The Adventure Begins...

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End May 31, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, May 23, 2009

Gather 'round folks and experience the excellent adventures of John Randall and Hao Zhong in Greece.

Our story begins in a modern airport terminal at SFO...

So we got on a plane Friday afternoon with big happy grins on our faces, looking forward to Athens and the magical Greek isles.  The flights to Amsterdam and Athens were uneventful, except they were total cattle cars!  The leg room between seats was so close, I couldn't even sit straight with my knees forward!  With such a long flight (9+ hours), everyone reclined their seats so you got squashed at the top too.  Picture 400+ people "spooning" in a 747 and you get the idea.

Arriving in Athens, we took the bus into town as the metro terminal was getting renovated.  When we booked the trip with the agency, we took their recommendation for our Athens hotel (Hotel Amaryllis).  Roaming the streets of Athens looking for our hotel, we stopped to ask some police officers for directions.  Once they saw the address of our destination, they promptly warned us that it was unsafe for tourists as it was a shady illegal market area!      Of course, we thought this might be cool so pressed on undeterred and found the hotel in a back alley with raw sewage running down the street (can you spell STINKY?).  Just as we were about to enter the portal of this "fine" establishment, we got to witness the police perform a street raid on all the "vendors" lining the block.  This consisted of three enduro type police motorcycles blazing down the sidewalks and forcing the undesirables to flee for their lives lest they be run over!   We checked in to our room, but immediately called back to the states to cancel the reservation and find new accommodations.  No way we were going to stay at this dump!  : P  The agency agreed to refund our room costs but had no other bookings available.  Hao wipped out his iPhone and immediately found five hotels in the area to check out.  We got lucky and the first place we checked (Hotel Akropol Classico) could take us for all four days.  Saved!  :  )

Now that we were safely situated, we could relax and enjoy our stay.  Since it was evening by this time, we took a walk up the street to a recommended restaurant and had dinner.  The food was pretty good; stuffed squid, salmon, and seafood risotto. Not very "Greek", but filling.  There was supposed to be a live band playing, but they never showed. : (

We were so severely jet lagged, we hit the sack early.

Finally arrived.  Nighty-night.

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