Published: June 23rd 2008June 20th 2008
Welcome to Athens!
We arrived in Athens at about 4:30 in the morning as our flight from Barcelona was delayed about 3 hours. This was not a good start but we were all optimistic about our streak of bad luck ending and were determined to make Greece a postive experience. We had to wait about 1 hour to get on the metro as it was not running yet and we were able to find our hostel very easily, which was a first for us! We were all so exhausted from staying up all night waiting for our flight that we ended up sleeping for 8 hours until around 4:30 in the afternoon. We all then got up refreshed, got coffee, and walked around the city for a bit. From the start, everyone was very nice. We met the owner of the hostel George and his crazy assistant Dimitry (see pic with crazy haired guy) who Erica wheeled and dealed to get some sunglasses out of due to Erica's unfortunate breakage of her glasses in Tenerife. Kim and Katie were able to score a wanna-be CHI flat iron from George which was extremely exciting and necessary! After wandering around the city for a bit, we
Riding the metro in Athens. The metro was just built in 2000 for the Summer Olympics
went back to our hostel to get ready to go out and get some food and drinks. We ending up meeting a group of American's from Chicago who recommended some other countries to go to in Europe and then ended up hanging out with us for the night. (Our plans have now changed to Interlocken, Switzerland to go white water rafting instead of going to Prague). We went out to a restaurant with them and watched the Euro2008 football game (well, kinda watched it) and then we ended up seeing crazy haired hostel guy Dimitry and he took us to some other areas of the city. We went to an outside party in an old historic courtyard of town, it was then when we were introduced to the techno music obsession that we are still currently enduring. Please prepare a techno detox kit for us on our return to STL. It was a fun time but ended up being a long night. The next morning we got up and went to see the Acropolis and Parthenon. We did not end up going up to see it because of the ridiculously priced admission but we still got close enough. We met
another random lone traveler on the metro who kept us company on our day trip to see the sites. After our day trip in the heat (it is very hot here!) we packed up and got on the Hellenic Seaways ferry to start our 4 1/2 hour journey to Rethymnos, Crete. The beginning of the ferry ride was not bad, however EVERYONE smokes in Greece so the constant 2nd-hand smoke inhaling for 4 hours straight took a little bit of a tole on our stomachs. After we got off of the ferry, we took a taxi to our absolutely gorgeous beachfront resort in Rethymnos. After cleaning up a bit, we went to go get some food at the restaurant next door and met our first Cretian friends. Its quite interesting in Rethymnos how every host at restaurants will walk out onto the strip and practically drag you into the restaurant. In the beginning it was ok, but after 6 days straight, we were actually avoiding most places. Apparently they all have a lot of energy since they only work 6 months out of the year for the 'on-season'. Most of the week in Rethymnos consisted of beach, pool, food, beach,
chillin in Athens
food, pool, sleep, beach... (it could go on and on). It was definitely very relaxing and a break from some of the drama we had from the week before. We met a lot of fun, interesting, nice people and definitely would recommend Crete to anyone travelling to Greece!! We did do 1 activity which was going caving along the water just outside of Rethymnos, for free! Highlights of Rethymnos: the food - it was absolutely delish! Every restaurant had pictures of the food on the menu (Kim loved this); the sunrise we watched at 6am - gorgeous!; Erica buying a raft for the ocean to ride the waves, although there were still waters most days; everyone spoke English; Katie and Erica got fantastic tans and Kim got a nice mocha glow; did we mention the food?; the free Roki shots that were everywhere you went! (Roki is a greek specialty, its distilled grapes); our room being right outside of the pool and beach; the friendly people; the list could go on....
After our 6 days in Rethymnos, we headed back to the ferry to catch a train in Athens to Thessaloniki. We made it to Athens (mostly smoke-free on the
Chillin in Athens
ferry), slept most of the way and had a 4 hour layover in Athens. When we got to the train station in Athens, our train was full so we had to wait another hour for the next train. When we got on the train, we realized that we were not assigned any seats which ended up being a big hassle for us. I think we were kicked out of our seats about 4 times over and ended up standing for the last 2 hours of the ride. NOTE: if you ever travel by train, make sure you have seat assignments! When we arrived in Thessaloniki, we had missed our 2nd train to Istanbul and ended up staying the night here in Thessaloniki. So, again we were on a search for another hostel. We found one that was fairly nice but the owner (who we think was speaking to us in 4 different languages) tried to charge us extra for air conditioning so we left. So we went around to find more hostels and almost ended up staying in cockarocha heaven. After realizing our mistake, we shamelessly walked back to our first hostel to beg for our original room back. And
Chillin in Athens
here we are... now waiting for our train to Istanbul.
Words we continuously use on our trip so far....
huggers - the miscellaneous shower curtains that always seem to touch you when you shower
jelly! - a.k.a. jealous, the word we say to each other when another one is eating
WC - stands for "water closet", the Greek word for bathroom
internets- our word for an internet cafe dubbed by Erica
Cockarocha- what we say when we refuse to stay in a hostel ( I think you can guess why)
There are more photos below