Day 1: Athens
Today was a huge day. A walk into town after a quick look at our maps, could we do it. You bet we could, especially now after we took on the metro from the airport and won. Arriving on a Sunday afternoon at Omonia station and walking up the stairs to find a deserted, old and pretty run down area. Hence the comparison to Hanoi I posted on face book.
Anyway today we took it on Walk into the main Syntagma Square, the area of the Parliament House of Greece and the obligatory photo of The Changing of the Guard.
Next was the Temple of Olympian Zeus after a quick walk through the Botanic gardens. I love the ticket system for the ancient sites. 12 euro 3 days and includes all major sites.
Then the big one, walk all up over and around the Acropolis and Parthenon. This was fantastic , unbelievable and simply stunning. Again stress free and well organised. No hawkers or junk souvenirs on site, only water in fountains and no food allowed. The appearance of food sees the relaxed but observant attendant blow whistles and wave etc. Can’t believe people can’t see the point to this. One lady was trying to tell me that being asked to stop playing country music on her phone was typical of communist governments of these European country, go figure. The last part of the afternoon was spent at the Acropolis museum, another wow of the day.
Highlights, Hadrians Arch, Tempe of Zeus, The Parthenon, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Theatre of Dionysus and Hadrian’s library.
Day 2: More Athens goodness
Ancient Agora and Roman Agora kicked off this morning and off we walked and walked. Athens central market with butchers and meat. Anything with a face on it was there. Great little eats there too. Afternoon spent at National Archeological museum of Athens.
Early evening at a bar. Topped the night off with a very local Cretan only non locals there.
Today driving to Napflio mmm, could be a strange day.
Day 3: Nafplio- How hard could it be to drive in Greece?
Today we made our way to the port Nafplio and the wonderful fortresses that remain in relatively good condition. Palamidi castle is the main one but also whilst not as large Bourtzi, in the water (Fort Denison style) and another which the name escapes me, they are equally staggering to look at.
The drive was very interesting especially getting out of the city. The traffic antics are amazing. All done without road rage but still confronting all the same.
The motorway was great and signposted for 120 km people constantly flew past me. Off the motorway and the last 2 hours were a good drive along the coast with plenty of curves and bends, where’s bike when you need it. A quick stop at a bakery with a less than happy baker, our lack of Greek got his hackles up.
On driving into town the fun started, I attempted to drive the car up a lane that had me slowly backing down and around as it was not going to get any further up. We had trouble finding the hotel as one of the roads given for the address was in fact a flight of stairs followed by a walk along a winding path and then down more stairs.
The Pension we are staying in is really cool. No view from the room but no time to look at views as the afternoon was spent in the town exploring and eating and drinking. This spot is the best place to sit and people watch. All types of people, locals, tourists and kids still out at 11pm. The night only seems to begin at this time.
Still not sure if we will do the 999 steps to the top of the castle have to see how we wake up.
Day 4: Athens via The Sanctuary of Asklepios
Left the beautiful port village of Nafplio for the drive back to Athens. On route we were to stop near Epidavros and the mind-blowing complex know as the The Sanctuary of Asklepios. It was all based around healing. Used as far back as 1000 BC but really pumped up in the 6th century BC to include sports stadium and the theatre shown in pictures.
Drive was great, although the GPS had a mind of its own and took us on precarious detour on a goat track complete with goats and a Coca Cola truck on the wrong side of the road at full noise almost collecting us.
Back in Athens and our apartment is in a hip little area with bars and restaurants at the square around the corner. Our front door opens to the wall of the The Stadium of the first Modern Olympics. Beautiful Athens.
Day 5: Delphi- Off to the Oracle
Absolutely amazing day. I personally liked the theatre at Epidavros more. But, with its outlook and the museum that is also located on the site I think this place tips it. Delphi is simply amazing, how did they get the pilgrims there?
Day 6: Barcelona
The day was spent flying from Athens to Spain. The taxi ride to the airport gets a special mention. We arranged to get a transfer from our apartment to the airport. The driver was an hour early. When we checked with him he said he was okay because he was talking to friends in the street and not hurry.
Hurry was a word that was close to his heart. On the way we hit 140 in an 80 zone and then a top speed of 160 in a 120 zone, you have to love old E class Mercs as taxis.
Our apartment is slap bang in the busiest part of the city. Its unbelievable, the people the house the smells but mostly the people. It’s so alive and bustling. The World Cup being shown in the bars at night all around us with the cheers and fire works being set off when a goal is scored is something that has to be seen and heard to believe.
Tapas is the main thing we are seeking out. Queen squid, Potato bravos and a vegetable salad with mozzarella and anchovy.
Day 7: Racing we go!
Moto GP in Spain is as good as it gets. Like Pilgrims we meet at a departure point, study each other and the sect we follow and then make our journey together as one. Yes the shuttle bus to the track was exactly that and when we arrived at the track it was even more fun as the mix of languages and nations that come together is great.
The racing was close but our saint, Marc Marquez never let us down and we went home smiling, I had achieved another goal on my bucket list, Moto GP in a foreign country.
Day 8: Food Glorious Food
Day 8 saw us discover the local market near us. The food for sale is displayed with such flair. There is also plenty of food that we can buy and use on the spot, cheese, ham, smoked and cured sausage, chocolate and of course fruit. We even found 3€ mojitos.
The Tapas bars in the market are great and we ate at two of them. Simple food done so well.
I did my best to photo bomb a food show that was being filmed there. I got so close that a camera man had to push me out of the way. I’m sure I will be on Estonian TV any day soon.
Day 9: Gaudi Park
A great day was had at the popular Gaudi park. Originally a housing estate in which Gaudi had his house, this amazing park was donated to the council many years ago. Gaudi, this man was a true genius.
Day 10: Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia
Another Gaudi takes your breath away monument. This time a church. This church has been getting built since the early 1900’s and is still going. Gaudi died early on but the building continues. Hit by a tram. His plans and engineering are simply remarkable, a must see in Barcelona.