To the top and the shops, 7/12/15

We met Brad & Glenda at breakfast before they headed out to the airport for the flight back to DFW.  They decided to catch the hotel shuttle to the airport at 9:30.  The flight isn’t until 1:00, but with all their problems coming over, they wanted to arrive early and try to get ahead of any trouble.  Glenda had read that the Toronto Airport was struggling with labor issues, and Air Canada had to cancel over 200 flights the day they were trying to get to Barcelona.

We found out when we got home that their hotel “shuttle to the airport” was really a shuttle for 5 minutes over to the nearby train station where they had to catch a train to the airport.  It took them a while to figure it out, but they made it to the airport, and their flights to Toronto and then DFW were problem free.

We really didn’t have much of a plan for the day.  I originally thought we would be on the Hop-On / Hop-Off Bus, but we saw so much of the city on the Segway tour, none of us were that interested in getting on a hot bus for the day.  One site I definitely wanted to visit was Lycabettus Hill, the highest point in Athens.  We took a taxi from the hotel, and were dropped at the funicular (train) at the base of the hill.  We climbed aboard, and made the ride to the top.  The views of the city were great.  It’s one big sea of white buildings spread out to the horizon.  We enjoyed some snacks in a café before coming back down and catching a taxi back to the hotel. 

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It’s been interesting being in Athens in the middle of the financial crisis.  There are lines of people at the ATM’s, and lots of protest signs posted around.  I’ve been talking to the taxi drivers about their opinions.  One of our drivers said today that nobody really believes what their political leaders are telling them, and that somewhere, someone is making a lot of money.

We relaxed in the hotel, enjoying the pool, waiting for the sun to settle a little before we went back out.  We wanted to explore some of the market areas and see what kind of things the Greeks were selling.  We took a taxi to Monistiraki Square where I chased down my “Athens” Starbucks mug and then began looking through all the shops.  Judy and Courtney both found shoes, and I was about to get a pair of leather sandals myself.  The sales staff said we’d get a discount for buying several pair, but when the “big boss” came over to check us out, there was no discount.  I handed him back the sandals and we walked out.  We got to experience some of the Greek anger and stubbornness as we left.  Judy eventually got her sandals, but the “big boss” experienced some of my stubbornness and lost a sale in the process.


Twirling a little fire

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We found a nice restaurant with outdoor seating where we could “people-watch” and eat “greek”.  We enjoyed the evening as it cooled before we headed back to hotel to prepare for our adventures tomorrow. 

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