09 July 2007

More in Athens

The attempt at choking down the battery acid lemonade failed. It was a bitter end to a lovely time at the Acropolis. We still had the better part of the day in Athens, and not a whole lot of ideas of what to do. In times like these, it’s good to have guide books. The guide pamphlet provided by the ship suggested several things. The closest of those things to the Acropolis is Plaka (Πλάκα).

Plaka is an historical neighborhood full of museums and narrow streets. We decided to walk through it and find out where the road would take us. Plaka might have been a cute stroll at one point in time but now it’s full of shops and lewd playing cards, lewd coasters, and lewd calendars. And when I say "lewd," I mean I could not even take a picture of them. Basically, anything two men and a woman can do together was depicted on street corners around town. Oh my.

We walked through the Plaka and out on to a busy street. Apparently that was Filellinon Street, but the street sign looked nothing like it. We stopped at the Hard Rock so Ryan could by shirts for he and Lucy. While he was at the counter, Jesse and I consulted our guide pamphlet and decided to go to the Agora (αγορά) of Athens.

Generally speaking, an agora was a a common place for the people in the city. I guess they traded there and held forums and worshiped and what not. The Agora of Athens (naturally) is the most well known agora of them all. It was the center of government in the 6th Century BC and even included housing. It's where the orators spoke and where temples were built. It's historically overwhelming. And there's a great view of the Acropolis from there as well.

The thing that constantly amazed me throughout the trip was the proximity of subways to ancient sites. Two blocks from the agora, was the train station. Jesse and I strolled in, took our time buying tickets, and even took a picture. That's our train arriving. There was a slight hustle down the stairs and then a ride back to Piraeus. After all that walking we were hoping to be able to sit. And we were not disappointed.

Once we got back, we had planned to take a cab back to the ship. But as we left the train station, we could almost see the ship. We decided instead to walk along the port and back to the ship. We had been gone for about 7 hours, just walking around (mostly ancient) Athens. It was hot and it wasn't until we were walking back to the ship that we got extremely hungry.

One the way back to the ship, we took a lot of pictures of cute cars, things written in Greek, a Starbucks, and our ship. We thought to go into that Starbucks, but I doubt we could have read the menu and I don't know if "macchiato" translates the same in Greek. Anyway, we were about to eat.

We tried to eat light, because we were only four hours from dinner. I'm not sure how one can eat light at a buffet though. After we ate, we wrote out postcards. I mailed them and showered. Jesse went to the pool, went to the room, and fell asleep. You can't say he didn't get enough rest on this trip.

I went to dinner alone, but with our Irish friends. I had some delicious Sole and potatoes for dinner. Look at that portion size. They serve you well on the ship. It's how you serve yourself that gets you in trouble.

During dinner, the waiters, head waiters, and assistant waiters had some sort of ceremony. I don't remember exactly what they called it, but we were about to go to Italy, so they did sing "O Sole Mio." It was cute.

I wasn't tired after dinner, so I wandered into the "Anchors Aweigh" Lounge. There was a twisting dance contest going on. I ran into our Irish friends and had a drink with them. At the end of the twisting competition (won by Italians), the band cleared the floor by playing "Achey, Breaky, Heart." Apparently it was not an international favorite. We left soon after and went to the Salsa competition upstairs. That was more fun to watch, but I was starting to feel sick. So I went to bed. But apparently the damage was already done.

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