Monday, April 21, 2008

The Odyssey: Athens

Hadrian's Arch in downtown Athens, GreeceGreetings from Athens.

We arrived today at about 1:30 PM local time. That post from yesterday was sent by Capt. John from the SPOT beacon on Quetzal, which is parked in a slip at Marina Zea in Piraeus, southwest of downtown Athens. The link to Google Maps pinpoints her exact location.

Our taxi ride from the airport to the hotel turned into a driving tour of the must-see sights as our cabbie proudly showed off his hometown. These included the stadium from the 2004 Olympics; the United States embassy; the guards in their traditional skirted uniforms standing guard at the Parliament building; Athens' first grand hotel, the Grande Bretagne; and numerous hospitals, each tailored to a different income level.

The travel came off without a hitch until we tried to check in at the St. George Lycabettus hotel. They didn't have any record of the reservation Nan made more than two months ago. We almost went into jet-lag comas in the lobby waiting for them to straighten it out, which ultimately took a direct phone call from Nan to American Express. Sometimes you have to play the final card.

After settling into our room at around 3:00 PM, we touched base with Capt. John, who is carrying a Greek cell phone for this trip. He said that Harry and Velinda had arrived yesterday and were staying on the boat. Kevin had arrived the same day, but he was staying at a hotel and bombing around Athens on his own. And here we thought we would be the first arrivals.

Instead of heading straight to bed, which would have had us waking up ridiculously early tomorrow, Nan and I regrouped and went for a long walk in the Kolonaki and Plaka neighborhoods between our hotel and the Acropolis. Along the way, I snapped some photos including the one above of Hadrian's Arch, which is unfortunately located right next to Syngrou Av., a major thoroughfare. We passed a good cafe, La Pasteria, on the way out and didn't find anything better on the way back, so we ate pasta and drank Greek wine until we were ready to call it a night by 7:00.

View of the Acropolis from our room at the St. George Lycabettus hotelHarry and Velinda want to tour the Acropolis tomorrow, so we'll try to meet up with them in the morning. We have a decent view of it and the Parthenon from our hotel balcony. The photo would be better if there weren't so much mist in the air, but it is warm and humid this close to the Mediterranean.

Good night!

1 comment:

CaliforniaKat said...

Hi, I live in Greece and get alerts when someone posts something I might have interest in.

I just wanted to say 'hi' and tell you that realizing a dream is always a worthy endeavor. I wish you luck and happiness on your journey.

My dream 11 years ago was to live and work in Europe legally as an unmarried American citizen with no advantage of ancestry or financial means. And against all odds and a lot of sacrifices and hardship, it did come true.