Athens

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.

Sailing in to the Port of Piraeus
Sailing in to the Port of Piraeus

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.

Me in front of The Parthenon (along with some random strangers)
Me in front of The Parthenon (along with some random strangers)

I did stop for a bit at a cafe nearby to sit and drink a soda…

A refreshing Coke Zero a la Athens
A refreshing Coke Zero a la Athens

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…

 

Advertisements