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Published: April 24th 2015
We got into Athens late on Easter Sunday. We were a little worried that nothing would be opened on Monday but luckily there was a lot to do, just with limited hours. The weather was beautiful as we walked from our hotel to the Panathenaic Stadium. The city was the same as I remembered - grey, dirty, and graffitied, but the big marble stadium looked beautiful as we approached. The entrance included an audio guide so we grabbed one and started off on our Olympic tour. We walked the perimeter before heading into the Athlete's tunnel towards the hall filled with Olympic torches and posters of many of the past Olympic competitions. A quick mini race on the track and hike up to the top of the stairs and we were on our way to the next couple of stops - the Temple of Zeus and the Arch of Hadrian.
Being Easter Monday, most attractions were closed by 3pm so we had a fairly relaxed afternoon walking around the Plaka area. Plaka is a very touristy filled with little shops, cafes, and best of all, scammers. The area was packed with the public holiday and a flood of tourists as
we walked towards the flee market area. Approached with so many scams along the way that we have encountered before - people offering "free" flowers, bracelets, etc. It's so funny when you know exactly what is going on, you don't want to be rude but when you say "No thank you", people get pushier- "but it's free, no money", "no thank you", "don't be scared, we just want to give you a bracelet from our home, where are you from?" Watching others fall for it and then being asked for money afterwards, nothing is ever free people!
We were a bit concerned that restaurants in our area were going to be closed because of the holiday but decided to try our luck and head to a highly rated restaurant anyway that night. I don't know if it was the wine or because we have ate nothing but gyros for 5 days but damn, best meal ever. We were kinda freaking out as the waiter brought us tons of extras (appies, soups, desserts, sorbets) with our order that might end up on our bill afterwards as we had only brought a few bills with us and not the credit card
but it was all included, such a nice surprise with great service to top it off. Every bite I took, all I could say was, "this is SOOOO good." Afterwards, we vowed to return the next night for our last meal in Europe.
The next day, our first stop was to the changing of the guards in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. The guy in charge instructed visitors that they could take pictures with the guards after inspecting their uniforms, I made Binnson head up there and of course he wanted to take a goofy photo. He stood behind the guard peaking out from behind for a total of 2 seconds before the guy in charge yelled out - "No standing behind the guard! Only beside!" Binnson jumped and stood beside for a quick pic before the show began. Afterwards, we rounded out our tourist activities with the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, and the Ancient Agora. The combo tickets that you buy to visit all of the major sites in Athens included the Roman Agora and Library of Hadrian as well but unfortunately these places closed early and when we arrived to both of them they
had already closed. They were open air so we could basically see the entire site through the fence but it still would have been nice to go inside as we had already walked to them.
Our feet were aching after the long day of walking but when we got home that night, we had work to do! We were taking off to Asia the next morning and we had some serious laundry to do. Our hotel found us a place to go and we were off. Stopping at a kiosk on the way to get some change for machines, Binnson asks the guy working - "Excuse me, do you have any change for a 20?" He pulls out a couple of 10's, "Oh sorry, I mean change - like loonies or toonies, we are trying to do laundry." I look at Binnson - "Really? Loonies and toonies? You think he might have some of those?" We walked away laughing hoping we could find some 1's or 2's somewhere else along the way.
The laundry place was about a 15 min walk away and they were full when we got there. The lady working asked us to come back
in a half hour but we decided to just hang out and wait since that didn't give us any time to do anything in between other than walk home and turn right back around. As we were waiting for the last load to finish washing, the power went out. It was just the 2 of us and the shop owner left, I asked the man if he wanted my cell phone flash light but he didn't seem to understand and started fumbling around in the dark for the electrical panel. I turned on the light and right away he understood and took it to figure out the problem. After a few minutes of flickering on and off and back on again, he was back in business. Unfortunately it meant that the timers on the wash reset and we were going to be there a little longer. Hungry and late, I was worried that Oroscopo(the yummy restaurant) would be closed when we finally got there. We got back to the hotel around 10pm and ran to the restaurant, luckily it was busy and we had lots of time to devour one last delicious meal there.
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Thanks for sharing Cheryl and Binnson. So enjoyed my travels with you. ?
D MJ Binkley
Dave and Merry Jo Binkley
Still one of my favorite countries. Love the history, the people and the food. Have fun and keep the blogs coming.