Long time no post, but I am ready to tell you all about my adventures in Greece. Let us begin with arriving at the airport. It was a dark and cold 9:30 pm. We quickly made our way into the warmth of the airport terminal. The bathroom was our first stop and sadly that is where the trouble began. My poor friend got locked into the bathroom and took a few minutes to figure out an escape! I hate to admit it but I was laughing and shaking my head. From the bathrooms, we made our way to the metro or what we thought was the metro. We found the trains. So, we decided to take the train into the city and then metro to our first destination.
Lost is an under-statement. I have to say that Greek life did not prepare me for actual Greek. Trying to read the signs and figure out where to go was a headache. Unfortunately for us, only one person's phone was working. Everyone else had no service. Her phone was also dead, but thank you to another that she had a portable charger. We eventually figured it out, but we waited in the cold for an hour for the train. After getting off the train, we finally located the metro. It went a little more smoothly than the trains. We made it to our desired metro stop and from there we walked to a hotel to retrieve our Airbnb keys. Come to find out, our Airbnb was another 40 minutes away. We went back to the metro to figure out our onward journey. I do not know how long it took us, but it took a long time to decipher the words and actually get on a metro. We walked about 6 minutes to the airbnb after getting off the metro.
We made it into the Airbnb apartment building with the key given and preceded to look for the other key that lets us into the apartment. "Enter the building. Walk down the hallway. On the right there will be a box with a key." We enter, walk down the hallway, and there is no box.
We look over every square inch of the foyer. We open everything and empty things and there is no place left untouched. So, we call the hotel to ask them about the key. We explained that there was no box, but only a basket. He said yes the basket. We said no; there is no key. He said go through the white door with the stairs. There was no white door. At this point, we are tired, hungry, and cold so we pop a squat on the floor of the hallway where we can try to figure out what to do.
The hotel man says he will call us back. He doesn't. We call again. Same thing said back and forth. This continues for a few hours. At this point, I am shivering so much that my teeth are chattering. Luckily, two girls walked down the block and got pizza to bring back. We were able to eat, but we still were cold and tired. The guy that owned the Airbnb was not answering. The hotel guy finally told us to come back to the hotel at 2 am. The metro is closed so we had to call a taxi. Bless this driver because he asked how we were and then complained with us. He asked us all to speak to hear our different accents and he was so kind.
Now we are back to the hotel, the hotel man offered us 3 rooms for free for the night. We divided up the 5 of us into rooms. it was about 3 am now. I had a room to myself. First thing I did was take a scolding hot shower. I mean hot hot hot. I was freezing and I stayed in that shower until I could feel my limbs again. Funny thing about that...the night only got worse.
I step out of the bathroom into water. the shower is glass and it seeped through the glass into the bedroom so then I spent the next 30 minutes cleaning up water. The other girls had the same problem as me. It was icing on the cake.
Finally, I go to bed, but my brain is wired. I do not fall asleep until almost 5 am. Us girls wake up at 10 am to start the day and figure out what to do next.
We check out of the hotel, and we get in touch with the landlord. First off...pissed is an under-statement as well. The key was OUTSIDE of the building in a lock box on the LEFT and we never would have figured it out without a code. THEY NEVER GAVE US A CODE. OR EVEN TOLD US CORRECT DIRECTIONS. After we figure out the real way to get in; we go to the apartment and find it freezing. There was no heat. Also, side note, we told the landlord that we wanted a refund for the first night of our stay, we wanted compensation for the taxi we took and he agreed. We were all very frustrated, but we did not want it to spoil our time in the city or our experience. It was stressful, but a learning experience and a welcome to International travel.
Lunch was the next step for us. We went to "Meerkat Cocktail Safari" that was close to the Airbnb. The woman working was one of the kindest I've ever met. I ordered Tartiflette; it was absolutely delicious. It is potatoes, cheese, bacon, and onions.
After lunch, we walked a short distance to the acropolis. It was stunning there. The view of the city, the ruins, the realization that it was real. I have read about these places or seen pictures, but to see it in person is mind-blowing. It actually exists and is not only mythology.
You can see the Theater of Dionysus, the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and a temple.
After climbing down from the acropolis, we caught a bus for a hop on hop off tour that we bought tickets for before our trip. It was valid for two days and a great deal. We went to the temple of Zeus. It was kind of underwhelming after being at the acropolis.
Then we bused to a park and got lucky enough to see a changing of the guard at a tomb, I don't know who's tomb because it was in Greek.
Next stop, dinner. We were hungry and cold. We found a cute place near the "Old City"
I decided to try something authentic so I got pork gyros. It was beyond delicious. For dessert, I tried my friend's baklava, but ordered the apple pie that the sweetest and funniest waitress recommended. She was amazing. Everyone we encountered when we ate were. The Baklava was soooooo good. It reminded me of pecan pie. The apple pie was great. I probably ate way to much.
Due to the stress of the night before and the lack of sleep, as a group we decided to call it a night. I got back to the airbnb, crawled into bed, and stayed there...it was 9 pm maybe. I was going to shower, but there was no hot water and I was already too cold to deal with that.
We woke up pretty early though and caught the bus to the coast. It was a warmer day and sitting in the sun by the Mediterranean was a perfect relaxing start to Sunday.
We also ate at a cute place where I had the best chicken and waffles of my entire life. The chicken was marinated in the maple syrup, but salty enough that it was not overly sweet.
I will dream about those waffles.
Anyways, we eventually found our way back to "Old City" for shopping. I got some really cool souvenirs! I won't tell you what I got because some people reading will be getting it as a gift and I want it to be a surprise! After a couple hours of shopping, we went back to the airport. We hungrily scarfed down burger king like we hadn't eaten in days. Then we waited to board. Our departure was 10:10 pm. I slept on the chairs while waiting because we got to the airport at 7 pm.
The perfect ending to the perfect beginning. I sat next to a dude that kept elbowing me accidentally. He got quite a few "you just woke me up glares" and he avoided eye contact. We ran into some turbulence. I don't mind flying but feeling the plane drop a little after shaking is not fun for the stomach. Luckily, it did not last long.
I will not lie. I was beyond happy to be back in Spain. Athens was gorgeous, but I was tired and frankly over it. We took a bus part of the way home and then to save an hour longer commute at 2 am in the morning, we got a taxi the rest of the way. I proceeded to crash in my bed. I hope you enjoyed the craziness of my Athens experience. Hopefully, it was a one time thing. Ciao