Monday, October 5, 2009


Saturday, November 24th, 2007 Athens….Exploring the Plaka

Last night’s journey to the hotel was very successful; Jim was a trooper and since it was his plan he didn’t complain. First of all as the ship was docking we went down into the hold where the luggage was stored during our journey. We have a small cable lock with us that we used to attached the two cases together; I had trouble remembering the combination and it looked like Jim was going to have to pull both of them together while I managed all four of the backpacks! I was trying combination after combination as we waited for the ship to dock and suddenly Jim said that he would have a standard one that he used for everything….I tried one that I use for everything and it snapped apart! Thank goodness as the gang plank was going down. I looked up and our French people who had been on the last three ships with us were standing there behind us smiling. Good thing that we have tags with our photos on them plastered on each piece of our luggage; at least we could have proved that they belonged to us if someone stopped us.

Across the street we found the Metro Station; glad for our coats as it was very cold when we arrived. We already had our Metro tickets from before that we hadn’t used the night we went to Julie’s house for dinner; so we were ahead of the rest of the pack who still had to purchase their tickets; because of this the train we took wasn’t crowded at all. It’s so nice here in the Athens Metro stations, there are no turnstiles to move through, only pillars that hold the machines to validate your ticket. The fines are pretty stiff if you’re caught without a valid ticket; fifty times the value of a ticket.

Went to the Onomia Station and transferred to the Red Line that took us to the Acropolis Station. From there we walked about six blocks to the hotel. We were checked in by 9:30 pm. We’d told them by email that we were coming in late from the islands so they were waiting for us.

This morning the hotel changed us to a different room because of some problems. This room has a view of the eastern end of the Acropolis. We’re very pleased with our Adams Hotel for only fifty euros a night including a light breakfast. This morning I went walking and right around the corner is a Starbucks; walked in and purchased an Internet Card for only 6 euros for two hours. It’s good for a month; never thought of going into a Starbucks for service…they said the card would be good all over Greece. Good to know for future trips. On the way back to the hotel I stopped and looked at leather sandals; picked up my computer and went back for emails at the Starbucks. On my way back to the hotel the sandal man came out to talk to me; he said he’d seen me looking before. He was good; got me into the shop and trying on leather sandals. Said they were worth 20 euros but he’d let me have them for only 12. I said my husband would want me to negotiate so I said, “how about 10 euros”…so now I have a pair of sandals to take home. He told me that during the Olympics the parents of some of the Australian Hockey team stayed in the Adams and all purchased sandals from him and one brought their son in with his gold medal after they won. To his constant regret he didn’t think to ask to take a photo with the gold medal winner.

This afternoon we walked the Plaka several ways looking for a small gift to take to Miss Julie this afternoon to thank her for all of her help during our trip. We walked past our favorite restaurant Vitro’s and it is closed for the season along with several others. All of the pharmacies are closed for Saturday and Sunday. Jim is in need of drugs for his cold.

Took the Metro out to Glifada and then a taxi to Julie’s house; the taxi waited while we visited for a few minutes; dropped off our gifts and her books and things that she’d loaned us during the trip. We also picked up a small bag of gifts to transport back to the states for her family. Julie gave Jim what Claritin D and a few other things that she had in her medicine kit.

Back in the Plaka we decided to walk to find a restaurant that Julie had recommended called the Plaka Taverna on Kidathineon Street. Found it and started talking to the manager, Maxamus(?), who was putting up umbrellas and things for the evening. When we mentioned Julie’s name his face lit up and he insisted we return for dinner this evening and he would give us something special in addition to the ouzo drink that he’d already promised us.

We decided to walk to the Catholic Cathedral to find out about Mass for tomorrow, it’s at 6 pm and in English. On the way we found a Pharmacy that was open as they were doing some repairs. Jim purchased a box of Claritin D and then on our return after we’d talked by telephone with Julie we asked about Zithromax that Julie had recommended for Jim to take if the Pharmacy was still open when we returned to the Plaka. They don’t sell Sud-a-fed here anymore because of the kids and the crack problem; but we were able to purchase the antibiotic over the counter without a prescription. It was 18 euros for three pills but worth the cost if he is better by Tuesday when we fly to London. Thanks Julie!

This is our first Saturday night in Athens without rain; can’t imagine what the streets would be in the summer months, it is very crowded and almost everything is open here in the city. We’ve seen many Americans here in the Plaka today that are in port for the day from the cruise ships. They’re easy to spot as they stand with maps trying to figure out their directions. We actually stopped and helped a few as we remember the frustration when we first arrived with streets that twist every which way and change their name every few blocks.

Enjoyed our dinner at the Plaka Taverna; sat outside under the awnings with heaters. Jim had Moussaka and I had roasted lamb that Jim finished for me; we also shared grilled cheeses. Everything was absolutely delicious and I can see why Julie recommends this particular restaurant. The music started to play as its Saturday night so we ordered Nescafe and shared a large pie shaped piece of Balaklava for dessert before moving inside to listen to the music for another fifteen minutes. Only two instruments but very authentic Greek music, a nice way to end our first day back in Athens. During the day the sun was out, warm enough to shed the jackets; but at sundown it was definitely jacket time again.

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