It's All Greek To Us!!!! .....

Trip Start Mar 05, 2008
Trip End Jan 11, 2009

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Flag of Greece  , Attica,
Monday, June 2, 2008

After three wonderful months in South America, it was time to head to Europe. We arranged to go in a car with Mary & Ed because we were on the same flight to Madrid. The car was over half an hour late & by the time we got to the airport we had just under 90 minutes left of check in. Not bad you say ... it took at least 45 minutes to get to the front of the Iberia line to check in, THEN we had to join a line of possibly over 200 people just to go through the first security check (ie. are you actually flying on a plane!) There was only one guy checking each person as they came thru! Anyway, we made the flight with about 5 minutes to spare before boarding (coz they delayed it by about 45 minutes!)

Then we nearly caused an international incident on the plane ... The electronics weren't working on our seats, so no lights, no audio, no attendant call buttons - for nine hours! I don't think so!!!! I flagged down the first guy that came our way & let him know. He toddled off to see if he could find us new seats, but the flight was packed and so he offered the only two lots of two seats together that he could find (both just across from us). HOWEVER ... one set of seats the electronics weren't working either! and the other were between two people who had deliberately got the two outside aisle seats but also didn't want to give up the two middle ones!!! The guy had a major (very loud) row with them and eventually they moved together so that we could have the other two seats. Big dramas ... it was really clear that they were complaining about us (even though we couldn't speak their language and so not a happy flight was had by all!!!! We got into Madrid with just enough time to clear customs, find our way to our departure lounge & take our much less eventful flight to Athens.

We got ourselves some Euros, then grabbed some maps and planned our attack on the city. We caught the airport bus into the city centre, then found our way to our hostel - interesting place, but cheap enough.

We are really having to use our best budgeting skills here in Athens, it's just over $1.60 for every euro, so the simplest of lunches can reach 7 euros and all of a sudden it's 12 or 13 dollars. But we think we're doing ok so far (I'm so sorry I complained about the 'more expensive' countries in South America!)

So, what have we done ...

We did our own walking tour of the city, map in hand, and it was tiring, but a lot of fun. We were out of about 7 hours and saw all the main attractions that Athens has to offer. We saw the Acropolis, the Theatre of Dionysus, Hadrian's Arch & Library, The Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Royal Palace, Parliament building and the changing of the guards (you know, those guys in the funny dresses & pom pom shoes with the even funnier dance steps), Athens stadium, the Stoa of Attalus and the Ancient Agora. We were really lucky too, coz all the museums and archaeological sites were free the day we went (1st Sunday of the month!). Go figure (saved ourselves 12 euros each!!) But whew, what a walk!

This place is amazing! It's hard to believe that you can be right in the middle of a modern city, then look up and see 6th century BC ruins atop a hill not 15 minutes away!!!!! The ruins and museums have all been great ... we've seen so many things, it's hard to know what to mention. We have one museum left to see - the National Archaeological Museum - and apparently that's pretty good as well, heaps of relics from before Christ was a lad!

Once we do that, we are off on the first of our ferry jaunts to Crete to hike the Samaria Gorge!!!

Catch you soon.
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