To Athens! First impressions.

This is not a travelogue per se, but the unedited emails I sent home using a Blackberry to friends and family while I was away.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Today started early at 530. But I went to bed around 10:00 last night, so I had plenty of sleep.

The nun called me a cab to take me to Termini. I took the train to the airport and hoped on my plane. I was worried about flying on an Italian airline flying to Greece. I didn’t think I would know if the plane was going to crash because I don’t speak either language.

Well they spoke English. So that was good.

The flight was nice. I was excited about flying over Eastern Europe. I thought we’d fly over Albania. But I was wrong. We went south down the coast to Sicily, then turned left at the toe of the boot. I got a picture of the boot ‘kicking’ Sicily. Then we fly over Greece.

The airport is new. Just opened for the Olympics.

The metro goes from the airport to downtown Athens in about 45 minutes. Half of it above ground. Nice views of the mountains.

My hotel is about a 5 minute walk from the metro stop.

The hotel is somewhat modern. Wireless internet access in the room. CNN and BBC. And a GREAT view. I have the Acropolis right out my window. It looks really nice now because the hill is all lit up.

I dropped of my bags and headed out for lunch. Chicken Souvlaki. It was yummy. But I thought I was getting a gyro. I got my food terms mixed up. It came with fries which were also good. I need to stop by McDonald’s so I can add Athens to my list.

Walking around I felt like I was in a different country. Something I don’t always feel in Italy. It felt like the middle east, not that I’ve ever been. But tons of shops and people yelling to get you to come in -not rudely. Of course plenty of gypsies. All with a backdrop of the Acropolis which can be seen from almost everywhere.

I did some walking around the neighborhood where we’ll be staying and some shopping.

I went to the Catholic church. I need to set up two Masses. But it was closed. It looks like they are only open for Mass. I’ll try again in the morning at the 730 Mass.

At 5 PM everything closes. Many touristy shops stay open, but most everything else closes. People go home for a disco nap. They come out again at 10:00 for dinner.

I walked for a little longer then came back to the room.

I unpacked. Watched the President on CNN. Took a quick nap and went out to eat. I didn’t make it until 10:00. I ate at 9:30. Greek salad. I ended up at a pretty touristy restaurant. I was disappointed in myself but I wanted to be near the action. But the food was actually great. I knew the Greek salads were different here and I was hoping they would still be as good as I was used to back home. And it was. Rather than crumbled feta they just stick a big chunk on top.

Oh, dogs. You’ll love this mom. Dogs here are like pigeons. They are everywhere. Wild dogs roaming the streets, sleeping on squares, and barking in the night.
I hear they are safe even when running around in packs. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to hug a sleeping dog.

I have a big day planned for tomorrow. I want to go to Mass, climb this huge Acropolis, try to recreate that cool Pope picture, visit a museum, and do some shopping. I’ve already scoped out several things I want to buy for gifts and for us.

So, bedtime now. I’m now 7 hours ahead. So it’s 11 here and 4 where you are.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Love you,


Summary: A summary of the trip.
Day 1: Flight. Pisa picnic. Florence arrival.
Day 2: Fire alarm. Hotel change. No line at the Accademia.
Day 3: Busy day in Florence. Off to Siena.
Day 4: Big day in Siena. Train to Rome.
Day 5: The churches of Rome.
Day 6: Practicing walking.
Day 7: You are on Day 7.
Day 8: Meeting an old friend in Athens. Mass in Greek. A proposition.
Day 9: Piraeus. Final arrangements. To London.

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