travel. Around 2130 (keeping in mind we were up at 0200) we left and went back to our room and slept soundly.
Carina took this picture on my camera, good thing she knows what she's doing!

Posted by s-a 06:41 Archived in Greece Tagged athens Comments (5)

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