Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Day 1 in Athens, Overnight Ferry Cruise from Bari, Italy & Walking Around Athens after Sunset

I woke up this morning on the Superfast Ferry from Bari, Italy to Patras, Greece, somewhere in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. The first time I woke up, one of my roommates was leaving, there was a stop in Igoumenista, Greece around 5 am.  The second time I woke up, my second roommate was getting dressed, she left the room around 8 am.  I did not get up until after 9:00 am when the ferry announced there was half an hour left for the self-service breakfast.    I went down to the dining room for breakfast, I got the Spinach pie, mini sausages and fresh squeezed orange juice.

After breakfast, I went back to my room to get my WIFI password, I needed directions to my hostel.  My WIFI connection was horrible aboard the ferry, I managed to blog without pictures and in the morning, I was able to load the email with directions to the hostel, could not do much more than that online.

I spent the last few hours on the ferry outside on the upper and middle decks enjoying the view.  I almost lost my baseball cap at one point, it was windy on the upper deck as we approached Patras, I was trying to take a picture, my cap almost blew off, I caught it just in time.

Me on Deck of SuperFast Ferry 
The ferry arrived at the Patras port around 1 pm Greece time.  I shared a taxi to the bus station with the retiree from Mesa, AZ, I was hoping it would not be too expensive, turned out to be only 3 Euros each.  We both have Eurail Global passes we wanted to use, we asked at the bus station, they sent us to the close train station.  Turns out, today is a Greek holiday, the trains were not running.  The Acropolis and all the Athens sites were also closed.  If understood the woman at the bus station correctly, she said today is Labor Day.  We ended up taking the bus to Athens, the couple I met who spends half the year in Arizona was on the same bus, a lot of people from the ferry were on the bus to Athens.  The bus ride to Athens was 2.5 hours, it was a fairly comfortable ride.  I spent most of the trip playing Fire Emblem Awakening on my 3DS and enjoying the views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Mediterranean Sea from Ferry 
After the bus arrived in Athens, we had to find the metro station to get to the hostel.  The Mesa retiree had not booked a place, he went to my hostel to get a private room.  This hostel has two branches, one with shared rooms (I have a room that sleeps six) and studios, he got a private studio in the other hostel.  We met up for dinner, then I went back to my hostel, I planned to walk around and see some of the Athens sights at night. I met one of my hostel mates when I went back to the room, a Canadian who just finished medical school.  We are going to get up early in the morning to go to the Acropolis, beat the heat and hopefully the crowds too. 

After talking to my hostel mate, I set out for my walk.  The guy working at the reception at the hostel with private rooms mapped out where I could go, the safe areas to walk around and see the sighs lit up at night.  I left with my map, I asked some Greek guys where the Acropolis was, it was behind me, they took a few pictures for me.  I walked some more around the area, saw some ruins, took pictures, I had the I can not believe I am finally in Athens looking at the Acropolis feeling, a feeling I get often on this trip as I see things I have only read about. 

Me with Acropolis at distance behind 
The sun set while I was out for my evening walk in Athens, my hostel is centrally located, 2 minutes walk and I had a view of the Acropolis.  There was a part of the map the man at reception at the private rooms hostel suggested I avoid, I think I may have ended up walking that way, not realizing it was the "bad" area.  I did not see anything bad, I got some nice views of the Acropolis.  I also found a hill where locals go to hang out, with a beautiful view of Acropolis on one side and the city on the other.  I cannot remember what the hill is called but I remember someone mentioning it to me, maybe a hostel receptionist or the Canadian hostel mate I met before my walk. 

Me on Hill overlooking Athens with the Acropolis behind me 

View of Athens from the Hill 
After my walk I went back to my hostel, I talked to the receptionist from South Africa about my CIA/FBI experiences.  I am now at the hostel with private rooms waiting for my clothes to dry, they should be dry, time to put them  in my suitcase and head back to my hostel to get some shut eye.  

I will post photo album from today later.

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