Setting out...

Athens Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 18 › view all entries
Kerameikos site

I left my house around 10:30 and promptly realized I had forgotten something.  After such an auspicious start, I decided to forget it and go to the train station.  As soon as I walked in the lobby, I almost passed out.  Something was very, very dead, or very, very rotten.  And of course I was 45 minutes early for my train, which meant knitting a lavendar baby blanket and trying not to vomit until the train came.  Merry Christmas!  My trip got off to a bit of a bumpy start, all things considered.  In Penn Station (NYC) I wandered for a good half hour before finding the right train to JFK -- I tried to ask for information when I bought my ticket, and the guy said "We don't give information, you have to look on the schedule."  Malista.  So I looked on the schedule, and it made no sense.

Kerameikos Museum
  Everyone was glowering so I figured I would have to just work it out by myself.  I happened upon the right train the moment that it was leaving, and off to Jamaica Station and JFK from there.  It was quite a hassle, but I still got to my gate a good four hours before take-off (that is, before scheduled take-off). 

Of course we were 45th in line for take-off.  I got a lot of knitting done.  Switched in Geneva.  No offense, did not care for the Geneva attitude.  Everyone in the place looked like they were sucking on a lemon.  However, I managed to doze off for about 20 minutes on the way to Athens.  I could not get rid of those French Swiss people soon enough.

National Historical Museum (Old Parliament Building)
  They were really quite rude.

I met a nice lady who was working in the Athens airport cafe, we talked for about 20 minutes, really nice girl -- maybe if she's there I'll suggest the kids get snacks there.  Way to pay her back lol.  Then train into town, hotel on Athinas (really central) -- the Attalos Hotel that everyone on TT recommends, and I figured I'd give it a shot -- it's actually where we're staying with the kids as well, so all I have to do is switch rooms in an hour or so.  It's a completely adequate hotel; for 45E a night, you could do worse.

As soon as I got to my room, I realized how exhausted I was.  I forced myself to stay awake until 8pm watching some dumb American Christmas movie, and then passed out until 3am, when of course, I was wide awake with jet-lag and it would have been impossible to sleep again.

National Historical Museum (textiles exhibit)
  I did my nails for about an hour to pass the time, and I was out the door of the hotel at 8am.  I wandered around Thisseio for awhile, looking for a cafe that a friend owns but I couldn't find it.  However, it was a nice walk. 

Then I presented myself at the gate of the Kerameikos at 8:30, where I spent a wonderful two hours wandering over the site.  I had last been there in 1999, with CYA, and I had a vague memory of it, and about 5 photos.  However it was clear to me that they had opened up far more of the site, or else I was paying very little attention in '99 (or we just didn't see the whole site, quite possible), but I took about 100 photos, including in the fantastic museum which if you are in Athens and you haven't seen it, you must go!!  This is one of the best local archaeological museums in Athens (the other best one being the Acropolis Museum).

Kerameikos Site (Dexilaos stele)
  Unfortunately there is no catalog, but I got a TAP brochure -- can you believe they are not free anymore??  I had to pay a euro for it.  I collect them so of course I had to get it.  I feel exploited.

After the Kerameikos, it was only 10:30 and I had no obligations, so I walked around Thisseio, Monastiraki, and Plaka, but very few of the shops were open.  I was hungry (I refuse to pay 8E for breakfast at a hotel.  I think it's ridiculous.)  so I went to Ydria (for the memories... Emily and I went there with my mom back in '01, remember?)  I had yogurt with fruit and honey and a cappuccino.  How stereotypical.  After that, I ended up on Nikis so I went into the Eleutheroudakis bookstore and bought Anekserevniti Peloponnisos -- last year I had seen the first edition, but the new second edition is out so I got that.

Kerameikos Site (Funeral stele)
  That book has to be the best thing to happen to (my style of) Greek tourism in 5 years.  Now I just have to get a on/off motorcycle :-D   (You can see me doing that, right?)

I stopped by Hondos Center and got an umbrella and a few necessaries before heading back to Athinas, a bit of email correspondence and then to the hotel (I know, but I was seriously exhausted).  It must have been about 3:00 when I just passed out -- clothes, lights, contacts all on.  I woke up around 9:00pm but did not have the wherewithall to do anything, just close my eyes again.  Finally around midnight I woke up and took out my freaking contact lenses.  Obviously I set myself up for a great night's sleep...  it occurred to me that every time I come here, the jet lag is worse.

Print in the National Historical Museum
  In 99, okay, I woke up at 5am the first morning, but that was it.  In 04 I was a mess but functional.  In 05 I was tired but I made it about 3 days before crashing in Ierapetra.  So this time, I am much worse.  Maybe it's because I didn't get to bed before 6am the four days before I left for Greece.  Maybe it's the fact that Athens isn't sunny these days.  Anyway, I did actually manage to sleep some, and I got up this morning around 7:30 which is not bad.

I spent a lovely morning at the National Historical Museum in Kolokotroni Sq.  How is it possible that it took me six trips to Greece to go there?  I absolutely loved it.  They have a temporary exhibition (closes in March '06) called "From Archaiolatreia to Philellinismos" which is really interesting for yours truly, the consummate archaiolatris-turned-filellinida.

Rosette coffers
  I bought the catalog of the museum (it was only 6E, and I bet none of my photos came out -- they have terrible lighting in the museum -- so the book has good photos) and then came over to good old Ivis Travel to check my email and give the Hotel an hour to fix up my room so I can move my stuff before going to meet Anne at the airport. 

It was drizzling this morning in the city, and a really nice temperature with pleasant winds -- really nice weather for December!  I am trying to decide whether it would be better for us to take the kids from Arxaia Olympia to Nafplio using the Ethniki Odos or the Esoterikous dromous.  I am mainly concerned about me getting carsick, rather than weather or time.  I really don't want to get carsick again.  On the other hand:  Andritsaina, Karytaina, Dimitsana, Stemnitsa, Elliniko, Vytina.

Pompeion
.... that's worth puking a few times.

In a few hours I'm going to meet Anne at the airport; then we'll either hang out there for a few hours or go to Rafina for a coffee if I am convinced the bus schedule will be frequent enough.  If we are not there to meet Katrina et al I would be very sad!  The next time I write in this thing, I will be with the kids and the Orion Junior Classical League Winter in Greece 2005-06 program will have begun!

Xronia polla, polla filia, kalh xronia kai oti epithumeite se olous!!

Happy New Year and best wishes to you all :-)

Love, Xaroula

montecarlostar says:
Congrats on your feature!!
Posted on: Feb 09, 2011
monky says:
Congrats on your featured blog!
Posted on: Feb 09, 2011
SamsTravels says:
Well Done on the the feature! x
Posted on: Feb 09, 2011
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Kerameikos site
Kerameikos site
Kerameikos Museum
Kerameikos Museum
National Historical Museum (Old Pa…
National Historical Museum (Old P…
National Historical Museum (textil…
National Historical Museum (texti…
Kerameikos Site (Dexilaos stele)
Kerameikos Site (Dexilaos stele)
Kerameikos Site (Funeral stele)
Kerameikos Site (Funeral stele)
Print in the National Historical M…
Print in the National Historical …
Rosette coffers
Rosette coffers
Pompeion
Pompeion
Bull tomb
Bull tomb
Street of the Tombs
Street of the Tombs
section of Themistoklean Wall
section of Themistoklean Wall
Athens
photo by: Johnpro