Where are we?

Big hike today!

Tuesday Oct 30th

WOW!! Having that yummy tasting cappuccino freddo last night did NOTHING for a good nights sleep! I should have known but figured with milk and foamy top it would be less caffeine! NOPE! Up until 1am and then up again at 3 until 5. Did get a couple hours of sleep after that. Will have to remember those coffees for early afternoon LOL!!

Anyways, out the door we go at 10 with our bag of garbage looking for the big bin. Found it but it was full. Lots of bags sitting at the side, so guess that's where it goes until garbage pickup.  Its a little cloudy this morning which is great since we will be hiking up Lycabettus Hill and from here is about 2km - but it will be the steps up the hill that will slow me down :)

We stop at the grocery store and pickup a couple of apples to take with us.  Head up the streets following maps.me to get to the right area. The map wants us to go around the side of the hill and then up. But I think that is longer so headed up the stairs.  And more stairs ... soon it does change to just a very sloped sidewalk, which I find easier.  We get to the top in 30 mins - not bad for an old bird that is huffing and puffing up. This is our first big hike since we got here. We did do that 3 km walk in Amsterdam to pick up cigars for Mar's friend and left her behind to enjoy coffee - but that has pretty well been it.  I was still all sweaty but happy :)  Once up there the views are great. There is a little chapel up there - St Georges, built in the 1834 and also a restaurant.  There is a funicular that comes up here, but its in a tunnel so no views coming up.
Starting our climb up - I'm only ahead to take the pic! LOL!!
View half way up
Lots of Yucca plants here
view from the top 
looking down at the path we came up on-luckily it wasn't a hot sunny day!

After taking in the views we went for a coffee. I had the cappuccino freddo- knowing this walk will for sure knock me out tonight! It wasnt long before a load of people came up on the funicular - cruise people.

Saint Georges Chapel
The interior of the small chapel

Lots of pretty flowering bushes at the top. Trying to capture a pic of the butterfly with 2 eyes on the wings 

such pretty colours!
Better pic of the butterfly
restaurant at the top

Then its time to head back down and start walking to the flea market area of Monastiraki. Suppose to have anything and everything!  Didn't find anything we really needed or wanted LOL!  But the area was interesting!  We stopped and had another gyro for lunch and then started heading back.  Not really sure how many steps today because my fitbit has also quit working! :(  I cant download mapmywalk since I cant use the "dutch app store" not sure what that's about but guess it's cuz of the Dutch SIM card. I can use a health app on my phone and it showed walked 7.8km - I'll agree with that!!

the walk down the other side of the hill was much nicer because in the pine trees 

Statutes symbolizing National Reconcilation 
Athen's Flea Market

Saw lots of girls wearing this "gold" laurel leaf crowns
Even the trains cant get away from the crazy graffiters !

Once we got home we opened the window and sat on the balcony - but not for long because getting bitten by the mosquitos!

Tomorrow is our last day here. We will go check on the metro since we have to try and catch the first one at 5:30AM!!  After booking the flight from Athens to Crete the airlines changed a 10am flight to 7:50am😝 and since the metro takes almost an hour to get to the airport we gotta catch that first one! So next stop is Tsikalaria, Crete 😃

Athens Day 2

Monday Oct 29th

There comes our bus for the day :)
Today when we left the apartment it was a lot more busier then yesterday! Taxis all over the place - lots of honking! But its another beautiful sunny warm day - yesterday we actually got a bit of a sunburn on our faces. Suppose to get to 25C today. We are on our way to Syntagma Sq to get onto the hop on hop off bus and take it to the Acropolis to transfer over to the bus heading to the port city of Piraeus.

As we get on the bus the schedule has changed for "winter" and the times are longer between buses. Also found out that tomorrow is CRUISE DAY! YIKES!! Everything will be busy, so glad we are heading to the port today. But we have to wait an 1.5hrs at Acropolis for the bus to arrive. Good time to walk around the lower area known as Phillopapou Hill.

Tomorrow we are going to the top of Lycabettus Hill 

coffee and chess time :)
Once the bus came and we all got on it took a long time for the bus to get through the small neighbourhoods and onto the highway to the port due to all the traffic.  Once we got to the port we could get off and onto a "Train line" that went around the city of Piraeus, one of those hokey little trains that pull a few very uncomfortable wooden cars! Luckily it filled up and there was no room for us. Nothing that we had seen so far really called out to us to come see closer so stayed on the bus since the next one doesnt come around for another 1.5 hrs.  Plus I think since this is where the cruise ships come into the port, the restaurants would be on the expensive side! We were glad we stayed on as the bus did do a loop around the marina.

Streets are narrow, cars parked on both sides, one lane  for traffic = grid lock!! 

On our way out of Athens

Piraeus Marina 

Hard to see thru the bus window but there are people laying on the beach and in the water!
Then when the bus got back to Athens it had to make a detour down a side street due to a couple of thousand people marching towards us on the main road protesting something!  So far I have been unable to find out what it was about online.  We creep along the side road, lots of traffic from a 3 lane road to 1 lane :(  The bus tried to turn at a corner that would have taken us up to the Acropolis but the police wouldn't let the bus though. Very strange since the demonstrators had already passed! We all had to get down from the top of the bus because the street we had to go on had lots of low hanging branches.  After awhile the driver said that he was not going to get to the Acropolis so said we should get out. We agreed, thinking that walking was much faster then sitting on the bus going nowhere LOL!!  So back up to the main street we go.  Walk aways and find a small restaurant that was serving gyros :)  It was lunchtime so we go in and check it out. We watch him make one and said "2 please" they looked so good! We sat done and within a couple of minutes our huge gyros were ready and boy were they yummy!! Couldnt believe that when we went to pay they only cost 2E EACH!! What a deal!

Photo doesnt do the gyro justice! Plus its half eaten! LOL!!
From there we continued to walk thru the streets of Plaka on our way back to our place. 

Think we need a table like this under our chompa in Honduras :)

Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens built in 1842

The interior is beautiful 

Next to the Metropolitan Church is the tiny Church of Theotokos Gorgoepikoos - built in the 13th century

The interior-could probably seat 30 people

The exterior side wall
Asked the owner of this apartment where we have to take our garbage and he said out to the street in one of the bins. No specific bin just find one - very strange. We did find one about half a block away. Seems everyone just has to take their garbage to these bins located on each block. Even with this system the street here are very clean!

Our place is located between many embassies. Right next door is the French Embassy. There is a police command bus across the street that hasn't moved since we got here. So guessing it must be there 24/7.

After we had supper we went out again to see if I could get a picture of the Acropolis all lit up at night.  We walked to the Parliament and watched the changing of the guards. I took a video but will post separately since they don't seem to work on my blog :(  After that there was The Athens Happy Train parked on the main street. Its a 40 minutes ride for only 5E each. Thought maybe it would go thru the side streets of Plaka, which it did.  I tried to get a picture of the Acropolis but my iPhone just didnt show it clearly. I have to use it since our camera crapped out this summer - I cant review the picture after taking it, so not good :(  Took it to London drugs but they couldnt figure out why it was doing that.

Had a nice evening walking around the centre :)  Tomorrow we are doing the big hike up Lycabettus Hill.
Police command centre across the street

Stopped for a  Cappuccino Freddo and baklava
oooo it was good :) 

waterfalls in Syntagma Square 

Arrived in Athens

Saturday Oct 27th

The day started early from our Air BnB since we have to return the rental car. The sun was just coming up as we are driving to Schiphol Airport.  We drive to the rental car drop off which was great because there was no lineup there! Even though it was a Saturday there was quite a lineup of cars going into the airport.

Once returned we headed to the departure area of the airport. We found our bag dropped off but it wasn't opening for another 15 mins. In the meanwhile I walked around looking for Icelandair for Mar's departure. Nothing was on the airport monitor yet since it was to early.  We leave at 12 and she leaves at 2pm.  So the earliest she can probably check in is 11.  I tried checking her in online but didnt work. Said had to check in at airport. Once we were at the airport I tried again at a kiosk, but again not allowed. Wonder why? Anyway our bag drop-off opened so we went thru and once dropped off went back to Mar who was waiting nearby. As it turned out Icelandair is way done the end of the terminal. So we said our goodbyes and Dwayne and I headed towards our gate since we still have to go thru security and then find breakfast.

We got thru security and started heading to our gate. We stopped and had a breakfast bagette each, small water and an almond cookie and it came to 25EUROS!!! Stupid price! $37C! Anyways since we wont have anything now until we get to Athens at 4pm we had to have something.

Once we boarded - the stewardess of Aegean Air all have very formal uniforms, they all had their hair pulled back and in a low bun so that their hat would sit properly on their head. They all wear red lipstick.  Once we were in the air we were surprised that they were serving food! And on top of that free beer and wine!!  All this on a 3 hour flight that only cost us $183US for a oneway ticket!
My meal of chicken and orzo pasta and my smiling bun :) 

Once we landed we found the metro to take to the main square in Athens, Syntagma Square,  no problem. Paid the 10E each and got on. Took a little less then an hour to get to our stop. Once we got above ground we walked towards the studio apartment we have rented until Nov 1st. Using my maps.me found it and got in using the code the owner had emailed to me.

On the subway from the airport

Our first views of Greece

Hellenic Parliament (Parliament of Greece) is located in the Old  Royal Palace built in  1843 which faces Syntagma Sq. 
Hotels facing Syntagma Square

Coming into the studio- first is the dining area

Even a small balcony- at least the one and only window opens :) 
Small hot plate for cooking - hummm going to be different
The building our apartment is in 
The place looks exactly like it does on Booking.com :)  But the kitchen is really tiny! No stove, just a hot plate! Ummm this is going to be different for cooking. After unpacking a few things we headed to the nearest grocery store to pick up a few things and something for supper. Will have to be careful since we HAVE NO room in our suitcases to bring anything leftover! We were both at 49.5 lbs and thats after I put what I could in my purse and backpack.

We found a small grocery store about a block away. Right away I found my supper :) a cheese pie! Dwayne picked up a pizza bread from the bakery.  Then a few things for a salad and hamburger that was already spiced up and made into burger for tomorrow's dinner.
yummy cheese pie!
Sunday Oct 28th

This morning Dwayne tried to make his usual eggs and toast but with the hot plate it wasn't going to happen since it wont heat up enough! He left the pan on the burner a long time to make his toast first - but nothing really happened. I then put the bread right on the burner and it toasts great :)  I then tried to make the egg in the microwave - which is a combo grill also. I did pierce it to avoid a blowup mess and put it in. Turned out not to bad - I haven't really used a microwave for more then melting butter for popcorn and heating leftovers LOL!!  Glad I bought yogurt for breakfast!

We then headed out to see Athens! As we go down the street we see it's closed off and people are lining the sides of the street. I remember reading yesterday that today is a holiday in Greece - Ohi Day - Anniversary of the No.  In 1940 the Greek prime minister said no to demands made by dictator Mussolini. The day is celebrated with a military parade.  We did see lots of police presence around! Guess just in case there were demonstrations.  We thought this was a good time to go sightseeing!

The condos here have lovely balcony gardens!

These are the Evzones - guards in front of the Hellenic Parliament - on their way to the parliament. There they stand perfectly still for an hour then the changing of the guards happen-check it out online, very strange!
This is another one by the Prime's Residence. 

We walked over to the Panathenaic Stadium built in 1885 and the revival of the Summer Olympics in 1896

then on to the Temple of Zeus - which use to have 104 columns but now only 16 remain
I'm standing in front of one of the columns that fell, showing the layers of granite used in building the columns
Our first look at the Acropolis up on the hill

Hadrian's Arch

We then got on the hop on hop off bus and toured around for a bit.  We originally got off at the Acropolis but we found out that entrance was free today and the lineup was ridicules so back on the bus and ride around until later in the afternoon

We got off at the National Archaeological Museum and decided it was time for lunch :)

When we got off the bus lunch was a ham & cheese pie for me and chicken baguette for Dwayne bought from this little cafe.  We went into the Museum which was also free. But not really our "thing" but did walk around and check things out. Glad we are seeing a lot of things free today :)

Back onto the bus and thru side streets of Athens. Once we got to Syntagma Square we got off to start walking along the pedestrian streets in the Plaka - a busy area with LOTS of restaurants and shops. We just keep walking along and then get onto the walkway that zigzags thru the houses in the Anafiotika area to the Acropolis. We get to the top but there is no entrance so head down the other side. Once at the bottom we found the entrance to the slopes of Acropolis - and hardly a lineup!! So we pulled out our free ticket we had got at the main entrance earlier and got in.  Interesting walk to the top.  Also a good way to burn off those cheese pies LOL!!! Then we get to the main entrance and the number of people lining up to now leave (its around 3pm) is AMAZING!! But not lineup for us to get in :)

Sights from our bus tour

Flea markets all over the place!

Unfortunately there is a LOT of graffiti all over the city!

Ok a bit of a fixer upper - but maybe a cheap price? LOL!!

Klafthmonos Square - with the Acropolis on the hill

Not ANY bicycles here!! Only motorbikes

Lots of trees in the neighbourhoods - had to make sure we didnt get smacked by a branch as we drove by!

Walking in the Plaka area 
Then we found the back way up in the Anafiotika area know for its cute little white houses and narrow walkways

Once we were at the top 

Our walk up the slopes

Theatre of Dionysus

Odeon of Herod the Atticus - still used during Athens Music Festival each year

YES! We made it to the Acropolis 

Amazing amount of people in this area - this is the lineup to get OUT!!

We just couldnt get over the number of people on this site!! Guess when you can save 20E each its worth going :)  Anyways were really enjoyed walking around and seeing the ruins. It wasn't that busy once we got in
Looking down to the Odeon

The Propylaea at the entrance.
The Mighty Parthenon! 

closeup of the left top side 

here you can see where new concrete has filled in areas where granite is missing to reconstruct this wall of the Erechtheion

All the granite pieces are numbered
And there are a lot laying around 

Looking towards the port of Piraeus

Looking down from where we walked up

just to the left of the treed area is where we are staying

walking up here is not easy! No taking pics and walking!!
 And that was I first day in Athens. I never knew that the Parthenon was sitting up so high and is contained with in walls. Guess again I wasn't listening very well in social studies LOL!!!
Tomorrow we are using the second day of our hop on hop off bus ticket and heading to the port of Piraeus.

One last look at one of the Evzones in front of the Parliament - LOVE those pompoms on the shoes :)