Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Athens - Sabbas, piles of rocks and drinks

We got in to Athens and went through the passport control without being checked. We managed to make our way to the train, thanks to a kind Greek lady who couldn't speak English but could point. Some gestures work in every language.

The train got crowded fairly quickly and these three heroin addict looking kids get on. The girls had the worst haircuts ever and I would have taken a picture but I was afraid the camera would break.

We got into the metro station and as we were coming up the escalator, there were excavations IN the station. It was really cool. As soon as we steppend outside, there was more and what we found out later on, it was Hadrian's Library. Anyway, the hotel was good, AC and a TV, with some channels in English. We dropped off our stuff, washed our faces and went to go eat and see some of the sights.

The food we got was ok but the bonus was it overlooked the Roman Agora. The Greek one had been too small. so the Romans built their own. After eating we went and got the ticket to get in to all the ancient stuff - 6 euro and you could see everything! The first thing we went to see was Hadrian's Gate. It separated the old city from the new Roman one. Inside were the remaining columns from the Temple of Zeus. They are freaking huge. There are 16 left - one fell in an earthquake in the 1800's I think and it is still sitting where it went down - what's awesome about it is you can see how many sections they built it in. There is no was to really describe how tall they are. It's not like I can compare them to a skyscraper or something but they are immense and they made us look like ants.
Next we headed back out into the blazing sun - ok, actually we never left it because we were just in a wide open space, but we headed over to the Ancient Agora - I'm guessing an agora is just the old market/business place. In this one was the Stoa of Attalos (there were Stoas everywhere we went - again, I'm guessing by what we saw, it was only some long ass building), it was fixed up by Rockeffeler, or one of our rich elite who don't know that they should be giving their money to me and not some crumbling old ass building. I mean if it was that important to begin with, they would have kept it up. There was also the Hephaesteion - the best preserved temple there. It's the one up on the hill and in every world history textbook.

We spent some time just chilling in the shade, sitting on a bench and watching the other tourists run around and hoping that we were going to get up so they could sit in the shade. Fat chance! The view was sweet and you could see everything, including the train tracks that run through the far side of the site. It's weird seeing the train run through there - more weird when we were on the train going through it.
We then walked to the Keramikos, it contained the Sacred Way which was the road to Eleusis where illustrious Athenians were buried. All I saw was more fucking piles of rocks. Maybe there was some other cool structures but I'm not sure. I think I was starting to see things it was so hot. At one point, I'm pretty sure I watched them build a friggin temple. Did I mention that it was hot?

We hoofed it back to the hotel to take a nap and cool off. All over Athens and the rest of Greece there are these little miniature churches. I though maybe they were used to memorialize old religious spots but apparently they are functional. We hung out at this one - it was our outside drinking spot to watch the bums, dogs, cats and freaks that abound in Athens. We hung out and had a few drinks - I had to keep walking back to the same little bodega place. The woman was a bitch and made faces when I asked her to open the bottles. "Sorry, I don't feel like using my teeth this evening - if you bend over I'm sure I could figure something out!" We went in there so much - and then the next day, Jess went in there on like three occasions, she wouldn't go in to get drinks. I'll sacrifice anything for a beer. We spent the rest of the night walking around for a long time before we got food. We took some pictures of Athens at night - all the cool stuff is lit up including the Acropolis - you can see it from just about everywhere in the city. It's imposing but not in the same way as the Russian monument.
We got up a little later than we had planned and headed up to the Acropolis. It's a bit of an uphill walk but when you get there it is well worth the sweat. We got to see the Parthenon, Erechtheion, Theatre of Dionysus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus which is still in use today. They are doing a ton of work on the Parthenon which doesn't make it as cool looking but I guess you have to keep up on it if you want the tourism.
The Erechtheion is dedicated to a few gods including Athena and Poseidon -
Erechtheus was the snake bodies hero who was speared when Athena and Poseidon fought over the city's patronage. I guess Athena won. She's also prominently featured on the temple. The Acropolis overlooks the entire city - and it is really impressive how the oldest part of the city is sitting above it looking over all the new modern stuff. Jess was most amazed at how there's alway one street you can see running through the vast majority of the city.
I'm sorry, but did you miss the freaking HUGE, 3000 year old temples all around us - built before there was any type of modern equipment! I will give her this - the street does look cool - like it cut a swath through the city's buildings.
Since we were on a roll, hot, sunburned and tired, we decided to hit the Roman Agora and bang out the rest of everything we needed to see. The Greek Agora became too crowded and could no longer accomodate all the buisness they needed to conduct, so the Romans built a new one. There were tons of columns standing around and we took queer touristy pictures at them. There were lots of random dogs there as well. There were dogs all over Athens.

We were done with the rocks for the day so we headed back and got Sabbas (a really good gyro place that we would eat at like 50 times). Afterwards I napped while Jess read in the small square across from our hotel. I went down to get her after my nap and we encountered the nastiest pigeon in Europe - of course, I didn't have the camera. I think it had some kind of gangrenous infection on its food. It was so disgusting - I'm getting dry heaves thinking about it now. A couple of the bums were begining to stir - one got up and went back to sleep and Jess said, I wonder why he did that? I replied that he probably remembered that it was Sunday and he didn't have anything else to do.

We decided to be bums and get a drink and hang out at the church. Sounds sacriligious but I assure you that it wasn't. On the way there we hear this friggin mayhem - and OF COURSE, I do not have the camera with me. Walking through the streets in a parade like style are all these hippy looking fools juggling. I shit you not, juggling. Balls, pins, that goddamn diablo thing - anything they can get their hands on. Some are on stilts, others balancing balls on their heads none are wearing deodorant. It was pretty cool and the media was there. Apparently it is some kind of get together and as it turns out on the news on the ferry a few days later, there were about 4,000 of them - juggling, stitlting and no deodoranting. We ended up having a few more drinks, getting Sabbas and hanging out.

We got up to get to the ferry the next morning and I went and got a haircut. This was probably Jess' favorite part of the trip because the beard was on week 5 and part of it was on month 2 and counting. We got to the ferry and began the deat march to the departures spot - which had to be at least 123 km away from the metro. And I think 123 km equals 34 miles and our packs were now bulging at 75lbs.
We had gotten a bunch of postcards and mailed them out - including the one on the left here. Sure you may blush - but how the hell could I not send that one to Cappy - on the inside it said "Thinking of you...and Scotty" and if you know Roach, you can appreciate the humor. If not, it's still funny to think we considered sending it to Jess' cousin Zach - the King of the Gay Joke. Jess also sent it to her friend Tony - I considered sending it to anyone who's address I had - luckily, I didn't have many on me.
The ferry ride to Crete wasn't too bad. It was long - about 7 hours. But overall it wasn't bad. There was this annoying rug next to my seat and when I would leave my pack in the isle people would move the rug and it would bunch up. The people started tripping. The little kids in front of me loved it and waited for the next person to come and trip. I kept fixing the rug but it kept moving. Someone moved it away from my pack and somehow it moved again and got bunched and some little girl was dancing by and she went flying. The boys were laughing and I could no longer contain myself. Though I moved the pack again, some old lady came by and took a MAJOR spill. I didn't laugh but the boys were and I am not quite sure how I didn't.
Jess asked the crew people the best spot to get off the boat at and they told her and that it would be happeneing in about 15 minutes. We got our packs on and headed over to the area where people were already lining up. About 45 minutes later we began to move down the steps. It was crowded and of course, the pieces of shit are pushing and jockeying for position. It's really annoying but I have my secret weapon, my Keen sandals, which honestly smell like vomit. Jess had one guy almost knock her down the stairs she turned around and politely asked him what the fuck his problem was. I was battling my own Greeks, sitting on my pack, trying to slink past me otherwise I would have explained it to him in a language he would have understood. We stood there for like another halfhour or so while they let the fucking cars off. People kept inching up and I felt like the guy on the postcard but despite the body odor and the start of the smoking marathon in a non smoking area, we survived, got a cab and headed to our hotel.

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