Athens and Eurovision

Trip Start Feb 21, 2006
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Trip End Jul 20, 2006


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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

G'Day,

Arrived in Athens after a pretty bad overnight ferry, they seem to lack the understanding that when people want to sleep they would mind the lights to be dimmed a little and the Air Conditioning to be turned off Freezing... But it was all good by the time I arrived at my Hostel at the bright early hour of 6 am, I had a couch and free breakfast. I could tell already that the Hostel was going to be awesome, its one of the top 10 in the world. Called Athens Backpackers, definitely the only place to stay in Athens and actually makes the place bearable.

Well Athens is not that bad, just a bit of a hole, and one night was more than enough. In 1 day you can go around a see all the sights, in fact in my first day I spent the morning walking around with a girl I had met at the hostel and in 2 and half hours we had walked past everything...

I ended up meeting up with Krista and we played backgammon for a couple of hours in this cool little cafe next to the Acropolis, is was great fun. The place was filled with Greeks, there was heaps of old guys playing Chess and Backgammon, such a relaxing lifestyle.

Ended up meeting Ami briefly for dinner, her hostel (Different one to mine) was in the worst part of town, she had the whole local prostitute community working 2 doors down. Lesson learnt never scrimp on accommodation 7 euros was the difference between a great time and a shit one. Anyways...

After dinner I headed back to my Hostel and the roof bar looking over the Acropolis, its was awesome. Great bunch of people, including 3 guys from Frankston and a couple of girls who went to Melbourne Uni. Its amazing that when you are traveling around that you tend to meet people you have met before and who have traveled with people you have met other places. There was about 4 or 5 occurrences of this that night as we were chatting. We were drinking there to about 11 when the guy who runs the bar said that we should go and check out the Eurovision Song Contest which was about half way though.

So we all jumped up and headed over to where the music was coming from, there was a huge open air stage and about 5,000 people all dancing around on the grass in front of the stage..It was going off!! As we didn't have tickets..we all just jumped the gates and headed strait for the stage..so much for high security...after having a ball and dancing around for about an hour, someone suggest we should try and get on stage...hell why not we didn't even have tickets so we headed strait to the stage and just jumped up there...Again no security...It was a blast everybody was having a great time, we ended up pulling all these other people on stage with us until there was a huge group up there...

It was all good until one of the Greek guys we were dancing with asked where we were from and we said Australia, America, Argentina and Canada. Whereupon he started hurling abuse at us for being f'ing arseholes..that was a strange moment..we all looked at each other and couldn't believe it... Ann and Alex later told me about the protest they had been to a few days before..you know how you see those protest on TV with heaps of riot police, tear gas and water cannons..Yeah..they happen in Europe and well we're in Europe. The girls went along thinking it would be a peacefully protest against the war in Iraq, but when they turned up there was all the banners that said Fck America and Aussie, Raciest Pig Bush ..they kinda freaked when the riot police arrived and they were covered in Tear Gas..They promptly told anyone who asked that they were from Iceland, thus couldn't speak English or Greek and quickly left. I didn't realise there was so much hatred among the student group against Australians...But anyway, we quickly left as some of the girls, especially the American ones, where really upset by the Greek guy.. We found a bar and all sat down for another couple of drinks and completely forgot about the Greek dude. Great bunch of people..

The one highlight of the sightseeing in Rome had absolutely nothing to do with the history or architecture. At the Acropolis they are particular careful with allowing what sorts of photos are taken, they don't want anything that may be offensive to the Parthenon or the Greeks. There were all these old men and ladies watching over everything, they had whistles, and every time they would see someone who is doing something inappropriate they would blow their whistles and get them to stop what they were doing. Well it happened a few times, I thought it was hilarious so I sat on the wall at the edge of the Acropolis to take it all in and watch the guys with whistles. Then one of the funniest things I have ever seen happened... It was like the Benny Hill show... There was a girl there, think involved in the Eurovision contest, she was Swedish as she was carrying the flag. She went to have a photo taken with her and the flag and the Parthenon. This must of been highly inappropriate because as soon as she put the flag up in the air, 6 old men and ladies started frantically blowing their whistles and energetically (for old people) running towards the girl. She had no idea was was going on, and the sight of 6 people running at her blowing whistles, freaked her out. So she ran as well. It was Benny Hill all over again..I had the music going in my head as it was all happening. So she started running with the flag waving everywhere, all over the Acropolis with everyone watching,,went on for about 2 minutes..i was in tears by the end...Sitting on one of the 7 wonders of the world watching a Benny Hill show...Priceless....

After that highlight of the day it was too Berlin and Central Europe for me!

Mal
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