Oct.24.2010, Athens

graffiti art in Psyrri

This morning, Debbie announced that it was our last day in Cuba!

0730 sunny, clear blue skies.  Out of bed and down to breakfast 0815.  Had the air conditioning fan too high last night and our sleep was restless.  It may be end of trip jitters too.  1000  Set out from the hotel.  What a trek!  First we went to Syntagma, stopped in and checked out the lobby of the Grande Bretagne Hotel – a classic.  Then started heading northeast towards stores mentioned in the Frommer’s Day by Day guide.  But, as it is a Sunday, most shops up in this area are closed – maybe open later but they are high end shops, not really what we are after.  So then we switched direction.  We crossed behind the national library & university.  We saw a block long flea market and went through, taking us to Panipistimou street that we followed up to Omonia square.  270° around the square then headed south on Athenas.  Saw a couple of people sleeping on benches and one in a doorway – the first we have seen on our trip.  3 blocks down Athenas then west on Epidavrou, looking for local artisans referenced in Frommer’s and heading to Psyrri.  Didn’t find any shops of interest.  The area appears run down.  Sunny, blue sky, 21 C.  Continued into Psyrri – a gigantic flea market, like Sunday at Cassidy!  Then rounded a corner and found the Jason Inn.  We think that Chrystal and Lindsay may have stayed here (confirmed later).  Nice lobby, better than ours but the neighbourhood is a bit dicey.

By the Kerameikos cemetary, one of the oldest in Athens, then back along Ermou.  It’s a huge Sunday flea market!  We saw Thissio metro station and followed Apostoulou Pavlou south.  Stopped for a Greek coffee / cappacino break.  Continued south on A. Pavlou to the bus stop in front of the Acropolis, then struck south along Garibaldi looked for shops in Makriyanni but didn’t find any.  Headed northeast and came out alongside the New Acropolis Museum, then headed into Plaka.  Let the shopping begin!  Lots of back and forth up Adrianou.  1430 Headed back to Plaka Hotel and dropped off purchases from the morning, early afternoon.  A short break, then headed out again.

Observation: Sunday is Greek family day in downtown Athens – at least when the weather is good.  Everyone turns out, some after church, some in their suits and best dresses.  Sunday is also flea market day over a large district from Psirri to Thissio.

1515 sunny, blue sky, 22 C.  Out again, over to Ermou but the guy who twists stainless wire into Greek names wasn’t there.  Up to Syntagma then south on Filellinon, cutting back into Plaka on Kadathineon.  Stopped at the restaurant that we had promised to return to earlier in the day, at 1600.  Unfortunately they had just run out of the cuttlefish special so I had to settle for another of their specialties – veal with onions.  Debbie had spaghetti, this time with tomato sauce.  Also we shared a honey poundcake dessert.  Somewhere after supper we found the Student and Traveller’s Inn again, where Chrystal and Lindsay had stayed their second night in Athens.  Did they see the 4 pub crawl tour signboard just a little down the block?  Shopped our way through Plaka, finally returning to the vicinity of our hotel just before 1800.  Along the way, Debbie found a woman twisting stainless steel wire into Greek names and got one for Cassidy.

Checked the internet – no messages from the kid but one from SeaAir saying we could get on the 1715 seaplane flight tomorrow from the airport (Fraser River) to Departure Bay in Nanaimo.  Also, an e-mail from Kathy saying they were tired from being up for 48 hours.  Richard & Kathy’s e-mail asked if we could pick up a bust of a Spartan warrior. I wrote back saying we got the message too late.  But when we left we decided to walk through the shops as far as Monastiraki.  Sunny, blue sky, starting to cool off.  The shops were closing their doors at this time on Sunday but a few were still open as they had customers inside.  We struck out on the first 3.  I found a bust I liked but it turned out it was Athena – the bust had breasts!  We found Leonides’ bust, 300 Spartan fame, in the 4th shop, bought him and decided to give him as a gift to R&K for sharing the RCI resorts with us.  Debbie’s idea and a good one.  Back to the hotel, up to the roof and with Baileys and red wine in hand in a front row seat we watched the sun set and lights come up on the Acropolis.  After that, down to our room, we each had a shower and straightened up our suitcases.  Deb went to bed at 2015 and I journalled until 2040.  Alarms and wake up call are set for 0200 in the morning.  Goodnight!

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