Trip Start Apr 18, 2012
55Trip End Sep 12, 2012
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My first day in Athens began early, at 8am. Following a hearty breakfast of delicious feta, fresh fruit and milk, and toast, I accompanied Thia Aspasia on some errands to explore Neo Heraklion (the Athens neighborhood in which she lives). Our first stop was the bank. Since crime, theft, and riots are prominent, they have very secure entrances and exists. In order to enter the bank, you must ring a bell, once the door unlocks, you step into a chamber where you are viewed through a security camera. Once you are cleared, the second door opens and you are allowed into the bank. This process can only be completed one person at a time and the same process is used when you exit the bank as well. It is very different from American banks, however, I have been told it is quite effective in preventing crime. Our second stop was the Vodaphone store, where I procured a phone and phone card
Our third stop was the fresh fish market. An outdoor agora, there were many vendors selling fresh fruit, bread, meat and fish. When we reached the section with the fish, all the vendors were yelling for customers and the fish (whole and straight from the sea) were displayed on large tables of ice. After choosing three medium sized fish, the vendor beheaded and gutted the fish in front of us and then flung the entrails into a large bucket! We then went to the bakery, where many fresh pastries-ice creams and cakes and tarts-were laid out in splendid fashion. We chose diplas, kataifi and a small pastry to take home for dessert. At our last stop, I bought my ferry ticket to Heraklion at the travel agency. I will travel to Crete on Sunday.
Upon returning home, we prepared the fish, some salad and potatoes for dinner, which we ate relatively early at 2:15pm. Aspasia and I then traveled to the port of Pireas, a 45 minute trip by metro, to see some of her family off on their trip to the island of Chios. The metro is not too different from those in the U.S., except for that most stations are above ground and incredibly clean. Pireas is very big, therefore we took the bus from Gate E6 to E3. Multiple ferries lined the dock. These boats are huge and carry both cars and passengers through the Aegean Sea to every island of Greece. The boat which we visited contained overnight cabins for passengers as well as general seating and lounges. It was quite luxurious looking and carried two decks of cars, making it about 5 or 6 stories high. Upon returning to Neo Heraklion, I located a lovely and quiet cafe with free wi-fi in order to write this post while sipping on a cool frappe.
Who knows what tomorrow brings, but the prospect is certainly exciting!