Athens, Greece – 2/7/2015

FEBRUARY 7, 2015 (Saturday)

We couldn’t sleep (after sleeping so much yesterday) and were awake to watch the ship dock in Athens. Very beautiful going along the coastline and seeing all the lights. Around 6:30 AM, we went to breakfast at the Garden Cafe. There we met others going on the free walking tour of Athens – Maria and Allen, Hein and Kim. Before we met for the free walking tour, we all wanted to go to the Acropolis as it wasn’t included in the tour.

Just a glimpse into the kitchen.  Looked clean and well run, at a glance.

Just a glimpse into the kitchen. Looked clean and well run, at a glance.

Left over from when this ship only sailed the Hawaiian Islands.  Early breakfast to fuel our walk.

Left over from when this ship only sailed the Hawaiian Islands. Early breakfast to fuel our walk.

After breakfast we met another young couple – “A” and his wife. We walked from the ship to the train station (about a mile) and took a train to the closest stop to the Acropolis. While on the train a lady kept trying to tell me something but I couldn’t understand her. From what Maria could gather (she understands a little), the lady was trying to warn us about pick pockets in our area. The walk and train ride was very interesting. I think Michael and I were both surprised at the amount of graffiti and litter in Athens.

Greek port authority vehicle.

Greek port authority vehicle.

Port authority processing building.

Port authority processing building.

 Lots of good ideas for things to see in Athens.

Lots of good ideas for things to see in Athens.

Full moon morning.

Full moon morning.

There are so many dogs here, all looking well fed.

There are so many dogs here, all looking well fed.

There are many churches here.

There are many churches here.

Interesting buildings

Interesting buildings

Greek Orthodox priests ascending the stairs.

Greek Orthodox priests ascending the stairs.

Nice clean looking buildings just outside the port on the way to the metro.

Nice clean looking buildings just outside the port on the way to the metro.

Like the curved corners.

Like the curved corners.

Many churches along the way.

Many churches along the way.

Some look very grand.

Some look very grand.

We walked by a homeless encampment.

We walked by a homeless encampment.

Great looking bakery.

Great looking bakery.

Good looking product.

Good looking product.

Fat and friendly dog.

Fat and friendly dog.

The metro, train station and our happy band of walkers.

The metro, train station and our happy band of walkers.

We didn't have to wait long

We didn’t have to wait long

The train showed up quickly.

The train showed up quickly.

We got off the train and walked to the Acropolis up a cute little cobblestone street. Along the sides of the street were vendors and/or a flea market with their tables full of different and unusual items.

We got off and walked past a flea market getting set up.

We got off and walked past a flea market getting set up.

The graffiti is bad here

The graffiti is bad here

I was nervous heading up to the acropolis, it would make me sick if it were graffiti marked.

I was nervous heading up to the Acropolis.  It would make me sick if it were graffiti marked.

Lots of paver streets.

Lots of paver streets.

We learned later that the closer to the Acropolis you get, the nicer the neighborhood.

We learned later that the closer to the Acropolis you get, the nicer the neighborhood.

Nice architecture, but still a fair bit of graffiti.

Nice architecture, but still a fair bit of graffiti.

Grumpy and Pretty Woman.

Grumpy and Pretty Woman.

A once beautiful tile floor.

A once beautiful tile floor.

So much marble, used for sidewalks.

So much marble, used for sidewalks.

Getting closer.

Getting closer.

Pass by a theater on the way.

Pass by a theater on the way.

Pretty woman asking a local a question.

Pretty woman asking a local a question.

Marble bench seating in the theater. There has to be at least a couple marble mountains missing somewhere.

Marble bench seating in the theater. There has to be at least a couple marble mountains missing somewhere.

Up the hill.

Up the hill.

We got to the Acropolis, got our tickets (12 Euro each) and walked up. Quite the hike up beautiful marble pathways and steps. Once inside we walked all around and explored everything we could. The view was breathtaking. When we got to the little lookout at one end of the Acropolis with the Greek flag flying, a young man got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend. So fun to see. We then made our husbands do the same but it just wasn’t the same. We all walked down to a little park type area at the bottom of the Acropolis. We were able to use our 12 Euro ticket from the Acropolis to get into this and see old and broken statues.

“A”, a very nice young army medic. He offered me O2 a couple of times.

“A”, a very nice young army medic. He offered me O2 a couple of times.

The views get spectacular very quickly.

The views get spectacular very quickly.

Natural granite outcropping surrounded with marble.

Natural granite outcropping surrounded with marble.

One of the 7 hills of Athens.  7 was considered lucky and it was fashionable to identify 7 hills in whatever area you were.

One of the 7 hills of Athens. 7 was considered lucky and it was fashionable to identify 7 hills in whatever area you were.

I get lost in time here, so much history, glory and loss.

I get lost in time here – so much history, glory and loss.

Entrance to the Acropolis.  I found myself begin to start hoping for no earthquakes as I walked along the columns.

Entrance to the Acropolis. I found myself begin to start hoping for no earthquakes as I walked along the columns.

Grumpy.

Grumpy.

Allan and Maria, “A” and his wife to the right.

Allen and Maria, “A” and his wife to the right.

“A” and his wife.

“A” and his wife.

Center photo, Ellis, the chest master, he creamed me our first game.  I hope to beat him once before the cruise is over.

Center photo, Ellis, the chess master, he creamed me our first game. I hope to beat him once before the cruise is over.

It's hard to imagine how it must have been at it's height, maybe a little like visiting Washington D.C.  Can't help but wonder what our capital will look like in 2 – 3,000 years.

It’s hard to imagine how it must have been at its height, maybe a little like visiting Washington D.C. Can’t help but wonder what our capitol will look like in 2 – 3,000 years.

Buildings once great and now in ruins, from wars, earthquakes, storms, time and competing religions.

Buildings once great and now in ruins, from wars, earthquakes, storms, time and competing religions.

Side temples and monuments abound.

Side temples and monuments abound.

Lots of climbing to see all the buildings.

Lots of climbing to see all the buildings.

Rubble is everywhere.

Rubble is everywhere.

Scaffolding and cranes are up here.

Scaffolding and cranes are up here.

I like the women columns.

I like the women columns.

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Lots of work in progress here, but we think the current economic crisis has stopped the work.

Lots of work in progress here, but we think the current economic crisis has stopped the work.

Views!

Views!

Grumpy.

Grumpy.

"A" and wife

“A” and wife

Hein and Kim, very nice couple.

Hein and Kim, very nice couple.

Hein, Kim, Mrs A, Pretty woman, Maria, Allan, Grumpy, and “A” kneeling.

Hein, Kim, Mrs A, Pretty woman, Maria, Allen, Grumpy, and “A” kneeling.

Grand scale.  It must have been spectacular.

Grand scale. It must have been spectacular.

"A" posing.

“A” posing.

Zeus' temple.

Zeus’ temple.

Amphitheater.

Amphitheater.

Picking up the pieces.

Picking up the pieces.

Should have brought my drone, could have got some great video.

Should have brought my drone, could have got some great video.

Horses head.

Horses head.

A lookout and natural high spot.

A lookout and natural high spot.

The whole thing was originally built in 2 decades.

The whole thing was originally built in 2 decades.

Restoration is a huge job.

Restoration is a huge job.

Looking down on a high rent district.

Looking down on a high rent district.

Looking back from the lookout.

Looking back from the lookout.

"A" taking a picture of Maria and Allan

“A” taking a picture of Maria and Allen

This guy, a rate buster, got on his knee and asked her to marry him.  I wasn't quite so romantic.

This guy, a rate buster, got on his knee and asked her to marry him. I wasn’t quite so romantic. When he walked past me I said, “Thanks! Do you realize the kind of heat you put on the rest of us with that crap?”  He said, “I’m sorry.”  For such a thoughtful guy, from my perspective I think he was totally thoughtless.

I got on my knee and asked pretty woman to marry me again.  She said, “No”.  She can be very rude.

I got on my knee and asked pretty woman to marry me again. She said, “No”. She can be very rude, and it reaffirms my wisdom the first time when I didn’t give a her a chance to say no.  My proposal was on a Sunday morning, I was reading the paper and casually told her, “Oh, by the way, you will marry me.”

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Pieces labeled with red numbers, what a jigsaw puzzle.

Pieces labeled with red numbers, what a jigsaw puzzle.

Invaders destroyed, earthquakes destroyed, and  weather and time work to grind it all down.

Invaders destroyed, earthquakes destroyed, and weather and time work to grind it all down.

Cats all over.

Cats all over.

Earthquake damage

Earthquake damage

Heading down.

Heading down.

Pretty woman helping.

Pretty woman helping.

Edie's penchant.

Edie’s penchant.

On the way to start the 3 hour walking tour this ride on looked pretty good..

On the way to start the 3 hour walking tour this ride on looked pretty good..

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Nice houses along the way.

Nice houses along the way.  Close to Acropolis, high rent.

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Museum

Museum

Lots of dogs.

Lots of dogs.

Portions of statues on display.

Portions of statues on display.

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It was getting close to time to meet the Free Walking Tour of Athens (10:00 AM). Many more people had arrived for this tour. The tour guide’s name was Panos, and he spoke excellent English. He took us to (and please excuse the spelling) Hadrien’s Gate;Zeus temple; first Olympic stadium; Zappa building; the royal gardens; the Presidential Guards who were guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; the Orthodox cathedral; Monastriraki Square; Hadrien’s Library; plaka; agora; Mars hill; and so much more. He was very knowledgeable but I went into overload and couldn’t write down fast enough all that he was telling us.

Our guide....

Our guide….

His two helpers.

His two helpers.

Toy train was looking pretty good, but walking we go.

Toy train was looking pretty good, but walking we go.

Turned out to be a 4 hour tour.

Turned out to be a 4 hour tour.

Scooters are big in Athens

Scooters are big in Athens

Marble sidewalks are common here.

Marble sidewalks are common here.

Hadrian's Gate.

Hadrian’s Gate.

Zeus' temple.

Zeus’ temple.

16 Columns left.

16 Columns left.

The fallen on was left so visitors could see how the sections were used.  This one fell in a storm.

The fallen one was left so visitors could see how the sections were used. This one fell in a storm.

The Acropolis looms over the city,

The Acropolis looms over the city,

Hadrian's Gate.

Hadrian’s Gate.

A monument through the gate

A monument through the gate

Nice statue.

Nice statue.

Zeus's temple, well, what's left of it.

Zeus’s temple, well, what’s left of it.

I think a queen palm.

I think a queen palm.

Lots of statues.

Lots of statues.

Stadium.  Exactly 26.2 miles to Marathon from this point.  It was the end of the race.

Stadium. Exactly 26.2 miles to Marathon from this point. It was the end of the race.

Pretty woman with Acropolis in background.

Pretty woman with Acropolis in background.

Grumpy with Acropolis in background.

Grumpy with Acropolis in background.

Government building.

Government building.

Statue with interesting patina.

Statue with interesting patina.

Grateful there wasn't graffiti on this one.

Grateful there wasn’t graffiti on this one.

They must have really cheap paint stores here.

They must have really cheap paint stores here.

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Pretty woman making notes for the blog.

Pretty woman making notes for the blog.

Government building somehow tied to the Zappa family.

Government building somehow tied to the Zappa family.

Inside, through the glass.

Inside, through the glass.

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Orange trees in lots of places

Orange trees in lots of places

Nice arbor.

Nice arbor.  Going to the Royal Gardens.

Shadows of colonnades from palm trees.

Shadows of colonnades from palm trees.

Palms

Palms

Palms

Palms

Outside parliament

Outside parliament

A place where protesters go.

A place where protesters go.

Soldier guarding the tomb of the unknown soldier.

Soldier guarding the tomb of the unknown soldier.

Man in green uniform inspects, wipes sweat from their brow, yells at visitors trying to touch or talk to the guards.

Man in green uniform inspects, wipes sweat from their brow, yells at visitors trying to touch or talk to the guards.

All Greek men have to serve 9 months in the military.  If you are tall and good looking, this is your assignment.  They do 4 one hour shifts every day.

All Greek men have to serve 9 months in the military. If you are tall and good looking, this is your assignment. They do 4 one hour shifts every day.

Relief of a fallen soldier

Relief of a fallen soldier

Tomb of the unknown soldier.

Tomb of the unknown soldier.

 

My favorite part (other than the Acropolis) were the Presidential Guards who were guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They only pick the tall ones for this position. Panos (our guide) was pretty short and said they send all the short ones to the border. The Presidential Guards are trained not to react to anything. If sweat is running down their face, the third man in the green uniform will wipe it away but the Presidential Guard cannot. They also do what Panos called the rooster walk every hour or so – where they kick and stretch out their legs and do a little ceremony. I loved it. Very unusual.

Pretty woman posing

Pretty woman posing

Hoping not to get yelled at

Hoping not to get yelled at…

by this guy.

by this guy.

Done very very slowly.

Done very very slowly.

In slow motion.  It keeps circulation moving.

In slow motion. It keeps circulation moving.

Rooster walk.

Rooster walk.

Movements like Tia chi, slow, deliberate, sharp.

Movements like Tia chi, slow, deliberate, sharp.

Fun.

Fun.

 

 

Grand movements, was entertaining, rooster walking, to keep from fainting.

Grand movements, was entertaining, rooster walking, to keep from fainting.

I like the trains.

I like the trains.

Door handle, too fun.

Door handle, too fun.

Walking through Athens.

Walking through Athens.

Smart car looks just right here with the narrow streets.

Smart car looks just right here with the narrow streets.

A photo for Lex, who works at a Best Western.

A photo for Lex, who works at a Best Western.

Metropolis Church.

Metropolis Church.

Greek Orthodox.

Greek Orthodox.

 

 

I am fascinated by the use of pavers and marble here.

I am fascinated by the use of pavers and marble here.

Very old church.

Very old church.

Tile mosaic inside.  Almost as popular throughout the ages as marble.

Tile mosaic inside. Almost as popular throughout the ages as marble.

Nice lines and curves inside.

Nice lines and curves inside.

Pretty woman taking a rest.

Pretty woman taking a rest.

Priests getting out of the car.

Priests getting out of the car.

A local stopping to kiss the ring.

A local stopping to kiss the ring.

Lots of fur stores here.

Lots of fur stores here.

Our guide again...

Our guide again…

Edie loved the helmets.

Edie loved the helmets.

Headed down the streets.

Headed down the streets.

Pretty woman thinking about shopping.

Pretty woman thinking about shopping.

Graffiti is bad here.  Gives the whole town a feeling of being dirty or unkempt.

Graffiti is bad here. Gives the whole town a feeling of being dirty or unkempt.  We’ve seen it this bad in the US too.

The Times Square of Athens, or so our guide said.

The Times Square of Athens, or so our guide said.

Pit showing original street pavers.

Pit showing original street pavers.

Old and new

Old and new

Athens flea market.

Athens flea market.

Once a Mosque.

Once a Mosque.

Navajo Dream catchers for sale in Athens.

Navajo dream catchers for sale in Athens.

Corinthian capitals and a mix of single monolithic columns and sectional columns.  Original construction and repairs 300 years later.

Corinthian capitals and a mix of single monolithic columns and sectional columns. Original construction and repairs 300 years later.

Hadrian's library, built by Emperor Hadrian circa 132 AD.

Hadrian’s library, built by Emperor Hadrian circa 132 AD.

Lots of shopping and graffiti.

Lots of shopping and graffiti.

Another monument in a neighborhood.

Another monument in a neighborhood.

Looking up at the Acropolis

Looking up at the Acropolis

A very old church.

A very old church.

One of the best preserved because it was used as a christian church and therefore not destroyed.

One of the best preserved because it was used as a Christian church and therefore not destroyed.

I was thinking we were going all the way to the Acropolis again.

I was thinking we were going all the way to the Acropolis again.

Almost there, again...

Almost there, again…

Great view and more than halfway to the acropolis.

Great view and more than halfway to the Acropolis.

From the top of Mars Hill.

From the top of Mars Hill.

At the theater again.

At the theater again.

Marble seats.

Marble seats.

This guy was zipping along on this odd looking little bicycle.

This guy was zipping along on this odd looking little bicycle.

I admired the lines on this home.

I admired the lines on this home.

There was piano music playing.

There was piano music playing.

Typical sidewalk, marble used like we use concrete.

Typical sidewalk, marble used like we use concrete.

During the tour Maria and Allen took off on their own – which left the six of us and we all decided to stick together to get back to the ship. We were debating whether we wanted to take the train again, or take a taxi. We were all pretty tired (and our feet hurt), so we opted to take a taxi (actually two taxis because they could not fit all six of us). We paid twenty Euro per taxi, which we felt was pretty good because we would have ended up paying about four Euro each to take the train and a bus, and would have had to walk. The taxi took us right up to the port entrance. We had to go through security and get back on the ship.

We took a taxi back, in a Skoda, a car  that is new to me.

We took a taxi back, in a Skoda, a car that is new to me.

We were pooped, the ship looked really good.

We were pooped, the ship looked really good.

Duty free store, just before getting back on the ship.

Duty free store, just before getting back on the ship.

Once back on the ship, Michael and I went to our room to drop off the backpack and other things, then we headed up to the Blue Lagoon Restaurant for linner. While there we saw Holly and Roger, from the ride over from the Rome airport. Michael had chicken tenders and a chocolate brownie. I had meat loaf and mashed potatoes and a New York cheesecake. Must say, the food on the ship is excellent (in my humble opinion).

We are now back in our room and don’t want to walk anywhere for the rest of the evening – so no shows tonight. We did get a knock on our door around 7:30 PM and we received some little pastries from the Housekeeping staff. Nice. That was our day. Hope yours was great!

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