Athens, where we spend a night on a park bench
Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
143Trip End Sep 30, 2010
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So we arrive back in a land that has remembered that it is nearly summer and the sky has shades other than grey. Greece also reminds me what it is like to have to read by sounding out a letter at a time, and that maths degree finally finds practical application: hello my old friend Greek alphabet.
Of course our first stop is the Acropolis, with its crowning glory the Parthenon perched atop a hill and visible from all of Athens. Disappointingly it was swathed in scaffolding for our visit, which did not hing to repel the crowd gathering around for photos. The national museum is a treasure trove of marble and bronze as well as curious artifacts that tell far more than I knew about ancient Greece, the founders of democracy
Athens is a beautiful city with colorful fruiting orange trees lining every hilly street and apartment balconies overflowing with the greenery of potted trees. You learn to ignore the grime and graffiti anyway. The Olympics clearly did a lot to improve the aesthetics of the city, although maybe not th actual living conditions judging by the number of homeless people. The only signs we saw of the riots were some panes of smashed glass in the city centre - marked out by the tourists photographing them. We passed by a Greek Communist party protest outside the museum, it seems very strange to see people waving a red hammer and sickle flag after being in the Baltics, where you'd be about as popular as wearing a swastika in Israel.
The Greek people are very friendly and don't laugh at our mangling of Greek. Even the woman in the tourist office is lovely to us as she blatantly lies to us that there are no ferry companies in Athens so we should visit the travel agent next door
And so after 3 days in Athens we found ourselves on the overnight ferry to Crete - not just sleeping on park benches, but having paid for the privilege. We did save 25 euros though (turns out those tickets were the same park benches).