This city in Greece was what I expected to be a major highlight of this whole trip. It certainly was A highlight, but not the pinnacle I had thought it would be. That’s mostly due to the limited amount of time I had to visit this historic city. Even so, the adventures here began early in the morning — I was awake well before we were due into the Port of Piraeus, so I ventured topside to experience our pre-dawn arrival. That was pretty incredible.
I had some intriguing experiences as I ventured off the ship. First, this was the first time I was confronted with the challenge of a language barrier. Because I was traveling on my own, using public transportation and my handy-dandy Rick Steves Audio Europe app, it took a bit of navigational skills to locate the metro train station. The signage on the street wasn’t sufficient, and I ended up missing a key turn. When I realized I’d walked too far, I stopped a sanitation worker to ask for assistance. She didn’t speak English, but when I said the key word “Metro?” she graciously provided direction using gestures. I was at the Metro station ten minutes later.
The train was significantly faster than catching a bus, and probably easier to navigate without impeding other travelers. I arrived at Syntagma Station in twenty minutes and began the audio tour. From the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to the Arch of Hadrian and Temple of Olympian Zeus, I traipsed through the city. After the arch, I meandered through the Plaka’s shopping district, picking up a few souvenirs, then headed in the direction of the Acropolis (where the Parthenon is). That was quite an adventure, just ascending the Acropolis, amidst the Sea of Humanity (a phenomenon I encountered repeatedly on this trip); but it was certainly worth it.
I was approached by a couple asking to have their photo taken in front of The Parthenon, so they graciously returned the favor.
I did stop for a bit at a cafe nearby to sit and drink a soda…
Once I’d descended to ground level, my energy was pretty well tapped. I slowly made my way back to the train to return to the ship. When I return to this ancient city, I will continue this adventure. But for THIS great adventure, I’m prepping for the next country on the itinerary…