Getting to Greece took longer than anticipated. About an hour and a half into our flight from Amsterdam to Athens the pilot announced that the plane was having technical difficulties and we needed to return to Amsterdam. He also stated that the plane was too heavy to land so he was putting the landing gear down for the remainder of the flight and because of that the flight and landing would be louder than usual. I’m happy to report we landed safely. Unfortunately instead of arriving in Athens yesterday afternoon, we arrived at 10:00 at night. It took us 31 hours from the time we left my mom’s house on Sunday to the time we arrived at the place we are staying in Athens.
Despite our later arrival, the city was bursting with energy. Street markets were in full swing, restaurants were experiencing their peek hours of business, music filled the air, and traffic congested the streets. We exited the metro station, turned our heads slightly and saw the acropolis all lit up beaming down on the rest of the city.
The life style is different here. When you go out to dinner you’re not rushed. You eat several courses, you’re served leisurely and you let the waiter know when you’re ready to leave. They will not bring you the bill otherwise. And most showers are bathtubs. They have the shower spout attached the the faucet but most lack anything to hold it to the wall. My theory is you’re encouraged to take a bath and actually enjoy the bathing experience instead of rushing through a shower. These minor details are hard to adjust to when you’re used to the fast paced life of an American (and when your time in a certain place is limited).
Today we toured the acropolis. It’s incredible to believe that this area has been in existence since the 5th century BC. The ancient Greeks seem so advanced compared to the rest of the world. While we were walking the windy paths I thought about all the Greek philosophers who had walked these very same paths so long ago.
Athens reminds me of Rome in the essence that you can turn a street corner and stumble upon ancient ruins adjacent to fairly modern buildings. After the acropolis we went to the acropolis museum, enjoyed gyros for lunch, wandered through the Plaka neighborhood, visited Zesus’ temple, chatted with a local tour guide, and walked through a huge flea market.
What I have found most intriguing/disturbing about Athens is the number of young children, probably ages 4-8, that roam the streets playing accordions attempting to earn money. While we were eating lunch, at a restaurant, at least four children at separate times came right up to our table and began playing. Each child asked for money and one young girl took a pen and began scribbling the amount she wanted. We watched an older couple give her money and the girl kept haggling the older couple to give her more money. It breaks my heart to see such young children hustled into business like that.
On a positive note, I received a call from one of my doctor’s office today informing me that my biopsy results came back and they’re all clear!! I’m off to celebrate good health with more Greek food and gelato.
Tomorrow we are off to Santorini!!