Monday, 3 September 2007

Athena lot in Athens

From Ancona in Italy, i booked a 21hour ferry to the port of Patras in Greece. After realising that my recliner seat only reclined 10cm, i ended up sleeping on the floor (pic), reminding myself of the night spent on the airport floor in Hong Kong...oh well, Athens was only another 3 hour bus ride away!
Upon arrival at Parliament house in the centre of Athens, i found myself wandering through thousands of people dressed in black t-shirts protesting to the Government about how they haven't dealt with the massive fires properly where they are still ablaze.
Quickly dumping my bags at my hostel close by, i went back out, hoping something interesting might happen as there were riot police everywhere. In the end nothing much did happen, just the police firing a few warning explosions in the air which seemed to make at least a third of the crowd disappear. After speaking to the receptionist about it on his thoughts, he put it simply by saying, "if all those (at least 10,000) protesters got a bucket of water each and dumped it on the fires instead of complaining, they wouldn't have anything to complain about."
It's the end of summer and it's hot.
37 degrees which is actually ok whereas a month ago it averaged 45 degrees. I spent the next day visiting as many of the historical sites as i could in the dry heat. The Acropolis is amazing and with the Parthenon (pic) under construction to keep it standing, i was able to look past all the scaffolding and cranes and imagine it as it were thousands of years ago. The 360 degree view of Athens from the top of the Acropolis was also breath taking. Athens is huge and would take forever to explore.
Got up at the crack of sparrows the next day to visit the monasteries in the skies at Meteora! Ideally i should have spent 2 days here, but with my limited time i took a 5 hour bus ride then a further 45 minute bus to get there and another 6 hour bus ride back home. Well worth it in the end. Monasteries built on top of vertical rock hills and mountains with views of the valleys below. They are still being used today where you can visit them by walking or busing it to each one. It was a good day but a long one, especially the bus home, full of sweaty and hairy old Greek men and women. The women with their arms waving and shouting something at their husbands and the looks on the men's faces wishing their wives would just shut up. Ha ha ha.

I am off to the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Ios for the next 2 weeks.