2010 Return to Greece

Rob and Jacky Black
Sat 27 Mar 2010 19:49
22/03/10 - 24/03/10
Flew into Athens today and after being met by a very friendly taxi driver (courtesy of Georgios taxis found on the internet)
we were whisked to our hotel through the melee of down town Athens in the rush hour which starts around 1500!
The hotel was great - very close to the Acropolis - (Acropolis Museum Boutique Hotel - booked through roomsnet.com).
Our room was very comfortable with a good bathroom - the beds were special with a fantastic type of mattress system
incredibly soft (not so good for our backs); the breakfast was very good indeed and as it was included in the price excellent value.
We walked up to the new Acropolis Museum in the late afternoon only to find it was closed on Mondays! However we discovered a
very convenient pedestrianised street two minutes from the hotel with plenty of street bars and cafes where we whiled away an hour
sitting in the sun and imbibing our first Mythos (local Greek beer) of the year. Later we walked to the Plaka district to a restaurant
recommended by our friendly taxi driver it was in a superb position on the north side of the Acropolis - we sat on the roof garden
facing the flood lit Parthenon and enjoyed a lovely meal at very reasonable prices. It was called the Old Tavern of Psara's a long established
taverna dating originally from 1898 the English translation of the name means fisherman and needless to say there was plenty of 'fish' on the menu.
The following day we checked our bags out and vacated our room (luggage went into the hotels secure area until we returned around 1845) before
heading for the Acropolis the aim was to be there before the crowds. It was a thirty minute uphill stroll around a well made wide plaza to get to the
ticket booth and then we were in. It is an amazing place and we were fascinated to see the various temples and ruins (although there is a great deal of
renovation work in progress so loads of scaffolding on different sections.) By the time we left the place was filling up fast with tour groups of Japanese
and Americans! We decided to have a well earned drink so returned to our cafe near the Museum (first visited on Monday) and again sat in the warm sunshine
'people watching'. The Museum was next on our agenda and this was truly fantastic - recently opened it has been designed to replicate the layout of the
Parthenon with the foundations exposed to show various sections of ancient buildings through glass panels. Some of the treasures within are in amazingly good
condition whilst others have been expertly restored. The panels taken from the buildings on the Acropolis were displayed with plaster of paris replicas of those
that had been removed by Lord Elgin - surely it's time for them to be returned now?
We finished our visit to Athens with a walk to the main square Syntagma where the Parliament building sits - however we were informed there was to be another
demonstration and to avoid going further than the edge of this - so we didn't see the fancy soldiers changing the guard! We did wander off into the the Monastiraki
district and popped into the Cathedral before finding a noodle bar for a late lunch in one of the back streets in the Plaka. On our way back to the hotel we took in
the ruined temple of Olympian Zeus and the partially ruined Hadrian's Arch. Our taxi arrived in good time to take us to Piraeus for the ferry to Leros and we were
soon onboard ensconced in our very comfortable cabin replete with a double bed, bathroom and working fridge! The Anek Line ferry was a 'slow' one designed to get us
to Leros at a reasonable hour the next morning (0930) as apposed to the fast ferry which we could have caught but we would have been in Lakki around 0300!
The journey was fine - our only complaint was the food in the self service restaurant looked indifferent so we settled for a toasted sandwich from the bar and didn't
bother with breakfast on Wednesday morning. On arrival we were met by Mr. Giannakos from the car -hire company and loaded our extensive luggage into the car before
heading for the supermarket to re-stock the boat!