Published: September 30th 2009September 29th 2009
September 29, 2009
Today our cruise departs from Athens. Our driver was coming at 3 p.m. to pick us up so we had some time left in Athens to explore. Judy and I wandered over to Syntagma Square to buy some postcards and stamps. There were plenty of shaded benches in the square to choose from to write the cards. We realized that we left our map back at the hotel and opted to try the fancy hotel on the square to see if they could give us one. THey kindly did and also offered to mail the postcards. We'll see if they actually show up or not.
Behind and down from the square and Parliament is a large park and just beyond the Olympic stadium from the first modern games in the late 19th century, I think. It was used for the finish of the Marathon Race in the 2004 Olympics. From there we wondered down to visit the columns of Zeus. The place must have been fabulous in its day because just the ten or so remaining columns of the original hundred or so are awe inspiring. One looked as though it had recently fell and broke cleanly into sections along the ground for a different type of shot. Over looking all of this from high above was the Parthenon. We used it to navigate to the neighborhood above Plaka but just below the Acropolis. Here Judy and I selected streets at random to walk down or up with some fantastic city views near the top.
We were getting hungry so we headed downhill to Monastiraki Square for our souvlaki fix. Judy wanted to buy a hand painted religious icon and we found a small shop near a sandal maker that fitted the bill. Judy made her selection quickly, in Judy time that is, and we were off to find some other last minute gifts including a set of worry beads for me. One last diversion to try and find some plates to hang on the dining room wall. Judy had the shop keeper pulling plates off the wall and looking for a matching pair before finally giving up and buying nothing.
As we arrived back at the hotel, our driver just pulled in. After retrieving our bags from hotel storage, we took off down the hill to promptly get stuck in a traffic jam for 20 minutes while school let out. After the delay, we were on Mr Toad's wild ride down to the port. Our driver was reading a clipboard, talking on his mobile phone and driving at the same time in very heavy traffic. Judy just closed her eyes or looked out the side window and we raced down to our ship. We arrived safely and the check-in lines were minimal as most folks try and board as early as they can.
Our departure was delayed a bit as there was a mishap with the gangplank. As passengers realized we were not leaving on time, they congregated on that side of the ship to cheer on the workers who had to incredible hulk the gangplank on to the ship. There were even officers in white uniforms helping! With the gangplank stowed, we were underway.
Since we were second seating, it was now our dinner time and we headed down to deck 5 on the Royal Princess to meet our table mates at table 90. A similarly aged couple from Kansas City were at our table and Judy quickly chatted them up. She got their life story in no time and we made new friends for the cruise. In fact, we chatted until we were the last table to leave the dining area nearly 2 hours after starting. Nothing exciting on the entertainment menu so we turned in for the night.
Next port of call Santorini.