Meteora to Athens

Trip Start Sep 13, 2010
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13
Trip End Sep 30, 2010


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Where I stayed

Flag of Greece  , Attica,
Thursday, September 23, 2010

It was a sunny morning which we didn't have yesterday. Afternoon sun was behind the monasteries when I wanted to photograph them which is not ideal. Mom was secretly hoping that I would wish to go back up there and take a last look around at the monasteries before heading off to Athens.  Of course!   

When I went to check out of the hotel, the owner gave us a gift and wished us well on our journey.  Wow.  That was a very nice surprise.  It was a display plate with a picture of one of the monasteries with its net half way lowered.  I also got very detailed directions on how to get to Athens quickly without getting stuck in city centres.  It worked beautifully.

Back to Meteora, we took some more pictures from new vantage points.  One of these places was on a quieter side road where the tourists don't go.  I pulled over to turn around and was looking to make sure no cars were coming and I was surprised to see a herd of goats coming down the road.  Mom yelled "GOATS!"  I turned off the car, dropped the keys, grabbed the little video camera and had a moments hesitation wondering if it would be safe to get out of the car and then thought "What the heck" and jumped out.  I was able to shoot the group of them trotting by, bells on their necks clanging, followed by a shepherd on a motor bike.  Now I know why the venders are always selling different sizes of bells outside the monastery parking lots.  Somehow the shepherd managed to make the group of goats take a very sharp left hand turn and head toward Agia Trias.  I’ll probably never forget that sight.  I could hear those bells when they were far away.

Have I mentioned there are cats all over the place in Greece?  Everywhere you look, a cat is looking back.  I love cats but Mom loves them more.  She walks up to every cat.  At Delphi after I had given the clerk our tickets for entry and I went in to the ancient site, I turned around and couldn't find Mom.  She was outside cooing over a little injured kitten.  She would have taken that one home if she found it in Canada.  When cats join us for supper or breakfast, she wants to feed them and then we are in trouble because a whole bunch of cats show up and start to get more daring about getting more food.  I am sure that if we lived in Greece she would be the "Cat Lady" of the neighbourhood. 

Later on, I got out of the car to walk part way up a hill to take my last picture of the day.  There was a couple (probably in their 50s) walking down the road.  I said HI and we got to chatting.  They were from Maryland and had not planned their holiday much in advance.  They landed in Crete and met up with a couple of their kids on another island and were making their way around by bus.  They were envious of our car and freedom to go wherever we liked but said that I must be courageous to rent a car and drive around here.  They definitely did not like relying on the bus for transportation.  Then when I told them we are from Canada the gentleman said, “Smart to rent a car and smart to live in Canada!”   Mom asked if they knew of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. and they said yes and we talked about our common background having lived in Maryland until I was 10 years old when we moved to Canada.  They asked if they were on the right road to Roussanou and I drove them the rest of the short way down to the entrance.

On the way out I picked up some Gouda cheese at a mini market, we already had fruit from the hotel, so we just needed some bread which the nice lady at the market didn’t have.  She asked if I spoke Dutch? No. French? Petite… and so in French she explained how I can find a bakery.  We picked up the bread and were off.

Our drive to Athens went without a hitch.  We avoided the city centres, crossed the plain and once we reached the mountains we found a spot to pull over and eat our lunch with a view. 

When we originally picked up our car, we agreed to drop it off at gate 2 of the departures deck at the airport.  I guess they don’t really have a Thrifty rental spot for drop offs.  So when we were about an hour out of Athens and it was clear that I was going to be very early, I pulled over and called the car rental company to change the drop off time.  All went smoothly and we were off to the subway.  I found the subway confusing in that it wasn’t clear which line I should take.  When I bought the ticket I asked which platform I should go down to and he pointed.  So we followed, but when we got down there, there were 2 directions of trains.  One was a blue line and one was yellow, but there was no indication which side was which.  There was 1 train waiting with the doors open so I walked up to the door and asked the people inside if this was the blue line.  Fortunately, they spoke English and said Yes!  So we quickly jumped on with our luggage.  This was a group of very friendly Australians that were just finishing up a 3 week trip to Greece.  They explained the subway system a bit and realized we had to switch trains at the same stop so they said they would look out for us.  Nice.  They were just returning from Santorini where they had rented a car and had a little accident with a pole resulting in a broken tail light and extra fees!  They did not like Athens very much.  It is a huge city.  It took us 45 minutes to get to the subway stop close to our hotel.

After getting off we ended up dragging our luggage around the Plaka a bit after some bad advice for directions until we gradually found our way.  From the little we have seen of the area it looks like it is going to be a lot of fun to walk around tomorrow.  I am so stupid.  I forgot we had a map from the travel agent indicating where the hotel was.  I finally remembered the map and pulled it out at about the same time a nice gentleman asked me which hotel I was looking for and pointed the way. 

The hotel is very nice and more North American than any of the other places we have been to.  There are face cloths, and Kleenex in the bathroom and very indifferent staff.  We have ordered room service for supper and feel relieved to just rest, take a nice bath, read, and relax.  We can see the Parthenon lit up above us outside our terrace so we know we have another climb tomorrow but that will be fun too.

That’s it for now.
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Comments

Nancy Dillon on

Wow ... the pictures are so AWESOME! Danny and I enjoy reading your news. Give our love to Marlene.

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