June 13-16, 1970, Athens: Our Three Day Stay in Athens
Upon arriving at our hotel called Omiros we both had a shower. Very strange shower with a handheld nozzle. I have never seen something that before. Is this common in Greece? We found a nearby restaurant and Mom had a souvlaki which is meat on a skewer which I think they call “souvlaki” and it was very tasty. I had fish. After paying the bill we headed back to our hotel and just in time as I was so exhausted I began to have flashbacks to some of the questions on my examinations I had just completed. I rather thought I was in Egypt instead of Greece. I think we were so tired we felt like crawling somewhere in the street and sleep. Unfortunately we got lost. Two exhausted travellers and being unable to understand the Greek alphabet compounded the feeling of being lost. After three horrible hours we found a taxi and ended up at the Omiros and collapsed in sheer exhaustion. I have never seen a place like Athens. When flying over here I knew we were in for an adventure but already the pieces of what that adventure are fitting in.
The next morning we were awoken by some arguing Athenians down on the street below and the noisy three wheeled mini trucks called Zanussi’s. We went downstairs for a breakfast. What no bacon, eggs and toast! Bread and jam and something called yogurt? Speaking of yogurt there is a yogurt bar in front of the hotel and fresh yogurt is delivered every morning. The customers eat it on tables outside. These Greeks must be hungry to start the day. Hopefully we’ll encounter a real breakfast soon. I am going to starve! We discovered a flea market where I bought a letter opener for 35 drachmas which is a little over a Canadian dollar and Mom bought a belt which she bargained down the vendor to half price. We found a restaurant and ate some grilled meat. Is this a Greek hamburger? But there is no bun? The French fries were delicious but no ketchup. Everything here is so different than in Canada.
We returned home and had a siesta after lunch for a few hours. Greeks have siestas just like Mexicans! All shops and businesses are closed and open up late in the afternoon. It gets so hot in the afternoon I can see why! This time it was supper down the street and we did not get lost!
The next day after breakfast we headed to a beach called Astir which was near the airport and you could see the planes overhead coming in to land. We took the bus to the beach and what a rude mob pushing and shoving to get on the bus except if there is a priest they let him go in first and they also give up their seats in a standing room only bus to a priest. I find it strange Greek grandmothers can be so aggressive!
The next day it was to the beach again and a bit of a sunburn. Mom believes in the healing power of the sun and salt water and she warned me about this hot Greek sun. As a former nurse I think she knows what she is talking about. This was my first time in the ocean and when I opened my eyes they stung and if you get water in your mouth it tastes awful. I am used to swimming in lakes and it is going to take time to get used to! Yes and don’t worry we saw the Acropolis.
We packed up and went to Piraeus which is Athens’s port and boarded the TMVK Knossos for our next destination being Rhodes!