Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Big Fat Greek Vacation (Part Five: Athens)

Our last stop in Greece: Athens!  Oh, what can you say about Athens?  As I stare at my computer screen and try to conjur up some positive adjectives about Athens, my mind is blank.'s one: memorable.  Our experience of Athens was indeed memorable.

Athens is a big, bustling, dirty city.  I had heard it was big, dirty, and overwhelming.  But I had visited big cities like New York City, Jerusalem, and Milan in the past, so I thought I'd be mentally prepared for anything Athens threw at me.  I was wrong.

Our travel agent booked our hotel in an interesting part of town.  My stomach turned as I watched dozens of Meth addicts roam the streets like zombies.  I think it is accurate to say that every square inch of the city is completely covered in graffiti:  buildings, signs, playgrounds.  As we walked several blocks through the city to find a restaurant for dinner, I began trying to count people who appeared to NOT be on Meth.  During our half-mile walk, I think I counted about ten normal looking, healthy people. 

The next morning, we thankfully had a scheduled bus tour of the city.  It was comforting to be on a bus with other tourists!  We were happy to see that the more touristy area around the Parthenon seemed safer and more pleasant!

We visited the Olympic stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896.

Our tour bus then took us to the Acropolis of Athens. We visited the Acropolis museum and saw many artifacts from this historical location.   In ancient Greece, many major Greek cities had "acropoli" which means "high city"...usually on top of a hill or rocky outcropping. If a city was about to be attacked, citizens would go up into the acropolis for safety.

A theater at the Acropolis

East of the Acropolis is the hill where democracy was BORN! (you can also see the Aegean Sea in the distance)

The Beaudoin Family with the Parthenon atop the Acropolis of Athens!

This is a picture of our van we traveled Greece in along with our friend, Kevin, who drove us!

So...when we got back to our hotel from the Acropolis (after long driving delays due to the closed streets because of the Greek government protesters and rallies), three meth addicts were "relaxing" around our blue van. Since the van was the tallest vehicle on the street, the addicts could shoot up behind the van without being seen...suffice it to say, our van was popular. Kevin told the manager of the hotel to move the addicts...the manager replied "Oh, they are just sleeping!"--yeah right...

The manager woke up the addicts and a few of them got very angry and confrontational. We threw our bags in the van, piled in, and drove to the airport as one of the addicts continued to yell and point at the manager.

Again, visit Athens because of the Acropolis and then leave!

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