Greek drivers!

Athens Travel Blog

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Theatre of Dionysos

Through the night I get a lovely text message from Angela wishing me a Happy Mother's Day.  The itinerary for today is to find the ancient ruins of Epidavros as the guide books say that is has the most impressive preserved classical Greek theatre from ancient times probably in the world. It was built in the 3rd century  Not sure that the photographs will do it true justice either.  Impressive? Certainly is!!  The acoustics are exceptional and a bunch of French cyclists of late middle ages demonstrate this first by one clapping from the centre of the stage area.  A group of them then sing a short verse.  It is said that a coin dropped in the centre can be heard from the highest seat.

The Caryatids

We dutifuly walk through the museum in the complex and view more stone works and statues..  Our northwards journey to Athens takes us along the best bit of coastline yet.  Stop and buy a large bag of oranges from an old bloke along the side of the road. Start seeing signs on the road in English and Greek to "watch out for dangerous bents".  At the time I am negotiating some rather dangerous bends and never ever saw the 'bents'!!  Before we get to the isthmus that connects the little bit of southern Greece to the mainland we stop for lunch at Anemos Beach.  A club sandwich and a plate of nibbles which include octopus, sardines, olives, tomato, cheese and bread with olive oil drizzled all over them, topped off with two cold beers.

 

Drawing closer to Athens we see the huge smog haze hanging over the top.  That is city for you I guess.  Andrew carefully directing me we make it to the outskirts of Athens then spend 2 hours looking for a camping ground out of the three listed on the AA 2006 map.  Finally in desperation we pay a taxi driver to lead us to any one.  On checking in the woman said that lots of UK people seem to have trouble.  On looking at our map she dismisses the other two as non-existant, one for over 14 years now!  It is on a 6 lane highway and the traffic noise is constant but it is on a bus route to the city centre.  There are many cats in this camp and olive, mulberry and orange trees.  K8 sends an SMS wishing me a happy mother's day.

Take the bus into town then take the Metro for 4 stations and step up onto the street to join the thousands visiting the great Acropolis, Parthenon the Caryatids, Temple of Zeuss with Hadrian's Gate ( that builder got around a bit didn't he?).

on the way to Athens - lunch at Anemos Beach
  What can I say about these ancient buildings that hasn't already been said?  Lunch for me was Dolmades while Andrew had the meatballs with rice and sauce and we shared a huge Greek salad.  While passing through the shopping area a shopkeeper seeing my Akubra decked out with collectable pins, dashes out and invites me in his shop.  Thinking I am about to get the hard sell he surprises me by thrusting a handful of Olympic Games Greece pins in my hand and asks if he can swap for some of mine.  I find 4 I am happy to swap as I can replace them and then he shows me a huge frieze of them he has collected.  Married to an Australian woman from Moore Park Sydney and lived in Australia for a while.  we also book a day trip around 3 islands for the next day.

Tuesday we have to get up at 5.

Temple of Zeuss with Hadrian's Gate in fore ground viewed from the Acropolis
30am so I see the sunrise which is not something I am excited about really.  On the 1st bus after 6am, catch Metro and walk up to Hadrian's Arch to wait for the shuttle to pick us up.  A full on coach picks us and many others from their hotels, including an Aussie and heads to the port.  The first island is Poros which faces Galatas on the Peleponnese coast.  Narrow streets with lots of tourist traps. Re-board at 11.45am and are shown straight into lunch.  Next is the island of Hydra in the Sardonic Gulf.  Old mansions dominate the entrance to the port and it is a motor free island.  Donkeys wait to take those who want to go up the hills to the top.  Famous for the buildings being mostly painted white with blue windows eaves and doors.
on the way to Athens
  During the 1821 Greek war of independence this island was used to it's advantage.  This island produces some very fine linens and lace.  Back on board the ferry boat there is a long cruise to arrive at the last island of Aegina at 4.15pm.  Until 6pm we can opt for one of three tours or just do our own thing,  We do the latter.  Pistachio nts are their main crop along with honey.  I almost walk face first into a line of octopus drying in the sun. 

The island boasts medieval and Byzantine monuments.  It is a long day and we return via transport to the camp.  We begin to realise that the Eurovision Song Compitition is about to happen in the next few days and it is to be in Athens!!  No wonder it is so busy.

Island crusie
  During the last few weeks Andrew has chipped a tooth and two others have broken and the caravan park proprietor makes him an appointment with her dentist for tommorow at mid day.  Up early ( 8.15am is early for me) and we gradually pack up the gear.  Find the dentist and I settle in with my book.  The dentist is a lovely woman and I hear her say that she doe not like any of the damage she sees.  She cannot guarrantee that her work will be sufficient to last longer than to get him home where he  might have to have a couple of crowns put in but she will repair as she sees fit.  Three hours later she is done.  She works without an assisitant and has worked in London for many years.  We are happy that the episode didnt happen in Jamaica or somewhere like that.
The Acropolis watching over Athens

At 3 pm we are on the way to the NE coast of Volos and straight into solid traffic jams.  Not far along we hear a tap and know that something has touched the van.  I glare at the silver VW behind and Andrew writes down his Rego number as the traffic takes off for about 200 metres.  Then Andrew gets out, runs round the back of the van and checks it out.  Sees nothing so we are relived.  Forty five mins later we are out of Athens and having a burger as we get back in I see a scrape and a slight depression about rib high and realise too lat that a truck or bus must have squeezed past and don the damage.  We are furious but now we have no idea who did it.  Greek drivers!

 

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Theatre of Dionysos
Theatre of Dionysos
The Caryatids
The Caryatids
on the way to Athens - lunch at An…
on the way to Athens - lunch at A…
Temple of Zeuss with Hadrians Gat…
Temple of Zeuss with Hadrian's Ga…
on the way to Athens
on the way to Athens
Island crusie
Island crusie
The Acropolis watching over Athens
The Acropolis watching over Athens
Aegina
Aegina
Aussie woman and me with the cruis…
Aussie woman and me with the crui…
Aegina
Aegina
Hydras streets
Hydra's streets
Andrew and the cruise boat
Andrew and the cruise boat
Athens
photo by: Johnpro