Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | October 11, 2012

Ode to a Grecian Turn: Day Fourteen

The ruins at the Acropolis are beautiful!

Well, my Grecian turn is just about set to turn into an Italian turn; today is my last day in Greece.  I will be heading to the airport, ready to head to Rome for five days.  I’m still not entirely sure what I plan to do there, other than eat pasta and gelato and drink wine, but I will try to do something a little more interesting to write about for a few days at least.

Today, since it was my last day in Athens, I did the tourist thing.  After the complimentary  breakfast at my hotel, which was very good, I made my way to the Acropolis.  You actually can’t go in much of the buildings (such as the Parthenon), but it is still pretty amazing to poke around the site. Of course, the cats there don’t head signs like “don’t touch the marble” and couldn’t care less about roped off sections. It was pretty neat to see a few pacing about in places I couldn’t go.  The Acropolis is also pretty neat because it is on very high ground, and you can see the magnitude of Athens from there.

From the Acropolis, Athens stretches out all around.

After I’d seen enough of the ruins in the Acropolis, I moved on and made my way to an area called the Plaka (at least I think I actually did make it there, since I managed to get turned around, as per my usual standard). There were lots of shops like H&M and Marks and Spencer and even a Body Shop.  The gentleman at the reception desk who gave me the map the first time I stayed at the Herodian had highlighted the Plaka as a place to go for shops, but I guess I thought it would be more kitschy little shops.  The Plaka was crowded and the little boys playing according were depressing, plus I can do that kind of shopping in Toronto or Edmonton, so I just made my way to Syntagma Square,where the Parliament Building was.  I didn’t stick around to see the changing of the guards, though I am told it is interesting, but instead made my way to Hadrian’s Arch.  I had hoped to be able to walk under it; alas, no luck. It’s cordoned off as well.  I checked out the ruins of a temple of Zeus from outside the fence as well; I didn’t particularly feel like shelling out more money to see ruins.

Though we are not allowed on the ruins, this cat is free to make its petitions to the gods!

After that it was past noon, so I went back to the hotel to get out of the sun for a short while. I then made my way to a cafe I’d wanted to check out on the way to the Acropolis, called Chocolat.  I had a Frostycinno (I don’t know what was in the chocolately concoction, but whatever it was was fabulous) and a grilled vegetable club sandwich with far too many French fries.   The food was great, but I will warn that kids get sent around with small items like lighters and kleenex to sell, and try to pressure you into buying them.  Part of me wants to buy it (because as they are pushy and rude enough to tell you after you’ve already said no) it is only half a Euro and I know times are rough in Greece.  I can’t bring myself to do it, for so many reasons ranging from hating encouraging people to send their kids around to people eating at tables, not wanting to be guilted into buying anything let alone crap I don’t need, and worry that if I buy from one kid I’ll suddenly be surrounded by others who decide I’m now obliged to do more of the same. After lunch, I was hot and tired, so I went back to my hotel for cold wine, some sparkling water, and a book.  I had done pretty much everything I felt like doing in Athens, so the rest of the day isn’t really worth going over.  Tomorrow I’ll wake up early, finish packing, eat breakfast, do the paranoid thing where I check to make sure I have everything three times (I failed to do this properly before Delphi, it would seem, because I misplaced my big toothbrush and am now using the emergency backup airplane toothbrush I had tucked in my carry on). I’ll admit that traveling is starting to wear on me, and I’m hoping that heading to Rome, where I’m staying in one place consistently (and can do some real, non-sink laundry), I’ll perk up a little.  Two weeks is a long time to be away from home for me, made longer by traveling alone I think, and I’ve got a whole other week to go.  But tomorrow there will be Rome, a new Old City to see and explore.  So until then!

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