Day 3:May 8, 2008 - Last Word from Athens
Last night after we finished writing, we went back out to try to find some Athens' nightlife and failed.We really didn't know where to look and plus it was a Wednesday so we didn't find anything going on.We tried to go to a "posh" area called Kolonaki where we read was a good place to watch people "promenading" up and down the streets, but I guess those people weren't there.We did get to take a picture of the Parliament Building, which we forgot to take earlier, and we found a shop called the Danny Shop, so of course Danny had to get a picture there.
After that, we strolled around the central area that we had become pretty familiar with but almost everything was closed.We finally decided just to take the metro back to the hostel and call it an early night again…as we passed the Roman Agora which we had walked past about 100 times our dear navigator, Danny, aka "Mr. Compass" as I now call him thought we had to walk ALL the way to the OTHER side of the Acropolis when we were actually about 2 blocks from the station.He claims he actually knew that and was just testing me but…luckily I did not inherit my mother's sense of direction and we found the station.
Shortly after we got back, one of our Australian roommates, Sergio, came back too and we started talking about our trips.He said that most Australians go traveling for A LONG time when they go because flights are so expensive.He will be traveling for a year and our other roommate, Belinda, will be traveling and working for ayear and a half.Sergio is deferring a year from college to see museums and "become inspired."He says that after traveling around Europe for how long he has, it is starting to seem all the same - you find the museums, main attractions, etc and move on.Because of this, he decided to join a program where he will be teaching Buddhist monks and children English and they will teach him some aspects of Buddhism for three months in Asia.They left this morning to go to Mykonos, Greece, which will the be the second island we will go to.
This morning, we got up and found out we did not have to be in Piraeus as early as we thought, so we decided to head to the 2004 Olympic Facility which is about 20 minutes by train in the opposite direction.Our hostel hostess was very nice and let us leave our luggage which was very lucky because it would have been a huge hassle to haul it around.We also set out to find a post office which ended up being an excursion in itself.One thing we have noticed about Athens is that in order to cross the street you pretty much have to fend for your life.The Australians told us that in Germany everything abides by the laws and there is absolutely no jaywalking.In Athens, there is pretty much ONLY jaywalking and even if you do cross at a crosswalk that doesn't mean you are safe.The signs change from "walk" to "don't walk" pretty much without any warning and sometimes motorcycles chose to drive even when it says you can walk.Actually, there is no walking…you have to run.
The Olympic Facility was really cool because it was altogether in one area.There was a indoor bike track, at least 3 pools, two indoor facilities, the main stadium and some other buildings on the other side of the train station.It was also very modern and a great contrast to the 1896 Stadium we saw yesterday.We got A LOT of pictures of these modern arches that lined the entrance.Surprisingly there was almost no one there at all and they did not keep up the landscaping very well at all or fill the fountains.At that rate, the modern facilities will pretty much look worse than the old ones in a few years!We decided that maybe in 2000 years they will take care of it since they seemed to care more for the buildings like the Parthenon than they did for the modern architecture.
After the stadium, we came back to get lunch at a small restaurant near the hostel that the Australians loved.For a good reason too - we got "GIANT" pitas for 3.50 euro.And when they said giant, they weren't kidding!They were really good.We are now back at the hostel picking up our luggage and getting ready to head out..Athens has been nice but we are ready for a change.We're off to the islands for the next 3 days and then to school (yuck!).We won't have Internet on the cruise but we'll post updates when we get to France.