Daily Journal: Friday, 24 March 2017

Another beautiful day in Athens with a high of 75F. After checking the forecast for today, I thought it would be a great day to visit the harbor. Not sure if this is part of the Aegean Sea or is it considered to be the Mediterranean sea. In any case, nice to see on a day with lots of blue sky.

To get there, I needed to take the Metro train and then walk a little. Another new experience to understand the city’s transportation, purchasing a ticket or pass and navigating the train network. (Think I’m getting good at this.) I managed to get a 5-day pass and directly onto a train (thankfully) headed to the shoreline.

Route to Pireas:

It was still a 15 minute walk to the shore from the Metro stop, but I passed through a few neighborhoods along the way and saw people going about their daily routines. (This is the part about traveling that I really enjoy.) As I got to the harbor, I was stopped by a restaurant owner who wanted me to see his menu. Common in many cities where you’re approached on the street and invited into a restaurant. We had a good talk and said I needed to be on my way. Who knows – maybe I’ll go back and have a meal there.

What a great day for a walk. The water was so blue and a number of people were getting into the water. I walked through a marina and saw people getting their boats ready, I imagine, for the weekend. Got some nice pictures from a higher point along the harbor and then down by the shore.

Some orange trees along the street were ripe with their fruit.

The other thing I wanted to do today was to visit the U.S. Embassy and ask questions about the visa rules for U.S. travelers. Was a little confused when I met with the Cyprus boarder control who said I didn’t have many days left to be in Greece and Hungary. (U.S.citizens, with a passport, can be in most European countries for 90 days out of every 180 days.)

Just getting into the embassy was interesting. Very high security. And a good-sized building too. But I got in just fine and was able to meet with someone who gave me some good advice and showed me how to keep track of my time in each country. I also have the same questions for the U.K. people, but that will be another day.

I noticed that when I left the embassy, and I had to turn my phone on again (requirement for being in the embassy) that the phone required me to enter a SIM card Pin number to activate the SIM card. Yikes! I didn’t have the PIN number with me. And since I couldn’t access the maps or my address in Athens I had to rely on memory. I also needed to instruct the taxi driver where to drop me off. I did wander around some when I got into my neighborhood, but eventually found the flat.

When I got into the flat and found the PIN number, I must have done something wrong because the phone wanted another number in addition to the PIN. To make a long story short, I took a taxi to the nearest Vodafone store and they unlocked my phone. Not an adventure to have when you’ve been walking most of the day. Oh well, that is the life of a traveler.

All is well…

(Over 18,000 steps today.)

 

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