Oct.21.2010, Peloponnese to Athens

Richard reciting Shakespeare at the Delphi theatre

0700 sunny, white clouds, 23C.  Out of bed early for an 0830 departure.  I had spaghetti and meatballs for breakfast.  The ordinary people ate cereal and toast.  0830  I am driving.  Up the shortcut, then toward Nafplio but took the right exit out of the traffic circle, a new road for us.  Nice, wide, low traffic and only a few cops.  It allowed us to bypass all of the traffic at Nafplio and Argos.  It took us right up past Mycenae.  Hooked up to the main road north then exited to go west on the south shore of the Gulf of Corinth.  Only one confusing small town – old Korinthus I think.  Then a great highway with intermittent construction zones but no problems getting through.  A steady 100 – 110 kph.  Left the highway at Egoa (?) to look for the ferry to the other side.  We found it at 1100 and the ferry had left at 1030.  Next one would be 1330, too long to wait.  So after some confusing instructions from a young lady at a cafe, we found our way back to the highway, the same way we came into town.  Within 1/2 hr. we came to the Rio – Antirrio bridge to the north shore.  Very impressive.  5 suspension sections hung on 4 towers.

Sunny but clouds got a bit darker later in the day.  From the other side, right (east) towards Delphi.  Still a good road but not as good as the one on the south shore.  Hairpin turns climbing up the mountain, quite high est. 1500 ft.  Delphi town itself includes the now famous typical narrow streets, then out the other side towards the archeological site.  The site is so poorly marked that I drove right past it.  Had to turn around and go back, found parking right away near the museum.  It must be a zoo at the peak of the tourist season.

9E ea. for the 3 sites and museum.  Museum first.  Quite good but a young fellow told Richard that Kathy couldn’t pose for a picture in front of a sphinx statue.  Later when I took a picture of Deb and Kathy sitting on a bench in the middle of a room for a rest, I was also admonished not to do so by a young lady.  So I spent the rest of my time in the museum taking surreptitious pictures of the gang.  Then out and up into the archeological site (no picture taking restrictions out here!).  We walked and climbed all the way up to the threatre at the top, well, really just the middle of the hillside but the rest of the walkway heading higher was roped off.  Then we descended back to the main road and from there we walked east to the next 2 sites, the gymnasium and the temple of Athena.  From an overlook, we continued down into these lower sites while Richard headed back up the road to pick up the car.  We walked down into the 2 sites – getting pretty tired and hungry now.  Back out, we were all ruined out by now.  We found Richard drinking a beer at the restaurant at trail head.

1700 a bit cooler with altitude, some dark clouds, 23 C.  Doubled back into Delphi to find a restaurant.  Checked out 3 and went with the cheapest – the others had inflated tourist prices.  But the restaurant had its grill turned off until 2000 evening so some menu choices were limited.  Well, I guess they didn’t have the stove on either.  Kathy and my supper was luke warm.  Debbie’s rice stuffed green peppers were cold and Richard’s moussaka might have been still frozen in the middle.  They served Richard a Pepsi instead of a Coke although he had been quite specific when he asked.  Debbie didn’t like and couldn’t finish her meal so she ordered a milkshake – another joke, only half full plastic cup and it hadn’t been in a blender.  Hand shaken only, I think.

1830 Departed Delphi at dusk.  Richard is driving.  A couple of small narrow mountain towns and then we started dropping down.  The traffic is light, the road is relatively good.  But getting harder to see the road and the map.  1st problem – the road junction where we are supposed to turn left according to the map, doesn’t show up!  Some time later Debbie or Kathy asks if we are on the right road and I have to tell them that I don’t know.  I don’t mention that I have been watching the moon and because it rises in the east then travels south, I believe that we are still heading in the right direction.  That’s right, navigating by moonlight on some unknown road in Greece! Lol.

I tell Richard to turn right because of an Athens sign, then had to ask him to immediately swing back left onto the original road after a quick map check shows it was the wrong turn.  Then the turn at the freeway entrance is terribly marked and we almost missed it.  Finally making good time on the freeway north and west of Athens by about 2000.  Traffic is generally light but lots of speed demons charging our back end then passing at very high speeds.  Coming into Athens we finally see an airport sign which is just as well as the map we have has no detail about interchanges in and around Athens.

2100 dry, clear, full moon, Jupiter?  Arrive Athens airport.  We come in on departure level then try to backtrack to find a gas station to top up the rental car.  Richard asks for help picking up on turns and direction signs.  I tell him to take a right exit which is actually a taxi only exit that takes us right into a taxi parking compound.  We get out, drive through the airport arrivals level and back towards Athens.  We see the Shell gas sign near an exit and head out and up for gas.

On the way back I put Richard into the wrong lane and we missed the lane for returning rental cars – went back through the arrivals level again and some quick lane changes followed by a non-intuitive right turn and there we were.  But no Avis rep. out at the lot, so we backed down an exit ramp, turned around, drove past the police in the wrong lane and turned into the rental car parking lot.  We returned the car keys inside the airport, not out at the lot.  Then up to Arrivals and said goodbye to Richard and Kathy at 2130.  They are waiting at the airport until their flight departs at 0600 the following morning.

Debbie and I caught the 2205 metro back into Athen’s Monastiraki station.  We walked 3 blocks to the Plaka Hotel and checked in.  The street restaurants were stuffed with people at 2300!  We have a terrific view of the Acropolis from our room, and soft beds.  Debbie is happy.  Drinks on the rooftop patio then downstairs.  Internet is busy so back to our room for TV, wine, clean up and goodnight.

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