Trip Start May 18, 2007
Trip End May 31, 2007

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Friday, May 25, 2007

We had begun our stay yesterday in Athens on such a bad note that we could only hope things got better. The Best Western offered breakfast and a plentiful one too, with cereal, boiled eggs, toast, fruit etc. The fruit in particular was excellent. Having finished breakfast, we packed whatever was left - not an easy task in a room so small that you can't open the suitcase fully! - and sped off to the Nefeli in 2 taxis. The Nefeli is at Plaka, about 50 metres from Adrianou which is the main tourist-trap shopping street, and about 10 minutes walk from the Acropolis. Unfortunately there is no view of the Acropolis from there but it's very close, as are the major squares of Monastiraki and Syntagma.

The rooms here was marginally larger, but the atmosphers inside and outside was much better. The outside looked neat and clean, and we could see lots of restaurants close by. The inside had a family feel as opposed to the cold Best Western lobby, with cushy sofas and a TV, some plants etc. We had 3 beds in our room, and barely enough space for littler a's carriage and our suitcases, but somehow we managed, packed the backpack with essentials and set off for the Acropolis. To get there from the Nefeli, we had to walk up a mildly steep road, complete with terraced steps, and then turnleft and walk down to the Dionysious, the pedestrian walkway in the heart of the tourist area. It's a wide, cobbled road with trees on the right as well as a few monuments, like the ampitheatre etc, the Acropolis up on the hill, and on the left really expensive looking apartments, with the entry lobbies decorated in magnificent style in some of them. It's meant to be a purely pedestrian walkway but quite a few vehicles sped past us as we walked down so it's best to be careful.

The weather was nice, not too cool or too warm and comfortable for walking around. It was a stiffish pull up a steeply cobbled walkway to the entry gate for the Acropolis. We learnt that prams weren't allowed up, so we had to check them in at the foot of the walkway and lug R and littler a - not fun climbing up!

 The walk up the hill has some spectacular views of the city. We walk up a flight of steps which turned out to be much less steep than they looked to reach the entry monument, the Propylaia. Once you enter through this gateway, you're on a large, flat plateau on which is the Parthenon, as well as some other buildings including a museum. The Acropolis is magnificent, though the scaffolding in which it is covered does detract from its beauty. It's amazing to think how the ancient Greeks built such a monument, the size of the stones is so large. Moreover, the building has the stones resting one on top of the other precisely, but there is no cement or mortar holding it together. We do a little reading up on the monuments up here and are saddened to learn about how armaments were once stored here and how it has survived more than  one attempt at being blown up.

The Parthenon is covered in scaffolding too, but still looks marvelous. We wander around and after a while A starts to feel the weight of littler a and sits down to enjoy the view while little A and I go on a tour. Little A picks up pebbles as souvenirs, planning to show them to his dad and then out them into a scrapbook. We walk through the museum pretty quickly as little A is totally bored by the display. As we exit, a guard comes up to us and says it's forbidden to pick up pebbles from here. God knows why-  the place is littered with thousands, maybe millions of them. Little a's face crumples and he says he wants to show them to his dad first before putting them down - he has been diligent about collecting different types to show him. I try and explain to the guard that A is sitting right in front of the Parthenon and that we will throw the pebbles away once we have shown them to him. No luck. He makes little A turn out his fists and pockets to show we haven't hidden away the crown jewels and then lets us go. Poor little A can't understand this behaviour and is pretty sick of Athens. He begs to go back to Santorini, and I wish we could.

We all gather back at the Parthenona nd make our way down the hill. It's hungry time for everyone and we walk down to Adrianou which has innumerable side streets dotted with restaurants, looking for a good place to eat. We wind up at one which has seats available and order. They have vegetarian burgers, fries and some other vegetables, so we decide to try those. The burgers come without the bun here, and are ok. It's one of the most expensive meals we've had so far, costing us over 65 Euros.

We decide to head back to the hotel and get some sleep before setting off again. In the evening, we just wander around Adrianou, since we're all feeling a bit tired. We decide that we're all museum-ed out after our previous holidays and just want to take in the atmosphere. A discovers a lovely little shop selling Gelati and gets his usual holiday cravings for icecream, so we indulge pretty heavily.

That evening we're not in the mood for Greek so we find a small square off Adrianou with a variety of restaurants - there's even a Starbucks - and opt for Italian food. The food, when it comes is wonderful and we all love Italian food so much it tastes like home food to us. the kids play happily, and we watch some Greek dancers at a nearby restaurant perform - it gets repetitive after a while - and listen to Greek music while enjoying our meal.
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bipodx on

KALKA ji??????
Hi, whrs Kalka Ji????

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