LAST DAYS in ATHENS

Athens

 
Arrived back in the afternoon and met by our kind taxi driver Aristedes. He’s a big Greek man with a scraggly pony tail and a very kind attitude. 
 
Checked in and I have a room with a view. THE view in Athens – of the Acropolis.

My perfect Athens view from my room

Magic view. Up to the roof top  to drink –  the view and the wine. Jill’s not feeling too good with her coughing so we didn’t stay too long. We headed out for a short walk and a very touristy type dinner. Early night

 
THURSDAY
 
Up at a reasonable time and down to breakfast to find Jill not good at all and  has called the doctor to the hotel. So a slow start and then a little walk around the Plaka. She felt a bit better and we went along the streets towards Parliament to see the changing of the guards. Beautiful day. 
View form our coffee shop

 

Sadly Jill didn’t want to continue and returned to the hotel with Chris, so I went
exploring on my own. I found the upmarket area with the expensive shops and I did
some people looking – not shopping! 

Also found the local department store Aticca. It was a kind of upmarket department store spread over 6 floors. They put the men’s clothes on 1 & 2 and the ladies clothes on floors 4 & 5. So different in Australia where womens clothes are much more visible. Tried a few things on but didn’t buy! Then made my way, in a round about way, to the Acropolis area and wandered around, had a sandwich and got back to the hotel at 4 to check on Jill. She decided not to go out again. Sad news. 

So up to the roof top I went to drink – both the view and the wine and was joined by Chris. 

The perfect guard!

 

 

 

 Chris and I went out for a last dinner together and had what was probably one of the better dinners – certainly in Athens. 
 
Off to bed after packing. 
Jill and Chris are leaving at 5.45 am
I’ll be still asleep so we said are farewells tonight
It’s been a wonderful holiday having the “Wandering Wilsons” along on the holiday adventure. Swimming and island hopping. 
 
FRIDAY
 
Up and out and felt strange again by myself. Did more wandering and people watching and went to the jewellery museum. All of Athens is a jewellery museum from what I can see there are sooooo many shops! I had people making me all sort of offers and discounts. I kept saying – after trying things on. I really like it but I’ll have to bring my husband back to see it. He has the cash. That usually ensues a further discount. Pity it’s not going to happen! 
 
Picked up again by Aristedes, this time accompany by his wife Maria who became my best friend by the time we had detoured around the city on a little side trip. They provided water and a pastry this time and I was out at the airport in very good time. Worth the money. 
 
Went to the lounge, which involved practically walking back to Athens and waited for the boarding which was on time. Had a lovely flight with an air hostess who was so trim and beautiful I thought she might be an out of work actress. 
 
Now sitting in Paris waiting for my flight to Singapore where I will meet up with Narelle , my Sydney school friend. Fun times ahead!

LAST DAY ON HYDRA

Last morning in Hydra

 
Our last day on the island dawned with the usual cacophony of noises starting at 7am. 
 
I’m sitting writing this to the echoes of a saw, dogs barking, donkeys baying, people chattering, school kids talking, a lady sweeping the terrace and a cat meowing. 
It makes it  all rather real though as if living in a little country town by the sea. 
 
After we pack its down to the harbour for coffee, a visit to the museum, a walk around the other headland, lunch and onto the ferry at 3. We are seriously hoping the water is not too rough today.

Views from the fort on the headland

 

My friend Kerrie, who recommended Hydra to me, told me when she travelled here,  everyone (but her)  was vomiting into bags being handed out by the staff – Kerrie, you didn’t mention that before!  
Really it’s not too bad and I too would recommend Hydra. 

Arriving in Naxos.

Naxos
The swim trek is getting closer and I’m starting to get nervous. Hope I can keep up with my fellow swimmers. The weather will be so important as to how we enjoy each day so I’m praying to the weather Gods for a fine blue Greek sky. 
 
The plane was late loading and then we were driven out to it and boy did it look little! A bit scary! We squished on and and I felt like I was in charge of the propellor. I was that close to it! We had a lovely attractive air hostess called Sophia who read the safety requirements in just passable English , so I’m hoping there is no emergency! 

 We hardly seemed to go up before we were flying over little islands then it was time to land. The baggage hall was a funny little room with a set of rollers coming out of a hole in the wall and if you didn’t pick your bag up quickly it crashed onto the floor! 

 
Arrived at our lovely Hotel Grotta. So beautiful and neat and clean. Unlike many other buildings in the area, it is yellow. Our room looks over the sea and the green shutters frame the blue sea beautifully. The manageress greeting us with drinks, spinach pie and orange syrup cake. All very delicious as we hadn’t had lunch. 

We met two others who are doing the swim trek and OH NO they are from Australia!They probably feel the same about us! But we would like some cultural difference. We met some people from the trek that had just finished and there were no Australians on that trek. Anyway I’m sure our group will be good together.
 
We headed down into the township and it’s just lovely. Lots of  colourful restaurants and signs for tempting cocktails and, somehow, I overlooked the “sex on the beach”,” between the sheets”,”a loving couple” and decided on a strawberry daiquiri. The friendly green man in the yellow shirt promised me a fresh fruit cocktail – but sadly it was all show and no punch!

We moved onto to one of the many seafood restaurants and used a recommendation by the lady at the hotel. It’s probably her brother’s – but how do you decide? Probably could have gone to the one with the old many beating the octopus outside his place, or the one with the coal BBQ, or the one with chairs painted the colours of the rainbow. But in the end we were happy and shared a lovely BBQ dorado with grilled vegetables, salad and lots of local wine.

 

Tomorrow we meet Ricky and Emma our two guides. Hope we get less wind and lots of laughs.

Morning in Athens – or Where the Eastern Frieze should be

Morning in Athens

We decided to make the most of our morning in Athens and help Steve get some sights in.
So up early and breakfast at the hotel and then on foot to the Pantheon Museum and the Acropolis – about 15 minutes away. It was well worth the early breakfast at 7am and being on the street by 7.40. It’s much quieter then and the walk towards the Acropolis was wonderful. Got there as it opened at 8:00 and spent a great hour there. On good advice from some young friends of the Wilsons we headed to the top food at the Museum. It explains clearly the story behind the building of the Acropolis . We spent some time marvelling at the remains being pieced together by the archeologists.

Evzonnes at the Greek National Memorial

Trying to beat the tour groups, our own little group of 5 set off up the hill. It unfolds gently as you walk the slopes. The view across the city unfolds and the whiteness of the building starts to stun. As we rounded the last curve towards the Acropolis we were shocked to see the crowds, in waves, of cruise ship tour groups. DAMN! They must have come sneaking through special tour gates.

The The area around the Acropolis is rocky and rough and feels more original than having set paths and signs. The temple of Athena is also there and has exquisite carvings on the porticos surrounding the temple.

Recreated Eastern Frieze at the Museum

The Acropolis is wonderful, awe inspiring, magnificent – a piece of architecture to rival anything modern. Up close it is amazing, but like a lot of buildings its grandeur becomes obvious from a distant viewing.

We wandered back down the hill through winding streets led by our own little tour guide, Sarah, who with the aid of google earth had us back near the hotel before ur departure time of 11am.

So we had time for a little shoe shopping and a really beautiful coffee.

Back to collect bags and then a suitcase rally to the nearest metro station for a train out to the airport.
All very easy.

Theatre on the Acropolis
Two old ruins amongst the ruins

 

Where the Eastern Frieze should go

 

Just another monument in Athens

Athens…………

Athens
 
We left La Grande Motte in the dark and got to Marseilles in plenty of time for our Aegean Airline flight. It was crowded but I had an empty seat next to me – lucky me! 
 
The flight was delayed and as it turned out we arrived at the same time as the Wilsons. We met in the baggage area. Shared a taxi to the hotel where we found Sarah waiting for us. A quick change and off we went to the roof top bar! Oh my what a view. Looked straight out toward the Acropolis. Magic! It’s so lovely to meet up with our good friends in such an exotic location. 

The Wilsons had friends (two lovely young sisters from home) meet us and we enjoyed a variety of drinks while catching up and looking at the view. Finally the need for food took over and off we went to find a restaurant commended by their Greek friend Penny. We shared such delicious food – souvlaki (pork and chicken). stuffed tomatoes, salads, tzatziki. Yum. 

 
Then it was off to explore. Great area to explore in the Plaka. Full of life with colour, noise and people all having fun. Lots of rush-covered timber chairs checked tablecloths , vines growing over shaded areas and twinkling lights. Great atmosphere. 
 
Back to the rooftop bar for another view, a few photographs and off to bed with a plan for an early start to head up to the Acropolis before the crowds. Also the new museum. Poor Steve, he won’t be coming back to Athens so wants to do the big “must see” places in the morning. 



And so to bed. Lovely to have the Wilsons – Chris, Jill and Sarah sharing this Greek Adventure with us.