On Friday we were in Athens, home of the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Odeon of Herodes, and Atticus, where they still hold the annual Summer festival of Music and Drama. Everywhere we go there are ruins of some kind.
I must say, when you sign up for a tour here you must be ready to run a marathon. Our guide in Athens was a pretty young thing, who must participate in the “sprints” in her “other job”. Each guide tells us that being a guide is not their full time job, which is code for “we want a tip at the end of the tour”.
First we went to the Acropolis where we ran up 85 steps to the top. Mary stopped at about 40 and Toni made about 60. Had it not been for our Sultan ,”Big John,” those of us who are shorter, i.e. Pat F.
and Gina, would have been lost in the maze of people. The area was packed with tourists, like sardines in a can.
We made it to the top (John, Christel, Gina & myself) and have some wonderful pictures to show. They had an area at the top that was cabled off, but I saw some ladies sitting past the cables and asked Christel how they got up there. About that time we saw some people trying to climb over the cables, and the ladies sitting at the top came alive and starting screaming and yelling at them. They were guards! John thought one of them resembled a Russian Mafia Mama, so needless to say, we did not climb over the cables! This tour ended with a visit to a picturesque restaurant where we had a panoramic view of the Acropolis. It was one of those times where you feel like pinching yourself to see if you’re really here. Our waiter was serving all customers including a mother cat and her kitten. See picture.
On to Athens town for some shopping. There was some kind of protest going on in town and we were in traffic you cannot believe. Our guide said it was the worst she has ever seen. She decided we could get there faster if we walked and so the bus driver managed to charge his way to the curb to let us off the bus. Our guide led us on another sprint through heavy traffic and crowded walkways to what she called “our meeting place”. I waited in the middle of a crosswalk with traffic going in both ways to show those in our group having trouble keeping up, what direction the guide had gone. We all made it to the meeting place and were told we were on our own for 1.5 hours. I had an experience with an ATM machine, a bank employee, assist manager, and then manager. More to tell later on that, but suffice to say, it is not safe to use your ATM card in the area we were in. All is well though. John said God was looking out for me, and I totally agree.
Meanwhile, Don and Pat had a slower-paced day, and met up with a young couple who made it their mission to see that Donald saw everything he wanted to see. They were a military couple from the US, but that is Donald’s story so he can tell it when he gets home.
Back in our group in Athens, Christel and Mary went looking for a shop that sold Greek outfits for children. Mary bought her great grandchildren some of the cutest outfits. We are all excited to see them in them, but have to wait awhile since they are sized for 3 or 5 yrs of age.
Today John has a head cold and has been using Kleenex like he owned stock in the company. Between us we had 5 of those small purse packages, and by the end of the tour, he was out. But he just keeps on trucking. Toni had a supply of those hand wipes (of course) which he used often.
We had a wonderful lunch at a Greek restaurant where you could only eat with spoons. We were told that “in antiquity” the Greeks only ate with spoons. We did not let that us stop us from enjoying all the authentic Greek food. I even swabbed my plate clean with bread, it was that delicious!!
Well, it’s almost time to go on another marathon sprint through Olympia, so more later.