Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Athens (Piraeus), Greece November 11, 2009

We arrived in Athens (Piraeus), Greece at 6 AM. I would have thought we'd be here early since we had the 8 hours we were scheduled to be in Olympia. Since we have visited Athens before and seen most of the important sites, we decided to do little today. Jim slept late then went to see if we could get a last-minute reservation on the bus tour of Athens that left at 1:00. We got on it, although it is a mystery HOW! We never gave our stateroom number or our names, but the tickets appeared under our door about 15 minutes after we asked about it. It was a good tour. We saw all the usual sites -- just from the bus or from a distance. Instead of walking up the Acropolis, exploring the Parthenon, and walking around the Olympic Stadium like we did last time, we just saw them, stopped and photographed them from a distance. We also went into Zeus's temple, which we didn't see at all last time.

The tour was eventful in another way. We were in very heavy traffic because some streets had been closed by a political demonstration. Then we were involved in a minor accident. The bus driver suddenly slammed on the brakes, and we heard a thud. Of course the driver and guide had to get out for awhile and work out details. We were delayed a much shorter time than I would have expected, though. They told us that a small car hit a scooter (both of which are omnipresent cutting in and out of traffic) and through the scooter into the side of the bus. Apparently no one was hurt. At the end of the tour we had a "snack" in a very fance, 5-star hotel downtown The Hotel Grande Bretagne. It was elegant with revolving doors, gorgeous chandeliers, carved desks, etc.

Our guide was very fluent in English, but still she had several predictable mispronunciations. Southern was pronounced as "South en"; the "t" in castle was pronounced; all dates were preceded with the article "the."

Jim washed clothes tonight. Okay, I helped a little, folding and putting away; but he is the one who sat in the laundromat for ages.

The weather was gorgeous today -- such a nice change.

The evening's entertainment was not too great. Comedian Rikki Jay (a man, although the names looks like a woman's) was one of the frantic, run-all-over-the-stage types who talks so fast your ears can't keep up.

Late night pizza!! Gotta stop that!!

Here is information I gathered before we left Atlanta.

Average temperature in November: 53-64F

Athens is called "the birth place of modern civilization." Philosophy, politics, mathematics, the natural sciences, art - almost all of life as we know it - was invented or defined in Ancient Greece. From astronomy and the search for order in the heavens to democracy and the quest for order on earth, the people of this great city created the foundations upon which all our civilization has since rested. (That is a quote - debatable I am sure, but interesting nevertheless.)

1 comment:

Lyn said...

I'm glad no one was hurt in the wreck! It sounds like a great day - and late-night pizza doesn't sound bad, either!