We're in Athens!

Trip Start May 22, 2008
Trip End Jun 14, 2008

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Friday, May 23, 2008

We will have arrived in Athens by now and we'll be very tired.  I will be sure to upload any pictures that we take.

We're staying here in Athens: http://www.amazonhotel.gr/

It might not look like the nicest place judging it strictly from the exterior, but it received great reviews by traveladvisor.com in its price range and the interior looks quite nice.  The best thing about the hotel is its location in the Plaka area of Athens.  The Plaka is the oldest of neighborhoods and the closest to most of the main tourist sites like the Parthenon and National Gardens.  I am sure that we'll go and see the Olympic Village as well as many other sights.

Come back and check for updates!

Update 5/23/08:
Well, we're here!  We had an exhausting trip to Athens via Atlanta.  When we got to the hotel, we decided to take a quick nap that lasted 5 hours!

The train from the airport was pretty easy, except that we had 5 pieces of luggage and the closer that we got to the center of Athens, the more people got on the train.  We were really worried that we might not be able to get off of the train when we finally got to our stop, but everyone seemed to clear off at the Syntagma stop so we were ok.

The hotel is quite nice, but very small.  The bathroom alone is probably only 15 square feet and Kristen noted that you could use the toilet, shower and wash your face in the sink all at the same time, although we haven't tried that yet. 

Here is a shot of the Acropolis from our room!

Our hotel is right in the middle of things so when we woke up from our nap, we walked out onto the Plaka and did some window shopping.  Then we had a traditional gyro dinner followed by gelato!  Below is a picture of the Plaka which is by far the biggest tourist area in town.

So far, the Greek have been a very accomdating people and we haven't had any issues.  The vendors are pretty aggressive, but that's probably to be expected.

Tomorrow's plan is to walk up the Parthenon and perhaps see the National Gardens.  Feel free to send messages to us through this blog, especially if there is something that you think we might miss!

We'll try and blog some more tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Joe and Kris

UPDATE: 5/24/08

We had another great day in Athens today!  Today ,we went to the Acropolis to see the Parthenon, saw the National Gardens and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  We also did some more exploring and ventured into a part of town that we hadn't been to before.

The walk to the Parthenon and to the top of the Acropolis was a nice one with great views and LOTS of people.  We paid our admission fee and were a little bummed that we didn't seek out a guided tour.  However, we thought that maybe we might tag along with a tour already in progress.  Unfortunately, the tour guide noticed us and kicked us out.  Oh well!  Shout out to Glenn for letting us borrow the Lonely Planet guidebook.  It was plenty informative and taught us a lot about the area.  We were upset to find out that the museum was closed.  The entire site is under renovation and they are moving the museum to a different place, so we couldn't get inside to see many of the original exhibits that are stored there.  I guess that means that we'll just have to come back again at some point!

Here is a picture of Kristen in front of the Parthenon:

After that, we were lucky enough to find a nice couple from the UK who took this shot of us in front of the Erechtion:

On the top of the Acropolis, we got this great shot of the city and Lykavitos Hill:

After we left the Acropolis, we headed down the southern slope, past the Odeon of Dionisys and past the Temple of Olympian Zeus.  We walked through the National Gardens and up to the Parliament building and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where we got this neat picture of Kristen with one of the guards (Kris wanted to steal his shoes):

We then spent the afternoon napping.  We just can't seem to get on the European schedule, though we are really trying!  After our rather extended nap, we ventured in the Psiri neighborhood of Athens and had one of the best meals yet; a simple meal that consisted of Hummus and some Retsina (Greek wine) which was a perfect portion of food, that was until we found the Chocolate Cookie Crepe with ice cream down in the Monistriaki.  After that we headed here to do a quick blog.  We're going to try and get some rest tonight, though neither of us are all that tired.

Tomorrow, we will do some more exploring on the Eastern part of town to see the War Museum, Presidential Palace and the Byzantine/Christian Museum.

We will be able to get one more blogging session done tomorrow night.  Monday we get on the boat, after which time internet access will be tougher to come by.  Please keep sending us messages!  We love and miss all of you!

Joe and Kris

UPDATE 5/25/08:
This morning we felt better rested and after grabbing breakfast at the hotel, we headed back through Syntagma Square to see the War Museum, Olympic Stadium and the Presidential Palace.  Then we took the subway to Piraeus to see the port where we will disembark tomorrow on the ms Rotterdam!  Once we got our bearings, we headed back to Monastriaki for lunch.  It only took us two days, but we finally got it figured out - best bet is to order one meal to share since the portions are so large!  We had a traditional greek salad and a beef shish kabob dish with yogurt sauce and pita.  It was quite yummy!  After that we wandered back through the Plaka and of course couldn't resist a gelato!  We could definitely get used to afternoon naps and gelato! 

Here is a picture of the Presidential Guard.  Our timing was just right and we got a surprise show on our way to the War Museum.  You might recognize these guys from the picture of Kristen standing at attention with one of the soldiers from yesterday. 

The Olympic Stadium was impressive, but we could not get inside.  Here is a pic of Joe in front of the stadium.

As promised, here is a picture of our quaint little bathroom in the hotel room. 

And lastly, here is a pic of the Plaka area.

We don't know when we will have internet access next since we are leaving Athens tomorrow.  Tomorrow we plan to board the cruise ship around 11am and spend the day on the boat until we disembark around 5pm.  Then on Tuesday we will port in Turkey!  We hope to get you an update by middle of the week when we are in Rome.  Love you and miss you!
Joe & Kris

UPDATE 5/26/08:

Yassas! (Hello!)

Kalimera! (Good morning!)

Today is the big cruise day!  We're at the internet cafe down the street from our hotel one last time.  We're going to miss Athens.  We had a great time and feel like we just got used to the city and know our way around.  Kristen and I have learned exactly 3 words in Greek and speak them like true champions.  We will definitely have to come back in the future!

After we blogged last night, we decided to check out the new Indiana Jones movie.  We found an interesting little theater in the Plaka called the Cine Paris.  It was interesting because it was outside, probably sat no more than 150 people in directors chairs and had an intermission during the movie.  From the street, it didn't look like much and when Joe asked the lady if the show was inside, she answered, "yes".  So, we walked upstairs and on to the roof!  It was really pretty cute.  The screen wasn't that big, the picture wasn't great and the sound was pretty muffled, but it was a unique experience and a lot of fun to see a movie outside of the huge cineplexes that we are used to in the states.  From the rooftop theater, we also had a great view of the Acropolis lit up as they have it at night.  Quite a sight!

Kristen got some great pictures of the theater, but we forgot to bring our USB cable with us this morning, so we'll be sure to send them over just as soon as we can.

However, the same cannot be said about the movie.  It was horrible and a big disappointment to big Indy fans like Joe.

Dad (Jon Eder) - I know that we were going to see the Indiana Jones movie together when I returned, but I can honestly tell you that it's not worth it.  Leave your last memory of the franchise to be The Last Crusade.  You'll be a smarter person for it.  This movie was THAT bad.  I feel horrible that Kristen had to sit through this stinker...

On a positive note, we have finally acclimated to the time change and are finally sleeping well and at the right time of day!  We will lose a couple of hours on the way to London, but we shoudn't have anymore problems from here on out.  That is, until we get home!

The ship leaves the Athens port today at 5pm, though they will let us get there 5 hours ahead of time to check-in and explore the ship.  We plan to take advantage of that to make sure that we don't have any problems getting to Pireaus, and ultimately, the ship. 
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schtacky on

We love you guys!
Thanks for the note! We're having a great time and plan to keep this blog as updated as possible during our travels. We will DEFINITELY be thinking of you and Tom in the coming days. Please know that you are both in our thoughts and prayers.

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