7:20am wake-up this morning, and were greeted with this great view from our window.
We say good-bye to Delphi and board the bus to Athens. We made a quick stop to over look a ski resort town built terraced on the side of a mountain. Later we stopped at a food park for coffee... after all, in Greece, everyone takes time out to have a coffee (and other treats)...
Three hours after leaving Delphi we arrived in Athens. Athens is a BIG city of 4 million people. There are only 9 million people in Greece, so almost half the population lives in Athens. The city spreads out as far as the eye can see!
When we arrived at our hotel, Jim went next door to the bank. I stayed in the lobby, listened to the "things to do in Athens" presentation and arrange for us to take a one day cruise tomorrow. I went back upstairs to take some things back to the room and left my key card in the slot to keep the air conditioner running and went back downstairs to wait for Jim. Cheryl was in the lobby waiting for Chris to come down from the room. We sat looking at the map for a little while... then a long while... where were Jim and Chris? We went to the bank next door to look for Jim, and he wasn't there. We went back to the room and knocked on our door, no Jim. We knocked on Chris's and Cheryl's door, no Chris. We checked the pool... no one there. We went back to the lobby and got a spare key for Cheryl's room. Chris was coming down with that cold that was going around... maybe he was sleeping. No Chris. He wasn't in the room. We had only 5 minutes before the bus was going to leave for the Acropolis. We hit the elevator button to go back to the lobby. The elevator opened, and there were Jim and Chris rushing back to the rooms to pickup cameras before the bus left. It turned out that the bank next door to the hotel didn't cash traveller's checks, so they had to run to a different bank. (Oh, and we didn't know that Chris went with Jim). But, we are all back together on the bus to the Acropolis. The moral of the story is: Don't take traveller's checks to Europe!
On to the Acropolis! The HIGHTLIGHT of Athens! There are three temples there.
This first one is called the Propylea. It's not a crowded as it looks. We got to walk through this temple, so the groups had to funnel through.
Does it look sturdy to you?
The Propylaea opens up to the grand dame of them all, the Parthenon! It was so nice that we had lots of time to look around and take it all in! The Parthenon is HUGE and amazingly BEAUTIFUL! There are spots where you can still see the double rows of columns and the inside wall.
The last temple was the Erechtheron. This structure is more interesting to look at.
There are also a couple other interesting places at the Acropolis, like the Theatre of Dionysus:
... the much better preserved, the Odeum of Herodes Atticus:
And our favorite... The slushie stand!
On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at the modern Olympic stadium in Athens made completely out of marble. It must be very slippery when it rains! We are having a hard enough time trying to not to slide on the marble when it's dry.
Back at the hotel, Jim and Chris went for a swim as Cheryl and I got first showers. Tonight is our FIRST farewell diner. A lot of our group are off on 3-day and 7-day cruises tomorrow. We also say good-bye to our Greek driver, Lapros.
Dinner was at a Greek restaurant in the Plaka district. Plaka is a very tourist-y area near most of the ruins. The restaurant was built into the side of a hill (multi-level outdoor dining).
The food was so good! We also have a Greek guitar and mandolin players. Later some dancers came in wearing traditional Greek costumes.
Walking back from the restaurant we got a nice night view of the Acropolis. Even though we got the great view, walking in Athens is not as safe as walking in Italy. We were told to watch out for pick pockets and to avoid dimly light areas at night. We were also told what part of the city to stay out of.
Well, it's back to the hotel and bed for us! We have a 6am wake-up tomorrow for our one-day island cruise!