Day 3 in Greece.
We wake up early as shit in the morning and I feel fucking terrible. My stomach is doing its best impersonation of a tumble dryer, in what I surmise to be the result of either over eating, mild food poisoning or both.
Thanks a fucking lot Greece. Leaving the others on the island, the woman and I caught a taxi to the airport. I mentioned to the driver that I was about as liable to puke all over the back of his head as I was so shit myself all over his car. I suggested that I would pay him an extra 10 euros to get there as soon as possible. Seeing as it was 4:30am, road rules were all toggled to “off” and we made it there, swerving across empty, multi lane roads at breakneck speeds, in record setting time.
We had a flight to catch to Athens!
We arrived in a surprisingly modern and well organised airport (for Greece..), grabbed our shit and jumped into the cleanest and most modern metro train I have ever seen. The metro system in Athens is startlingly clean. As though there was a machete massacre in your very carriage the night before and it had been scrubbed medically clean just before you stepped in.
This metro was easily on par with Stockholm, if not slightly better... And that is saying something.
We disembarked near the famous Syntagma square, where shit has “gotten real” a great many times throughout the long and rough history of Greece. Protests and rallies have always been held in this square and we expected some kind of rough place, but instead we emerged into an ambush of hawkers shouting at us in Greek, trying to get us to buy whatever shit they were selling by standing at the stairs to the metro and evidently attempting to startle people into shopping with them.
We walked for a bit and got almost lost (I am never lost). Athens is a cluster fuck of a city that just “happened” over the last 3000 friggen years. Streets and alleyways everywhere. We rounded a corner and found ourselves swept up by a passing protest rally against the government. The people standing on the streets around the orators were mostly peaceful, if loud and chanting. The people on the roads and sidewalls were more aggressive and pushy, physically.
We made it past them by attempting to blend in by walking in their general direction, doing our best to look angry with the government until a convenient side alley presented itself and we slipped into it and returned in the correct direction of our hotel, which I selected partly for location, partly for price and mostly for the view....
We went up to the roof garden and cafe that they have in order to take a better look at the view, but we were told they were closed. I explained we just wanted to take a quick look at the view and the old grandma behind the counter allowed us to do so and then emerged a moment later with a free glass of orange juice for both of us. Greek people are awesome.
We left the hotel and begun walking through the district our hotel was in; Plaka, the “old town”, of Athens.... If there can be such a thing...
Plaka was really cool. Thin, paved streets and an endless sea of terraces, outdoor restaurants, overhanging vines and other Greekness. We stopped for frozen yoghurt in a random place and the old man gave us a monster serving of the stuff as well as explained he had been making the shit for 30 years. He showed us how he makes it, inviting us to look at his workshop room, and he also went on to tell us that the strawberries he adorned my girlfriend's yoghurt with, were the last he could buy for the year. He refused to buy strawberries from any other country then Greece. He claimed “They no strawberry. They pink potato”.
He was awesome and I mentally bookmarked his location for future visits. After that we ascended the side of the acropolis mountain. Plaka rides up the side of the mountain and you get to walk through tiny, mudbrick houses that are as typically Greek as Greek gets. Its beautiful, if difficult to navigate. Everything is painted a blinding shade of white, which reflects the sun in a seemingly deliberate attempt to blind intruders.....
We crested the middle point of the mountain and found a back entrance to the acropolis, guarded by a sleepy nobody, passed out on a deck chair, who we just strolled right past and started the climb to the top.
Then, suddenly I was dumbstruck.
“What the ACTUAL fuck?!”
I spewed out as I pointed to this badass motherfucker, strolling across the path and into the bushes like he owned the motherfucking acropolis.
I attempted to challenge him by poking his shell. He stopped and turned his head around to stare me down for a good few moments.
“Go ahead, bitch. Make a move” he dared me.
I dared not....
We moved on and arrived at the entrance to the acropolis's top part. There was a line with a ticket inspector, so I did the one thing any self respecting freeloader with no regard for the irritation of my fellow man, would do. I walked up, through the bushes and rejoined the windy path further up, away from the ticket guards. I just merged back into the crowd like I was meant to be there and nobody even looked twice. I paused during the ascent to photograph this rule sign.
SINGING AT THE ACROPOLIS IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN!
Anyway. You all know what the acropolis, Parthenon and whatnot are. Let me show you them.
This fucking thing is huge. Massive. Gargantuan. There is no real way to describe the awe inspiring presence of the Parthenon all up in yo grill. There is not a single person who can look upon this 2500 year old monster building and not feel somehow dwarfed.
Except maybe this guy. He seems pretty chill with it all...
Also, damn it was hot. There was no shade atop the mountain and the sun lanced down like a fucking death ray in the 37C heat. Not cool bro..... Anyway, back to the tourist photos....
We left and found a nearby lemonade stand/snackery. The only fucking place of its kind on the mountain, and as such, they had the gall to charge 4.50€ for a fucking frozen lemonade. What? You don’t like the price? Then you walk down the mountain and buy your fucking lemonade elsewhere, faggot!
I pennied up and both of us tasted the power of “ice cream headaches”.
We left the crowded site and headed off to the side a little and climbed atop a really cool cliff that overlooked the ancient ruins of Agora and gave us a nice view of the whole Acropolis.
We climbed down and headed into the Agora, where we once again, were not checked for tickets. Other people who stopped to give them their tickets voluntarily were inspected. But as I strolled past without even looking at them, I was never once questioned.
The ruins of Agora are pretty damned cool. Its a huge, open area that you can just explore at your own leisure. The rocks and whatnot are simply left where they have always lied (anything of value has of course, been removed) and for all the stuff, of which they couldn’t figure out where the hell it was meant to go, they simply left it in huge piles of pillars, marble and rocks.
I made it my mission to steal one.
Ok..... Maybe not THAT one. I’m sure, knowing the security personnel here, I could stroll out with the fucking thing and if questioned, reply that I was the rock fragment inspector, and be allowed to leave. But instead, I stole a smaller piece of marble with a letter on it. I pocked that badboy and continued on through the ruins. One of the old buildings has been totally rebuilt into its original form. Using all the original stones and new pieces where needed. They are doing the same work on the Parthenon and it will be really cool to see the partheon finished like this one is.
(Bonus greek cool points for spartan shield)
Great place for a train track, don’t you think?
We got the fuck out of Agora and walked back up the acropolis a little bit and around to the other side to check out the awesome theatre.
Dogs give no fucks about your ancient monuments.
We left the site and walked into the nearby modern museum that housed all the valuables taken from the agora and the acropolis. It was a really awesome modern building. The entire bottom floor was made of glass, which showed through to a massive drop into an ancient archaeological excavation site of some kind of settlement.
I didn’t take any photographs inside the museum because my camera and bag were promptly confiscated. I promised I wouldn’t steal any of the exhibits, but they didn’t seem content to take my word for it. I would have used my backup cellphone camera, but im not lying when I say that all the competent security forced in Greece are hired to work inside this place. Each and every exhibit has its own, smartly dressed bodyguard, standing next to it, watchful and wary of wandering fingers or cellphone cameras. No fucking around – This place was serious business.
The place was fantastic and if you are ever in Athens you NEED to visit it. All the massive statues taken from the partheon are on display and a myriad of other priceless treasures. We also went into cafeteria inside the restaurant to grab a snack but found a really nice restaurant with amazing food, which we partook in. This sort of restaurant should not exist inside a stuffy museum, but here it was. Awesome.
We left the museum and wandered back to our hotel, so as to shower away the layer of sweat and filth we had accumulated from all the sun and walking. Then we went on another walk, in another direction, as we waited for the sun to set and out tummies to begin to grumble for dinner...
We went back to Syntagma square and found it empty, beautiful and downright tranquil when not being shown in footage of rioters clashing with police, tear gas and molotovs flying...
What the FUCK?! Motherfucker are you FOLLOWING me?
Seeing that he brought his homies this time, I swiftly left without making a fus....
We found a suitably back alley restaurant full of Greeks, replete with restaurant cats who sat by your feet, staring up into your soul with their huge eyes in a well practices begging manoeuvre. It was incredibly effective.
The food was great and as we sat outside, we also got to see an old man come and start shouting at the building from which our food was produced. The wooden shutters were flung open and a fat old granny hung out and they begun shouting conversation at one another like there was no restaurant there. The old man then shouted across the street at their rival restaurant proprietor. He came over and grandma disappeared from the open window for a moment, only to return with an even older grandma of easily 90 years. They all shouted at one another for the remainder of our dining experience. I liked to think of it as the Greek equivalent of the soothing background music we play in restaurants elsewhere....
After the meal we poked around for a bit more, but the stores all began to close, the alleyways emptied and darkened and my eyes assessed every passing poor man as a potential threat. The night was late and the crime rate was high. I removed us from the quiet rape alleys and directed us home via a busy thoroughfare.
And thats it for part 3. Not much in the way of zany adventures, but I saw the Acropolis and the Agora and both for free. What did you do today?