Day 53: Athens, Greece

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January 18th 2010
Published: January 22nd 2010
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Day 53: Monday, January 18, 2010.
Athens, Greece.

The shuttle that will take me to the Cruise ship picks me up at 7:30am. The boat leaves around 8:30am and we're at the first island by 10am. On our way there, my ears pick up on some American accents on the guys standing next to me so I feel braver and strike up a conversation. They work for the state in the IT department and one is from DC and the other from Pittsburgh (though he lives in Germany now.) We chat for a few minutes and I head inside to read.

We get to the first island, Hydra. 90%!o(MISSING)f the group are Japanese tourists and our tour guides, who I'm guessing are Japanese, cater to them. They'll speak for a few minutes in Japanese, and then say a few words in English. I'm pretty sure I'm not getting the full story, oh well. So, I follow them up a hill to where there's a small church type tower. I then decide to leave the group and wander on my own.

I only see a few stray dogs here, instead, there are stray cats everywhere. And, once again, i do mean everywhere. And, once again, it seems that the community feeds them. So, if I let the logical side of my brain work, I can say it's not a bad life for cats and dogs. They have the Mediterranean weather (which was rainy but still in the 50's) and they have people feeding them and they get to roam free. Good life, right? Yeah, my emotional part of my brain has a much louder voice and I want to take them all with me.

We only have about an hour to wander so I head back to the boat and shortly after we take off to the 2nd island/port: Poros. Part of the package is that lunch is included so we are served meatloaf and rice. I hate meatloaf (keep in mind with all my negative ranting lately that Kinga & Tibi think I'm positive! 😉

We get to Poros and it's another cute little town and I don't even bother with the group this time, i head off on my own. Again, cats everywhere. However, can you think of a better place to leave a bit of Mom than on an island run by cats? Yeah, me neither. So, when I'm up on one of the walks without any of the critters (didn't want them to think i was scattering food... or litter!) I do another P.O.N.

I go back towards the harbor and, since we have more time here, 2 hours I think, I start to wander around there some more. I head over to one of the many cannons and I'm taking a picture when, once again, I feel something push against my legs. I look down and a happy black lab is looking back at me. We ended up hanging out together for the next 20 minutes. I'd throw a pine cone and she'd go grab it, play toss, and bring it back to me. She didn't look like she was hungry but I had a peanut butter power bar and, hoping she wasn't allergic to peanuts, started feeding her that. Some cats heard the wrapper and came over to join us but they weren't thrilled with what I was offering. Plus, the lab (who I ended up calling "Bella") decided that she wanted to chase the kitties. Dogs will be dogs. She finishes the power bar and I start walking back to the harbor and she walks next to me. Now and then she wanders off to smell something but then she catches up with me again. We get back into town and I make a point of losing her when she wanders off, I don't need her following me to the boat because I'm sure I'd start to cry. Once again, my logic side is telling me she'll be fine.

The trip to the third and final island, Aegina, feels like a long one. I nod off for about 30 minutes and wake up and start to read my book. One of the American guys I was talking to earlier comes over and we start chatting about my travels (this one is the DC guy and his name is Chris and the other one's name is Ken.) Ends up he has done some pretty seriously traveling (sounds like mainly due to work) so we were able to compare some spots. He said his all time favorite is New Zealand so now I'm really looking forward to that in a couple of weeks. He asks if I'm doing the excursion for the next island and I say "what excursion?" At some point our tour guide stopped speaking Japanese and told us about some excursions for this next island. Chris says that I can sign up on the bottom deck so I head down there to do that. I find the table where I can sign up, but no one is there. I hang around and read my book for about 10 minutes and finally one of the tour guides shows up (there are 2 of them.) I tell her that I'd like to sign up for the excursion and she nods her head and says "yes" and points to the toilet. I pause and go "No. Excursion?" and I get the same reaction. I then walk around to the other side of the desk where they have a picture of the excursion and I point at that and go "I want that!" Luckily the other tour guide showed up then and took over. Of course she said that out of the 2 excursions, the one I wanted (that would go to the Temple of Aphaia) was full but I could do the tour that takes you the Monastery of Chrysoleonitissa and then a free hit of Ouzo. Yeah, doesn't sound like my cup of tea.

I head back to the upper deck and don't see Chris but I see Ken, so I sit with him and we chat about the excursion. He says that they didn't sign up for either, that they're planning on getting a taxi and going up on their own. I ask if I can get in on that and he says sure. So, we dock, find Chris, and the three of us find a taxi who says he'll take us to the temple (round trip) for 30 Euro. Considering the excursion would have cost us 24 Euro each, this is a much better deal. We get to the Temple of Aphaia and hop out of the taxi and the driver says he'll wait for us for about 30 minutes. We snap some quick pictures before the other tourists show up and then hop back in the cab and head back to town. We have about an hour before the boat leaves so we wander around and then get back on board.

We have entertainment for the trip from Aegina to Athens- dancing! A couple shows us traditional Greek dances and then the keyboard player plays songs from different countries while our Japanese host tries to get people from that country to get up and dance. The guys and I are hoping she doesn't decide to finally acknowledge us and we're wondering what song would Mr. Keyboard play? Would Brittney Spears represent us? Or maybe Barry Mannilow? Luckily we didn't find out because she continued to ignore us- makes it easy for me on the whole "do I tip her?" question. The answer is "no." As we're waiting to disembark the guys ask me which bus I'm on. I tell them I don't know what they're talking about and they show me a piece of paper that was handed to them when they got on the bus this morning that says what bus they'll need tonight. Son of a bitch! I never got said paper. So, I stand in line with them for their bus and hope I can get onto that one. At the door, the driver is checking off the hotels and he gets to me and I say "Phillipos" and he immediately goes "No." I ask him what does he mean "No"? He says that I want the bus parked next to them. Oh, okay, that's not so bad. I don't have to kill over that. I say goodbye to the guys and head over to the other bus (which is the right one) and I end up being the first one they drop off- nice!

Additional photos below
Photos: 39, Displayed: 28


Docking at Poros.Docking at Poros.
Docking at Poros.

Notice the helpers on the left.

24th January 2010

You castrated a boat?
All the stray cats and dogs help keep the Cracken away.

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