Everyone should have a Nicholas when traveling
Trip Start Oct 28, 2004
105Trip End Aug 08, 2005
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Where I stayed
This is a mighty honor. I have been awarded the privelige of making an entry in the mageanandmolly travelogue. By the way, I am Molly's uncle Paul
I joined the ladies just hours after they arrived in Athens at the four star (it seems the Greeks are very generous with their stars) Olympic Palace hotel, where I learned that when you make a reservation for a double room (for the ladies) and a single room (for me) it is assumed that the double is for the mom and dad and the single is for the surly teenager being dragged along on the trip he/she would give anything to avoid. Thus the single room lacks certain amenities such as a window or running water of either the hot or cold flavor. After a few minutes of passionate renegotiation with the front desk I was upgraded to a room with appropriate window and water which made me feel feel less like addressing the ladies as "Your Ladyship" and "Missy".
Athens in July, unlike Florida, has no hurricanes and is not humid. So far, so good. That said, it is hot as the hinges of Hades. About 94 F. So our first move was to send out a scouting party, Molly and Megan, to find fluids. Remember, proper hydration is the key to safe travelling. In no time at all they found a liquor store run by a sixty plus year old woman with teased blond hair to her waist wearing an "I dream of Jeannie" harem outfit who came within a trice of convincing them that in addition to the beers they came in for, they needed at least one bottle of special edtion Ouzo (more about Ouzo later) in the special Parthenon shaped bottle. Thankfully, they were strong and resisted the temptation. A quick dinner, a walk through Athens and to bed and ready for the next day.
The next morning we hit the streets running and cruised the Temple of Zeus and the Acropolis -two very stately piles of rubble indeed - Then we got to the good part, at least from my point of view: the National Archaeological Museum. Now you don't know me, so let me explain that nothing makes me happier than spending hours and hours and hours in museums and historical sites reading every sign on every exhibit and point of interest. Two hours after we arived I happened to glance over at the ladies who, gracious as ever, had not complained once, but who were slumped over in a heap on a bench bored to tears with ropes of drool hanging from their mouths. We left.
Then things changed. We met Nicholas.
As we flagged a cab outside the museum the driver began gesticulating furiously. Whatever he was trying to tell us, it was a complicated message, so we ignored it and walked to the cab, where he chastised us for not walking down the steps at the street corner carefully enough. We might have tripped and fallen and he would have felt responsible. The relationship was established. We were in his care and under his wing. from that point forward we went where he said, ate as he instructed and appeared when and where he summoned us. That night we were taken to dinner at the small port in Piraeus, where Megan and Molly were personally walked to the table on the arm of the owner. He also escorted them on his arm each time they left the table. Bathroom trips became an affair of state. Meanwhile, I was introduced eye-to-eye with the fish we would shortly be eating for dinner. During the meal we learned that we must eat olives every day to maintain health of bowell and body, but ONLY five, maybe six at most, olives. Not more, on pain of healh consequences which were undoubtedly frightening but a little vague to us.
Next mornig a quick tour of town by car with Nicholas, who managed to maneuver us to a special store run by a special friend who was kind enough to offer us the opportunity to buy "authentic reproductions" (no, we don't quite know what that means either) of ugly vases, jewellry and bathmats. With regret, we declined the opportunity and moved on to a trip down the coast which was lovely, to the Temple of Poseidon. Then a two hour lunch and we parted from Nicholas. This is when it got good.
Knowing that this terrible time in the world puts parents of international travellers like Megan and Molly in great fear, Molly, considerate soul that she is, decided that we should put their parents minds at ease at least for a few minutes, by visiting the one tourist site in all Greece (possibly in all Europe) least likely to be struck by terrorists. Knowing that the terorists' goal is to create as many casualties as possible when they strike, we went where the least number of people would be at any time - ever. Right in the center of Athens sits the MUSEUM OF GREECIAN MATHEMATICS (an interactive museum). and there we sat for two hours. The pamphlet said it is "enchanting for both children and adults". Molly says yes. Megan and I have no comment...instead we found ourselves juggeling the balls that were supposed to be used to define some sort of mathmatical equation.
Dinner on top of a magnificent hilltop overloolking Athens at night and on to the next adventure: Crete.