We woke up on Wednesday expecting to be docked into the Port of Piraeus, but we were heading out of port leaning to one side at quite an acute angle. Then the Captain made an announcement that the wind was too strong to be able to get into port and that we would stay out until the wind subsided. We eventually docked at 11.00am but still had to use two tugs and our asipod motors to keep the ship against the side of the dock. In fact we found out later that one of the tie ropes had broken and that one of the gangways blew over.
Anyway we managed to get off the ship onto our tour bus for our guided tour of the Acropolis and the city of Athens.
Within ten minutes there it was, dominating the Athenian landscape, the Acropolis, unsurpassed in its beauty, architectural splendour and historic importance. We walked up to the entrance of the Acropolis, through the Propylea, which extends 150 ft across the western front of the Acropolis. Adjoining the entrance is the Temple of Athena Nike, we carried on walking up, battling against the strong wind, anoraks zipped up, and then at the highest part of the hill, the Acropolis's crowning glory, the Parthenon. Despite a lot of it being covered in scaffolding, we were still able to enjoy and imagine how wonderful this temple must have been, built and decorated in splendid colour in dedication to the Virgin Athena.
Not only did we learn more and more about Ancient Greece, but also lots of little trivia about Greece today, money problems aside. Did you know there is said to be 15 olive trees for every person in the whole of Greece?!?!?
Our visit to Athens ended with free time exploring the Plaka district, which is the old town, and then rejoining our coach for a drive past a wealth of important sites.
The wind continued to give us problems as we had to delay sailing away until after the sun had set and then only with the aid of three tugs. The following morning our Captain informed us that, in addition to our delayed departure from Piraeus, the winds were slowing us down so that we would not reach Civitavecchia in time for excursions to Rome. The decision therefore had been made to get to Civitavecchia a day late, ie Saturday, and cut out our call to Monte Carlo.