Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Greece recap - 2 - Athens

{Note: any of my posts that have the heading "Greece recap" will probably be picture heavy.  I link to pics on flickr rather than uploading them directly so I hope it's not too large or too slow but let me know}.

More pics again but this time I'll try and string some words together too.

The trip was in two parts - a day stoppover in Athens with friends at the start, before taking a ferry over to Mykonos to meet our boat.  And sailing friends. The 8 of us had booked onto a tour that took us around the islands, sailing in the mornings, exploring the islands in the arvo and evening and sleeping on the boat.    I'm happy to say the others on the tour (there was 30 of us in total) were great.  People can really make or break these trips and everyone was lovely.  No cliquey moments or nought.  A really good bunch of people. 

The sailing - well, that didn't go so smoothly.  High winds (too high) at times and issues with the boat's power supply meant our intended itinery was nothing like what we did.  A slight bummer as it meant we only got 12 hours on Santorini (overnight) but not so bad because if you are going to be "stranded" anywhere, it may as well be in on a Greek island right?  Right.  And the extra time we had on Paros and then Ios - those were super fun days that I wouldn't want to trade in.  I think I'll just have to head back to Santorini another time, for a long weekend maybe, flying in and out directly.

Ok, "gripe" of sorts over (I feel like I have to explain things didn't go to plan but in reality, I'm just not bothered that they didn't), I'll share the Island itinery and pics with you in the next post but for now, Athens.

We reached our hostel at 4.30am Saturday morning, and left it for Piraeus (ferry port) at 5am Sunday.  A whistlestop tour for sure, but one I'm glad we did.

We spent the Saturday on our feet, enjoying the sunshine and historic delights of the city, ohhing and ahhing at lots of things, and laughing at many more. 

Views of the Acroplis were plenty. 

We took in the old Olympic stadium

And sought some respite from the heat in the National Gardens

Checked out Hadrian's Library

And sought some more respite from the heat, this time inside a restored church in the Agora.

This ampitheatre is halfway up to the Acropolis and is still used for shows nowadays.  You can see just a fraction of the Athens suburban sprawl in this pic too - it goes on and on in every direction.

The Acropolis
We're we all stopped and caught our breath
(and daydreamed of the icy poles we were going to have at the bottom)

Views from dinner
(which included greek salads, hommous, gyros/souvlakis, saganaki amongst other things)

Restorative replenishing cocktails and beers on the rooftop terrace at the hostel

Athens wasn't somewhere I'd really ever considered going but adding it on to the front of the sailing trip, however, made perfect sense. Aside from the fact that most of the flights went through Athens anyways, it was a pretty cool city and a great place to spend a day with friends.

And then...a few short hours after that last pic (which wasn't the last bar we went to), we were up and off to the Islands...

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