Monday, November 2, 2015

November 1 – Piraeus for Athens, Greece

We sleep so well.  Bernie finally caught up with his much needed sleep.  He says he slept well because he didn’t eat too much and he didn’t drink too much.  

I wake when I hear about the clearance for all to go ashore at just after 7 am.  We are doing our own thing today but we want to get an early start as we are all aboard back at 5:45.  Remember our itinerary changed and they moved up the Athens port stop two day early and moved our Santorini stopped to Tuesday instead.

We are docked at Terminal A and there is another ship in port.  Piraeus is a large port area and city on it’s own which is situated about a half hour from Athens.  

We head ashore at 9 and as soon as we cleared the terminal we turned left and went to the Hop on Hop off Bus terminal.  We purchased our tickets (which were suppose to be 22 E but only charged us 20 E each).

You get on this bus (green line) and it takes you to Athens. They provide earphones and you plug them in and listen to the audio.  Commentary is okay, and it gives a nice outline of what is around us and some of the history.  

Once we arrive in Athens we jump off at Syntagma Square in front of the Parliament building.  We walk over to the Parliament building and to the tomb of the unknown soldier and watch the crossing of the guards (Evzone Guards).

We jump on the next bus that comes by that takes us next to the Acropolis.  We stay on and continue to a few other sites, the National Gardens, Panathenaic Stadium, National Gardens.  

We jump off again at the Parliament and start Rick Steve’s Audio guide of his walking tour of Athens. 

I should say it is Sunday and the main square (Syntagma Square) is busy with families and it seems something is going on here today. 

We walk down Ermou Street – the street is lined with shops.

Bernie is cold (it is very windy and he didn’t bring his jacket) so we buy him a lovely sweater.  He is warm now.  

Midway down we stop at the Church of Kapnikarea (gee I thought Italian was hard but Greek is really hard).  This church is from the 11 century and this Orthodox church was built and named for the tax on the cloth merchants that once lined this square.  It is a 11 th century Byzantine church.  

Down another pedestrian street to the Cathedral Mitropolis and Cathedral Square which was built in 1842.  It is surrounded in scaffolding inside and out mainly because of the damage from the earthquake in 1989.

This is a statue just outside the church of Archbishop Damaskinos who stood up to the Nazis during the occupation of Greece, at great personal risk.

Right beside this church is a little church (looks like a miniature church) called Church of Agios Eleftherios.

We walk down the hill to the Arch of Hadrian and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.  Normally the one ticket for the sites get you into all of them but today they are all free cause it is the first Sunday of the month.  Nice surprise and saves us some money.

We walk through the site and take some pictures and follow with the Rick Steve’s guide.  Just so many wow moments.
We need to keep moving though and we need to get something to eat before we head to the Acropolis.  

Walking back into old town we walk thru Plaka and the beautiful buildings, walkways, cafes, tavernas and flowers.  
We climb a flight of stairs and there is a beautiful restaurant at the top with a view of the Acropolis!  

The restaurant is called Cave of Acropolis where Bill welcomes us and shows us to a nice table on the terrace under some heaters.  But scoots the cat off the chair first.

Two guys and a woman sit at a table and play music for us. Oh my can this be any more picture perfect?

We ask Bill what he recommends and we take that.

Half litre of wine to start.  Bread that is so fresh and the sauce which he called cheese sauce.  Cheers to the beginning of the month.

A large Greek salad is brought out and we share and oh and ahhh and yum.  And the bread soaking up the oil and vinegar makes it even better.

For the entrée he brings out the knuckle of a pig that has been roasting. The crunchy skin is like candy!  The meat is so tender and flavourful and the potatoes make us drool just thinking about it.

The music in the background gets us right in the mood.

For dessert Bill recommends a walnut honey cake with ice cream.  Well he doesn’t disappoint!  Amazing.

The whole meal that left us both full including the wine and water came to 38 E.  For us a great meal in a town is just as important to any tour we take.

Bernie see Sherwin and Trevor outside and we chat for a bit.  We plan to meet up for dinner tonight.

We walk out and climb up to do the Dionysiou Areopagitou or the Acropolis Loop as Rick calls it.  A pedestrian walk way the circles the Acropolis.  Great stroll and amazing views.

Once at the Acropolis we go to get our tickets and again we are surprised that it is free!  And it is not even that busy!  I love travelling at this time of year.  Sure it is cooler but that may be a good thing, but the crowds are much lower and not crazy busy.  Even on a day like today where it is free.

We head in and turn on Rick’s audio guide of the Acropolis and see the sites. 

We are out and back to the Hop On Hop Off bus stop.  It is 3:05 and Bernie needs to use the washroom and when we ask when do they leave the driver says in 3 minutes.  Okay so we sit down and forget about the washroom.  But we are still there after ten more minutes and we decide we just can’t hold it anymore so we walk to the washroom and catch the next bus.  It leaves right on time at 3:45 and we are back at the port at 4:15.

The walk to get on the ship is a short one.  There is a duty free here but we don’t go in.  There is also free wifi right here too.  Note the HOHO bus also had free wifi.

I will add that we have not had any issue bringing wine back on board from the ports.  

Back in the cabin we enjoy some wine that we got in Livorno and we are laughing our heads off at the movie 16 Candles.

We are heading to the dining room tonight and then to bed early.  Tomorrow is Kusadasi and another full day.
Entertainment for tonight is:  Piano Man at 8:30 and 10:30, X-Trio in Atrium, Casino Non Smoking Night, Velocity the Ultra Fast Trivia, NFL game on MUTS, Who sang What: New Country Music, Piano player Daniel Oliver in Crooners, Country Western Night.

1 comment:

  1. I believe all museums and historical sites have free entry in EU for the first Sunday in every month