So after a couple of very pleasant days with Pam and Emilio, it was time to depart for the completion of my trip in Athens.
Ever the good host, Emilio had decided to accompany me to Athens to be a tour guide in and around Athens.
The bus departure was scheduled for 5:30 a.m., so we arose at an ungodly hour, finished our packing and Pam drove us to the bus station in Kranidi. I’m still not certain she was fully awake. I know I wasn’t.
We were a few minutes early, and went in search of coffee and sustenance, not finding a lot. As we were ready to abandon our quest, a small bakery appeared. Emilio got coffee, and I got a couple of pastries for the ride.
As we boarded the bus, we were sternly warned about wearing our masks. Finding a couple of open seats, we settled in for the 3 hour ride.
Falling asleep soon after departure, and I awoke at our first stop about halfway to Athens. Hunger was making itself known, so digging the pastries out of the bag, I went to pull my mask down to grab a bite. I swear the bus driver had ESP, as every time I went to lower my mask, he was looking up in the mirror, seemingly directly at me. It was probably just paranoia, but it was early, and I wasn’t completely awake, so he could have just been checking traffic, but it was disconcerting. After a bit of this game of cat and mouse, I abandoned all concern and ate my pastries, with no comments from the driver.
The bus arrived in Athens around 9 a.m. and made our way to the metro station for the next leg of the trip. The bus station is in the outskirts of Athens, and the hotel we booked, The Periscope was in the center of town, so a metro ride was in order. Emilio explained that the metro system was built prior to the last Olympics and was now far and away the easiest way to get around Athens. With the exception of travel to the Airport, which was set a 9 euro, the metro was very inexpensive.
All this time, I had been having a runny nose and slight cough, but no other significant symptoms. In the walk from the metro station to the hotel, we had to stop a couple of times for me to catch my breath. As I’m fairly diligent about exercising this was a bit disconcerting. Little to my knowledge, this would resurface very soon.
Luckily when we got to the hotel, our rooms were ready. I dumped my large backpack, unpacked my little travel backpack, loaded the camera, a jacket and water bottle, and we headed out the door.
Our ultimate goal this afternoon was the Athens Archeological Museum in the center of town. Emilio is a bit of a history buff, and was insistent that any trip to Athens was to start with a visit to the Archeological Museum. It’s a very imposing edifice. Amusingly enough I didn’t take a picture of the entrance at this point, but grabbed one a couple of days later from the Hop-On Hop-Off. It’s not the most elegant captures, but here it is:
We entered the facility, and made our way through gauntlet of safety, security and health checks, founding ourselves inside.
Emilio made it a point to explain a lot of this, the history, timing, significance. While it was very entertaining, I’m going to admit up front, I remember virtually none of it. Greek history is rich and varied and very complicated and it’s really not my thing,
With that said, let’s dive in:
The first area we walked through was the display cases and the artifacts were spectacular.
Entering the main hall, the sculpture exhibits came into view.
The interesting thing is most of the sculpture of women depict them fully clothed whereas the men were typically completely unclothed, penis’s akimbo as they say.
Greek culture seems to has a fascination with the male penis. Not certain what that says about Greek Culture. Read into that what you may….
We found our way to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee, and sat in the atrium for a while. It was beautiful.
After leaving the museum we wandered around a bit and found ourselves at “The Traditional” restaurant at Kolokotroni 59, Athina 105 60, Greece. The reason I’m posting the location is to ward people away. This is a tourist trap of the worst kind.
I’ll quote my Google Review:
“Well, it started with the eye roll from the waitress when we asked if there was any pita when the Tzatziki and Greek salad was served. No was the terse reply.
Testing the Tzatziki, it was watery and bitter. Obviously old.
The grilled lamb was delivered and it turned out to be a plate full of virtually inedible bones and cartilage.
In their defense they took the two dishes off the bill.”
There are much, much better places to eat in Athens. I’ll highlight one next time.
Emilio wanted me to see the changing of the Guard at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier. We arrived in good time to see the exchange:
It all started up well, then the denouement:
This truck pulled up in from of the Tomb, and the guards made a quick transition in and out of the truck and then the truck went out by the curb.
Poor Emilio was crestfallen. He went over to the truck and asked the Guards why the traditional exchange wasn’t conducted. Their answer of “it’s wet and we didn’t want to soil our uniforms” did little to lift his spirits.
After that disappointment, we walked around Athens a bit before retiring to the hotel.
Next time we will go to the Acropolis.