Stray cats and dogs
Trip Start Dec 19, 2007
32Trip End Apr 16, 2008
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Where I stayed
We waited 4 days to see the Acropolis since it is free on Sundays. We got up early to beat the crowds, and we are very thankful we did. We basically had the site to ourselves for 2 hours before the masses arrived by tour bus around 11. You can't describe in words how huge the site is. The hill towers over the city. For some reason in the 1920's some genius decided to repair the parthnenon using concrete. Today it is not holding up and it is covered in scaffolding as they rebuild it with marble. Unfortunetly the Greek work ethic is much more laid back than ours and it will likely be this way for years to come. We were told the average greek work day consists of opening up shop around 9 or 10, staying open for a few hours, closing up for siesta between 2 and 5, reopening when they feel like it then closing at some point. This made it difficult on several occasions to try and buy stuff we needed. We went for a walk through the flea market which was an experience in itself. You can buy everything there
The rest of our time in Athens was spent climbing a few of the hills and exploring the non touristy areas. When we went up one of the hills we were followed by a dog for over 45 minutes. Apparently these dogs usually stay by your side and bark at anyone that comes near, but this guy would run off when another dog came close, then would reappear some time later. We attempted to make a trip south to Poseidon's temple but successfully missed the 11:30 bus two days in a row. We could have caught the 1230 one but after a 2 hour trip it didn't seem worth it as the sun goes down around 6ish. We gave up on it and took the metro out to the olympic complex from the 04 summer olympics. The structures were incredible but it was disapointing that these amazing facilities weren't being used. After only 3 and a half years many of the buildings were rusting with broken windows
The people we have met so far in the hostels have been great. There is a good mix of Aussi's, Americans, Canadians, Europeans and a few from South America. A few funny things we have noticed is that when meeting someone outside of the states, they will always say what country they are from, like we do. Almost every American however will say their state or city. I've told a few that I'm from Alberta and the typical response is... "uh, isn't that in Canada?". A few know Alberta and most know Vancouver and Toronto. This has actually upset quite a few of the european travellers we've met since they feel as if they are expected to know their american geography. I think it's fun to answer with Alberta and make them sweat before saying Canada. Most of the people openly admit that they know squat about Canada. Second, when going through university the most used small conversation consists what are you taking?, what year?, what are you gonna do when your done? When travelling the three guaranteed topics are: where are you from? Where have you been? Where are you going? This makes for a very easy way to meet a lot of people.
This was our experience of Greece in a nutshell. It is the smoking capital of europe, and very noticeable. We dealt many times with extremely rude customer service, especially at the post office where the lady threw change back at wendy. Sometimes it may be beneficial to know a few choice words in each country!, but the greek language is all on its own. Next time we come here will definetly be in the summer so we can escape to the islands. Wow this was a long post, the rest shouldn't be this long as we were here for a week. Back to italy we go.