Sunday, September 25, 2011

Italy/Greece: Day 16 - Athens -> Home

What does 26.2 mean to you? Is it the number of miles in a marathon? That's on lots of people's minds right now since the Long Beach Marathon is just around the corner (I'm not running it, if you were wondering...).

Well, 26.2 is also the number of hours that it takes to get from the hotel in Athens to our front door. Yes, you heard that right! 26.2 HOURS!!!

So where do I start... We left the hotel at 8:30am via airport shuttle. That left us a couple of hours to bum around the Athens Airport.

Our flight to Philadelphia is 10 hours 45 minutes. No fancy in-flight entertainment on this aircraft. Nothing to do but watch Marley and Me on the itsy-bitsy screen way up in the front of the cabin, or sleep... UGH! What is that?

What's going on back there?!!

Oh, I see...

While the kids sleep, let me add some random highlights from Greece. First of all, does this look safe to you?

I guess if it's been standing for thousands of years, it'll stand for a few seconds more.

We learned that everything tastes better with olive oil on it.

I don't think I posted this picture of the bridge from the Greek peninsula to the main land:

Uhm... GO BRAZIL???

I think it's AMAZING how archaeologists can know what a statue looks like from the few pieces they find:

In Greece they use guard dogs! Yes, this is not a place for my niece and nephew to visit any time soon. There are dogs all over the ruin site, checking out the people as they walk by... do not pet the dogs!

Slushies! Need I say more...?

Hey, Mary! Athens is Doug's kind of city! Look at the types of cars they drive, lol!

Cheryl can never resist sunflowers! Chris took both of these photos... look at the butterfly he caught in flight!

The Greek islands are over run by cats! Chris decided that he was going to do a cat study. Here are some of his cat pictures.

I'm just realizing that most of these random pictures are by Chris. Here is another one of Chris's photos... a Greek Orthodox Priest,

A goofy goat...

A preposterous pigeon...

Silly swallows...

A freaky fly...

And as Jim calls them... a flying rat...

And here's a behind the scene shot! Is my behind really that big?!!!

Anyway, back to the trip home. We landed at 11pm (Greece time) in Philadelphia, and spend 1.5 hours going through passport control, customs and security.

We left Philadelphia at 3:45am (Greece time). UGH! No movies for almost 6 hours!

We ended up getting home at 11am (Greece time) which is midnight Pacific time. We are WIDE AWAKE and STARVING! Our first meal at home? Del Taco 24 hour drive through! LOL! Welcome home!

After all the planning, all the anticipation, and all the fun, now the trip is over... thanks for all of you who stuck through it all. The trip recap lasted about 4 times longer than the trip, hahaha! The pictures that I have enjoyed sifting through again and again, reliving the trip through the blog, will now get saved to limbo-land (AKA, the external USB drive). That makes me sad... But, now we have next summer to think about. Where are are going next?

Italy/Greece : Day 15 - Athens

We slept in today... it felt so good! We went down to breakfast at 7:30am, stopping at the kids' room on the way (they were still sleeping). We'll meet them in the lobby later. We saw a lot of people from our group enjoying a late breakfast. Everyone is in a good mood and ready to explore Athens on our own.

Our first stop was the Plaka and in order toget there, we had to take the Metro. We walked about 10 minutes from the hotel to the station; Cheryl figured out which direction we needed to go; and we jumped on a train! We got off one stop too soon... We should have listened to Cheryl!

We meandered up and down the streets and past the shops displaying their wares.

Athens is full of graffiti... it's everywhere! But, I think it's part of Athens' charm.

Can you see the place behind Jim and Chris? Restaurants would just setup tables right along the side of the street.

We had lunch at a little place like that. We had our favorite... Greek Salad...

And stuffed tomatos!

After lunch, I asked the waiter to show me where we were on the map. Did I mention that we were lost? We were trying to find the Acropolis museum. I gave the map to Cheryl and we headed off!

Athens is full of ruins. Here are some places we saw on our way to the museum. This is called Hadrian Library. It was right in the middle of the Plaka with shops all around it.

This is the Statue of Nike in Hadrian Library. It has no head or arms...

This is what it's supposed to look like. A pretty good likeness, if I do say so myself.

Here is another place called Temple of Hephaistos:

Where the Parthenon is impressive because of its size, the Temple of Hephaistos is impressive because it's so well preserved. We saw it in the distance when we were at the Parthenon two days ago, and luckily stumbled into it today!

Wow, that was a lot of pictures of one building. You can really tell how much I enjoyed seeing it! Here's a last building, called the Church of the Holy Apostles. It's not really considered a ruin because it was built in 1000 AD, but it's still a cool building.

Thanks to Cheryl, we finally found the Acropolis Museum! The muesum is located at the base of the Acropolis hill; built right on top of more ruins of the city surrounding the Acropolis.

There are three floors to this museum and each floor has a glass floor so you can see the ruins underneath.

This also means that if you are on the lower floors, you can look up and see the people above you in a less than flattering angle. At least we were all wearing shorts! The museum contained all the pottery, stone panels and statuary found at the Acropolis site. The stars of the museum were the peplos that decorated a building at the Acropolis. They didn't allow any photos in the Acropolis Museum, but here are the repoductions that we took a picture of two days ago at the Acropolis site:

After the Acropolis, Jim was done with walking. We headed back to the Metro. Oh wait! Look, gelato! There is always time to stop for a gelato! Chris has his...

And how about a swim on the roof before dinner...

Time for our second farewell dinner. Surprise! We are not eating at the hotel! Fabrizio took us out to Monastiraki for a traditional Greek dinner: Greek salad, stuffed mushrooms, and choice of entree. I got the mushroom risotto, which was GREAT! But, there's more... fruit and then a brownie with Greek ice cream. Greek ice cream tastes kind of strange. I prefer gelato. The last thing they brought was a liquor that is supposed to help with digestion. I didn't like how it tasted. YUCK!

Well, time to say good-bye to Fabrizio and all our travel companions. We need to go to our rooms and get packing! We are leaving tomorrow morning!