Daily Journal: Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Woke up around 9:00 a.m. this morning. My first day in Athens (Greece). It was a long day yesterday in the airports and didn’t get to my flat in Athens until after 10:30 p.m. the night before. More on this later…

The map below shows Cairo at the bottom, the island of Cyprus in the middle and Athens near the top.

Feeling very rested after a week in Hurghada. Finally have been able to get a full night’s sleep. Was important for me to “unplug” from the responsibilities of traveling. For me, to “unplug” means to get plenty of rest and just enjoy everything. Staying in a hotel with good room service was an added benefit.

I got out for long walks each day. Also took advantage of  the hotel’s walkway out into the Red Sea. Being in Hurghada during the off season, from what I understand, was a good way to avoid the tourist crowds. They will arrive during the summer to escape the heat.

Had some great food. And a birthday cake.

Before leaving, Hurghada had a dust storm. I’d never been in one and thankfully, this one was a small one. In the morning, most everything was covered in dust. Normally, this view from the window would look out as far as the Red Sea.

Was in Luxor too, visiting with my friends at the Luxor Hilton, then left for Cairo and then Athens. Because I didn’t allow for enough time to change planes in Cairo, I missed the connection to Athens. To remedy this,  I was rerouted to Cyprus and then on to Athens. One casualty was my suitcase which didn’t make it to Athens with me. As I’m composing this update, my suitcase is on its way from the Athens airport to my flat.

Views from the Nile from my room in Luxor.

Between Luxor and Cairo you can see, from the plane, the old river beds that resulted from the annual flooding of the Nile. The river no longer floods to this extent so these ancient river beds will remain until erosion eventually erases them.

My Airbnb host was very kind when I arrived late. He showed me around the flat and then took time to mark the places he would recommend I visit while here. Meanwhile, I was thinking about my suitcase. Would I ever see it again?

Airbnb Listing:  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/12864326

Given all that, still had a good sleep last night and woke refreshed this morning. After making some coffee and having a shower, I put on my clothes from yesterday and headed out the door. I knew where to go on my first day, The Acropolis of Athens where I’ll find the Parthenon. The only other “to-do” item on my list was a visit to Vodafone to get a SIM card for my phone.

Heading towards the Acropolis was interesting. There really isn’t a direct and well-marked route to it. You can’t miss it, since it can be seen from many places in Athens, but there were few signs. Even with GPS, the ancient roads are difficult to follow. In any case, I had a good time wandering around the side streets until I found a road where I started to see tourists all heading in the same direction. Was a little concerned that it would be a long uphill climb and found out it was actually very easy.

Along the way to the Acropolis, I saw some shoes that would be fun to wear.

Also, motorbikes are used to get around the city. This block was lined by parked bikes on both sides of the street.

Once at the ticket booth to the Acropolis, I found the layout of the site easier to understand. There are a number of ruins nearby so there is a lot to see. From the ticket booth, there are 60+ steps from there to get up to the top level. At each level during the climb the view of the Acropolis, and the city below, became more spectacular.

Pictures of the stones worn by years of visitors.

The Parthenon had scaffolding, but the building was still standing strong. You could see where parts of many columns had been replaced. Back in the day, it must have been quite something to see. I took pictures of the smooth rocks that have been worn down by the masses of people visiting this popular site. (See above.) The ground is very uneven so an attempt to pave some of the paths was a good idea. Still, you had to watch your step.

On the way back to the flat, and hopefully have some word that my suitcase was found, I came across a Vodafone store. The price for a SIM card was only 18 Euros and the clerk was able to install the SIM card and get me on my way in about 20 minutes. Very happy.

About this time I was getting dog tired. Maybe still a little run down from yesterday. It was about an hour walk back to the flat. On the way I learned that my suitcase had been found. Later I found out that it would arrive later in the evening. I got some pizza from a nearby store and then took a much needed nap.

Tomorrow, I have a museum to visit and a Segway tour, like the one I had in Bruges, Belgium. Booked a two-hour tour. Think this will be an easy way to get around and have fun ta’ boot!

Update: The suitcase arrived! In good shape and all items accounted for.

 

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