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Published: January 22nd 2010
Day 51: Saturday, January 16, 2010.
Budapest, Hungary to Prague, Czech Republic (3rd time's the charm!) to Athens, Greece
My flight leaves Budapest around 8:30am so I have a airport shuttle pick me up at 6am. As I hand over my bag to the driver, there is suddenly something rubbing against my legs and whining. I've encountered the first stray I've seen in Budapest and it was a mutt who didn't seem hurt, just was happy to find a human. I start to pet him and the driver says "It's just a stray" and indicates that I need to get into the van. So, I hop in the van and watch the dog scurry off. I have no idea what that incident was but it ripped out my heart (and ends up it was the first of my "animal encounters" for my Athens trip.)
I sleep all the way from Budapest to my connecting flight which is in Prague. Unfortunately I don't have a longer layover in Prague or I could go get Kutna Hora out of my system. It's a good thing I slept the whole way because the plane was what we would call a "puddle jumper". A
very small propeller plan. The next plane, that took me from Prague to Athens was a jet plane, but I would describe it as a "pond jumper". So, a little bit bigger, but not much. Some beyond cute, long haired greek man sat next to me and so I did what I always do when I like a guy, I stared at my book and acted like he didn't exist. Yes, I'm amazed that I'm single as well.
I get to the airport in Athens and grab a taxi and give him the address to the hotel. I had read ahead of time to expect to pay 35-45 Euro for a taxi to the area I was staying in and that's about what the guy quoted me. The metro does have a line that goes out to the airport but after a day of airports and little sleep, I wasn't in the mood to deal with the metro, my backpack and bags, and finding the hotel once I got off the metro. So, I splurged.
About 40 minutes later we get to my hotel, Hotel Phillipos
, and I check in and head up to my room. It's only about
4 pm so I freshen up and head back out. Right down the street from my hotel is the Acropolis
and that's pretty amazing to see right away. Since it's up on a hill, you can only see the corner of it, but cool nonetheless. I walk around that area but it has closed for the day so I can't go up and take a look. I take some pictures and wander back towards the hotel. I wander those streets and try to find a place to eat. It's dark, and has been drizzling since I got here, so I just want to sit and eat. I find a place that's relatively cheap, order a chicken gyro and look at the map and try to figure out where I am.
One thing that I noticed once I stepped out of the hotel is the amount of stray dogs that are around- they are everywhere. Most have collars on, so at first I thought they were just lost but no, they don't have homes, people just put collars on them for some reason- maybe to show that someone is somewhat taking care of the dog? I read an article that
said that the city was worried about what all the tourists would think about their many many many stray dogs so before the 2004 Olympics they rounded up as many as they could, gave them their shots, fixed them, and put them back on the street. So, hopefully that has helped to lower the population of strays, but there are still many of them around. The locals put out food and water for them, so they are well fed and they do look healthy, but they still rip my heart out. My day started with a stray, and it looks like my week will continue with them.
I head back out in the general direction I think I should be going and along the way I find a grocery store so I stop in to buy some staples for the week. I then head out and somehow stumble onto my hotel which is good because I am so exhausted I'm kind of in a daze. Plus, I was not getting the best feeling while walking around in the dark, by myself, single female tourist. I was getting some looks from some of the men that wasn't complimentary, and I'm
suddenly wondering if I have gone too far East and if maybe I shouldn't be wandering on my own.
So, a creepy beginning to Athens, we'll see what tomorrow brings.
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