We arrived at the marina in Athens around 4:30 pm; everyone helped get the boat in order as we were all anxious to see the sights of this city steeped in history. We were moored Med style to the wall and it was quite high, so Dan fashioned a gang plank from our fender board; it looked a little dodgy being only 8 inches wide but it worked just fine.
The marina gave us some pointers on the trolley system and soon we were off to the city center. Our first stop was the Temple of Zeus; the tall marble pillars were impressive, especially with the Acropolis in the background
The Temple of Zeus
We took some photos and headed up the hill to what is to be one of the highlights of the trip, the famous Acropolis; just thinking that you might be walking in the footsteps of Socrates and Plato gave a feeling of reverence. We passed the Theater of Dionysos, “the most famous theater in the world” the woman working there said.
Theatre of Dionysos
We walked up the great marble steps, their surfaces deeply worn from centuries of foot traffic, all leading up to the towering heights of the world famous site.
Through the tall marble entrance, you could imagine emperors and kings passing before us throughout the millennia; huge doors made of thick marble slabs stood open leading into the courtyard area with the Parthenon looming large.
Being it was late in the day they cruise ship crowds had left, and I was surprised how few people were there were inside; it did make taking photos easy and gave more of a feeling of how immense it is. Looking over the side of the hill you could see the sprawl of Athens, as the city went on for miles.
After we had satisfied ourselves that we had seen everything the next item on the agenda was dinner. We headed for the Platko district, an area filled with shops and restaurants and walked until we found one the suited our fancy. The streets were crowded with tourists and locals and we watched the people pass by as we ate our delicious meal.
Once back at the marina, everyone else went to bed, but I was determined to get some internet work done and headed for the bar just at the end of the pontoon. I managed to get my photos uploaded to photobucket, but the wifi started to give me fits as I tried to post my reports; rather than aggrevate myself further I shut her down and sat there enjoying a cigar and glass of ouzo until about 1:30 am.
Athens Day 2
I was up early and grabbed a shower at the marina facilities before heading out for the day. I took the trolley towards the city center and got off part way for breakfast at a small café. When planning the trip I had listed the sites I wanted to see most and remaining on the list was the Athenian Agora. The major sites are located within easy walking distance of each other so I got off across the parliament building and followed the map in my guide book, Athens Top 10.
Yesterday we had purchased a ticket package that includes entry to the Acropolis and seven other sites of your choice, including many of the famous museums. I passed the Library of Hadrain on the way and since this was one of the optional sites I went in for some photos. It’s mainly just an assortment of ruins, but was worth the 20 minutes or so that I spent there.
I finally got to the Agora and started to find my way around. They have some statues on display, many just the heads or torsos, very few intact but interesting to look at none the less.
There is an old Byzantine church on site so I went in and said a prayer; I’m gonna be one religious SOB by the time this trip is over. The grounds are very large and there are all sorts of monuments and ruins behind every bush. I walked up the steps to the Temple of Hephaistos, the best preserved temple of ancient Greece; large sections of the roof are still intact, very impressive considering it was built around 450 BC.
Finally, having seen enough old ruins to last until we get to Pompeii, I headed for the nearest tavern with ice cold beer. My weary feet needed the rest and it felt good to sit in the shade and enjoy a little people watching while I quenched my thirst.
I decided to explore a little and headed for the area called the flea market on the map; there were shops selling souvenirs and people all about. I rested on a short wall, again watching the world go by as I drank a large bottle of water.
I noticed a spot called the Central Market, and being a market type guy I made my way in that direction, the signs getting easier to follow all the time. My efforts were rewarded as I soon found myself in the best meat market I have ever been in, short of Melanies Bar outside of buffalo in the 70’s, where I had my mud wrestling career, but I digress.
It was an amazing sight with whole and half lambs hanging in front of the many stalls; cuts of every type of meat were offered at ridiculously low prices. They had whole rabbits, baskets of lambs heads, ofal, hoofs, you name it; the only thing I didn’t see were pigs tails, must have sold out early.
Next to the meat market was the fish market, and again the amount and variety of fish, shell fish, and mollusks on display was unbelievable.
It wasn’t long before the cook in me took hold, so I called Dan and asked if the oven on board could handle roasting a leg of lamb; as soon as I heard him say yes, I replied “great” and hung up. I made my way from stand to stand, limiting my choices as I would have to schlep it all back to the boat on the trolley. By the time I left I had a leg of lamb, pork chops, sausages and some calf’s tripe. I have left with a wheelbarrow full of meat and still not have gotten all I wanted.
Lugging my sacks I walked back to the trolley stop and figured out which one I needed to get on then rode back to the marina. Once I got off I stopped and picked up the finest bottle of wine you could get for under 8 Euros at a Sunoco station. Dan was excited to see all the goodies I had brought and soon most went in the freezer, except for the lamb which will be tomorrow nights meal.
We then got the boat ready and cast off, heading for a little bay that will position us well for our transit of the Corinth Canal in the morning as we continue our way westward on our Grand Tour.