The Birthplace of the Olympic Games

Trip Start Nov 27, 2012
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Trip End May 08, 2013


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Where I stayed
Hotel Phiilippos

Flag of Greece  , Attica,
Monday, February 25, 2013

We arrived in Athens just after 5 and were wondering what customs was going to be like. Basically, as we expected, they looked at our passport, saw it said Canada and stamped it without a single question.  Big shock and nice life Qatar Airways.  We quickly grabbed my bag and jumped in a cab.  The drive in was spectacular to say the least.  As the clouds were settling on the mountains beyond the city of Athens to the West, the sun was setting over the mountains to the East. The layout of the city looked so charming from afar and the excitement in me was forcing me to smile.  A 40 Euro cab ride in was a rookie mistake as the train would have been so much cheaper, but seeing the city from the road was worth the money.  We got to Hotel Philippos and were pleasantly surprised.  I has smaller rooms, which can be expected in Europe, but it is really clean and the location absolutely can not be beat.  We are literally a 5 minute walk from all of the most important things to see.  Our hotel is located right beside the Akropolis Museum, we can walk out our hotel and see the amazing Akropolis down the street up on the cliff.  We are a 5 minute walk from the Temple of Zeus, and within 20 minutes walking to all the main attractions and historically significant spots.  My first impression of Greece is that of complete charm.  Although nothing is surprising given what I have seen in movies, but everytime I looked around I felt as though I was on a Hollywood set.   After checking in we took some loooooooong showers, cleaning off from two days of sitting on planes.  Then we got dressed and walked to the lively streets just north of Akropolis.  We were walking in awe of seeing something that was shockingly similar because of Hollywood, but still so surreal. Each of the restaurant owners plead with you to enter their restaurants, which all look amazing, and being so used to the pressure sales from Asia, it just rolls off our backs and we carry on.  We are then approached by an older man on the street who tells us he has a bar and we decide to follow him for a drink.  We walk in through smoked glass to a very small bar with an Asian woman behind the counter and a Greek girl who appears to be a student sitting at a table.  We sit down and I order a beer... assuming the cost of drinks is about par with the other restaurants that we have looked at the menus.  Cory looks at a menu because he doesn't feel like alcohol and decides he doesn't want anything.  Then the student girl asks if she can sit and have a drink with us at the bar.  Obviously we accept in hopes of learning about Athens and where to go, etc.  Basically it is standard for us to meet a local wherever we go to find out more about the lay of the land.  She then asks if I want to sit at the table instead of the bar, which obviously is not a big deal so sure.  We sit down and she is asking me about my life and travels and I am telling her enough, but not too much because you never know a person's angle.  She talks about how she was in University and that she had dropped out to travel.  This continues for maybe 5 minutes and she basically slammed the cocktail that she ordered.  Then I start asking about where to go and what to see and she replies... "will you buy me another drink".  I had no idea I bought here the first one, but not a big deal, at max it should be about $10.  So I say no, because what is the point of buying some random drinks... I never knew I was buying the first one lol.  She then persists with "just one more, you get a beer... one more... there is no harm in another".  I tell her no, look behind me and Cory is not there.  So I ask the Asian lady where he went and she said for a smoke.  I look both ways out the door and don't see him anywhere.  So I told them both to give me the bill because I was going to leave and find my friend.  The give me the bill and it is 30 Euro!!! I start laughing and say I am not paying that much.  I only had 15 Euro on me, it said that my beer was 10 and the freeloader's cocktail was 15.  I tell them I will only pay 15.  They argue with me and finally I set 15 Euro on the bar, say I'm sorry but this is all I am paying.  They can tell I don't care to negotiate and say bye and ask me to come back later.  For those of you who cant read between the lines... the place was a whore house.  I talked to a cab driver later who told me that if you buy the girl in those places 3 drinks they will go down on you.  Sorry for the R rated story but this was such a bizarre experience I had to share it.  I then wandered around looking for Wilke for a few hours, had a beer with a shop owner and some food in his shop then I jumped in a cab to go home... this cab took me back to the same bar and said he was the owner and I should go in.  I laughed and told him to take me home, told him about my experience.  He then said he would take me to a real bar, so I asked him if it was near and he said it was very close... so why not.  He takes me to another place... I walk in and there is an Asian girl behind the counter and a young blonde sitting at the table.  I started laughing, told the cab driver that I am not stupid and I will walk home and I am not paying him.  I walk out and the cab driver apologises and says he will drive me home for free.  I jump in and he is true to his word.  I get home, there is no Cory so I sit up and wait to hear about his night.  Apparently he was just around the corner at a coffee shop.  He said he spoke to a lady about these places and she said that some people will walk out of there with a 2000 Euro bill, crying and being threatened by the owners that they must go to a bank and take out the money.  What a crazy night... I got off with only spending about 45 Euro for the evening and I saw the darker side of Athens, so all in all I would call it a success. The next morning we woke up and headed to buy some clothes.  The night before, I was so cold wandering around in a t-shirt.  We found a store that was like a shitty winners called Best Buy.  We each found a few things for around 50 Euro and negotiated 10 Euro off each and were on our way.  We walked around looking at the sights from a far but not going into any detail because we were expecting our buddy Drew to meet up with us and assumed he would want to see all the sights.  We headed to the museum beside our hotel, but it was closed.  Headed back to the hotel for a long and much needed nap which finally got me back on track from the travelling.  We headed out for the evening, which basically meant walking around the streets exploring.  I decided to start documenting every beer I drink in Europe with a photo and a brief description which is pretty fun so far.  I met a couple of American guys in their 60s at a news stand at about 1130 pm and sat on a bench and drank beer and exchanged stories for about an hour. Cory headed back to a coffee shop to chat with the girl working and enjoy his much loved java.  At about 1230 an Ausie guy asked me if I knew where the bar district was and I told him we couldn't find any in our couple days there.  He said he knew of one which he had been partying at for the few days he had been there and although he was looking for something new he would show me where it is if i would have a birthday beer with him because he was turning 37.  So we went back to grab Cory from his coffee shop.  We walked for about 35 minutes zig-zagging though the part of the town that Cory and I knew quite well in our time so far.  We gave the guy a break for his less than efficient line of travel because he was full of such great stories of his travels and business ventures.  He told us about his life and his divorce and it was actually quite fascinating.  Also, he was really drunk and it was his birthday so we just enjoyed the convo.  We finally got to what looked like a warehouse district and all of a sudden there was a square with multiple clubs and bars.  We walked around checking them out from the outside then he asked if we would go to a heavy metal bar with him.  Obviously that sounded awesome so we went down a side street to a place with a name I cant recall. We headed in for a few drinks and some pool then we left to get some sleep.  It was a terrifically unique night (which are always my favourite). 
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