Somewhere amongst the spring blossoms are lots and lots of white Greek buildings!
First order for the day was a wild and hairy motorcycle trip on the highway around Athens to the sea port Piraeus, where I need to pick up my ferry ticket and more for me to know where I need to go the next morning on my own. (I usually do this as I hate being in a panic if I can't find some place as important as the boat.. especially with a 7:30 AM departure the next day.. best for me to be prepared!)
I also don't make a very good motorcycle "passenger", as young Alex flys full blast through the highway traffic.. in between cars who are side by side at top speed?? All I could do was hold on and keep my eyes closed! I knew from Poly he is a good rider and to trust him.. but it tested me!!! (Thanks again, Alex ;-))
The next errand was an absolute SHOCKER! Some very NAUGHTY Greek friends had an idea sparked by Spyros Simopoulos from Los Touristas.. to pay for the items I had ordered at the Makan Trt Touratech shop in Athens...????? Four of them got on board.. Spyros, Vaios, Nikos and Poly. Can you believe they paid for my things?? I am so shocked and grateful.. How totally amazing are my friends here! I'm disappointed I didn't take a photo of Spyros and Vaios from Los Touristas Moto Club when they visited and interviewed... but here is one of Nikos (from BMW Club Hellas) and Poly.
I can not tell you how sad I was to let go my shoes.. I even considered paying to send them home in the post.. until I came to my senses.. But remember, these are my ONLY pair of shoes, they have been everywhere with me.. PLUS, remember the story when my subframe bolts broke in Siberia, and Walter tied on the rear end of my bike with packing straps until we made it to the next town over 400 km away? Along this path, he carried my gear and lost my shoes!!! Then he back-tracked 180 KM!!!! to find them on the side of the Siberian road and returned them to me..big thanks again for that Walter! The Drama these shoes have seen.. and I have to let them go?? ;-(
Here is my parting photo.. and their replacements.. Angela kindly gave my old ones a proper send off in the box.. I'm sad.. but Thank You to my shoes.. who have taken me to odd places in the world.. miss you!!
Welcome new shoes..!! I hope you will be happy with what you are about to encounter.. ;-)
I had contacted Angela from Italy, and she had worked hard to track down the exact model and color of shoes and had them shipped here.. she is the greatest.. but then she goes the extra mile.. as I have learned all Greek people do.. She gives me a new TOURATECH JACKET!!! Holy schmoley.. I am blown away again!! I love Greece, I might have to move here.. ;-))) Here we are with our matching jackets.. and thank you so much!! I love it and wear it.. everyday!! Obviously, if you want the best service in Athens, go to Makan Trt Touratech http://www.makan.gr/ ;-)))))
Okay, we still have that all important Athens tourist attraction to see.. Acropolis and the Parthenon. it is an amazing part of history and the focal point for most visitors to Greece.
I like this easy explanation that I found at http://www.in2greece.com/english/places/historical/mainland/acropolis.htm :
The word "Acropolis" means city by the edge, and there are many acropolises all over Greece. They were always situated on a high spot, and were often used as a place for shelter and defence against various enemies. The one in Athens is the best known of them all, and is therefore often referred to as "The Acropolis". Towering over the capital, its is a very impressive sight, and walking around on its grounds, it gives the visitor a feeling of awe and a true sense of the greatness of the ancient Greeks.
Mythology :The founder of Athens and Greek civilizations was king Cecrops, according to mythology. He had been born out of the earth and was half man half snake. He taught the people many crafts, as well as the burial customs, and decided which god would protect the city.
There were two candidates: the goddess Athena and the god Poseidon. In order to prove their worth, and perhaps bribe the people, they each presented the city with a gift. Poseidon struck his trident into the rock of the Acropolis, and out sprang a well. The people ran to the well to drink its water, but had to spit it out since the water was salt, Poseidon being a sea god. Then Athena touched the ground, and an olive tree grew out. This proved to be a much more useful present, so Cecrops decided that Athena would be the patron of the city - thus giving it her name as well. The wooden statue of Athena which originally stood on the Acro-polis was believed to have fallen out of the sky.
I have to admit, I was struck by the greatness of it all as well.. but I was also struck by the greatest amount of tourists who are visiting this place.. off season! (I get really.. looking for the best word.. ancey? when I am surrounded by crowds).. I found it really hard to enjoy Acropolis with the masses. Therefore, we did a somewhat quick run-through and left. I have read and learned plenty outside of the site.. I am glad I went in, felt it and experienced it.. but it was enough for now.
Alex is an excellent tour guide for the day.. many many thanks to him for showing me around.. He has good taste, and intends to be moving to Melbourne Australia soon... watch out ladies!!!
Now we can fast forward to another great night out and party in Athens.. !! It's a birthday celebration in a really cool bar downtown..
We arrived home around 4.. I got straight to packing my bags so I can get on the road to the ferry by 6.. they surprised me again with Nikos showing up at the house to ride with me, Poly and Vassilios to the port.. with no sleep!! These are great friends! You all are THE BEST OF THE BEST!!!!
It was a chilly ride and I learned that I can still be really drowsy..on a motorcycle on a highway in cold air when I haven't slept.. that's a worry!
But seriously, I am truly amazed these guys would ride so early with me on a Sunday morning.. so far out of their way and a nice sleep in.. xxxxx
We arrive the port in plenty of time.. and I got ONE MORE last and great surprise... I actually have a dear old friend myself.. whom is currently working in Spain and I did not expect to see.. but my April Fools' surprise number 800 for Athens comes to see my at my ferry!!!
Because he is such an OLD friend, he gets the black and white photo.. ha!
His name is Captain Giorgios Apistolas.. and we met way back in 1995 while I was on a Mediterranean Cruise with my sister.. (no photos in my computer from then.. long before I was using a digital camera)
I did have this one photo in the computer for some reason. Here we are on the Carribbean Island of Martinique in 1997.. in a tiny hideaway restaurant on the beach, of which we rode to on George's little motorcycle that he kept on the ship! 14 years ago!! Can't believe it.. We've continued to stay in touch this long..
So so happy to see my good friend.. really special to me.. and quite a perfect ending to my time in Athens..
How I will miss everyone in Athens.. Special thanks to Polytimi for being the most amazing host, introducing me to so many new friends and credit for many photos above! As well as BIG thanks to everyone, your freindship and so many amazing gifts.. Grateful doesn't seem a big enough word!!!
I do hope we ALL meet again...