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Touring, not tourists

December 23rd, 2013 (by Steve)

We hate being tourists. Standing in the middle of a square with an oversized map in hand. Looking confused. Getting in everyone’s way. That’s why we try not to be typical tourists when we visit a city. Yes, we like to see the sights, but also the real city. And so it was with Athens. A bus and a metro into the centre of Athens from our campsite (sorry Julien + Anais, we’re not as bold as you; we opted to stay at a campsite rather than brave city “wild camping”… plus the campsite had washing facilities) and we were ready to “do” Athens, our way.

So what does that actually mean? Well, we got a bus into Athens, walked to the Acropolis and had a lovely chat about London with a lady who offered to be our personal tour guide, before we decided the ticket prices were too expensive to go in. From there we wandered north, through an arty area of Athens (Psiri), up to an area where a lot of anti-fascist protestors hang out. There weren’t many signs of them, but there was plenty of fascinating grafitti. After a cheap coffee and pastry, we wandered towards the panathenaic stadium, decided it was worth 3 Euros each to go in and didn’t regret the decision. It would have been worth the money just to look at the collection of Olympic posters and torches they have there. After a lot more walking, we ended the day with a couple of Souvlakis each before heading back to the campsite, 20 Euros lighter than we left, but feeling like we’d had a pretty good overview of Athens.

athens

The following morning we went to find the washing facilities… only to be told by the owner that they consisted of some 6 Euro washing machines in a launderette 5 minutes up the road. Turns out that hand washing underwear takes quite a while… but once that was done and Bertha was decorated to resemble a laundry, we hit the road, finding a lovely beach to park next to for the night. This actually turned out to be our model for the next few days; hitting the road and finding a beach to park next to, not the hand washing!

beaches

We’d been tipped off that Epidavros was worth a visit, so this was our one other “touristy” visit in Greece and once again, well worth it just for the amphitheatre alone. We’ve concluded that amphitheatres really are the result of architectural, scientific and artistic prowess being smashed together to form something brilliant. I mean they’re great to look at, they’re acoustically mind-blowing and they are created as a stage for artistic expression; they’re brilliant “on so many levels” (to quote an accidental pun of Kiri’s!)

epidavros

The day that we travelled up to Patras for our final night in Greece marked exactly a week since we had bought a bag of 64 satsumas for 5 Euros and we were down to our last 2. I’d like to think that the excessive consumption of orange-like fruits led to the moment of madness that then ensued. I saw some oranges for sale by the side of the road. So I bought some. I say some. OK, so we bought a 10 kilo bag of oranges, but they were only 3 Euros! Guess we’ll be eating a lot of oranges in the next few days.

Sadly our 10 days in Greece had to come to an end. As we parked up for the night next to a beach near Patras, we enjoyed watching the windsurfers in front of the Rio bridge. However, we didn’t make the logical connection between windsurfers and wind as quickly as we should, leading to a very windy night. We’ve enjoyed touring Greece and have to say that 10 days is only really enough to give a tiny taste of the country – we would love to return.


All posts about Greece

Up Pompeii

Touring, not tourists

Simple life doesn’t mean easy life

On the shoulders of giants

4 Responses

Kali Spera! And a very Merry Christmas, too! Sad to hear you are leaving Greece – but look forward to hearing where you are heading next (and for Christmas!) with lots of love, Rachel & Andrew.xx

Good shout on the Acropolis! Mad busy and totally without atmosphere when we visited. Rather good views though, and an interesting insight into the world of Med cruises. Such a short time in Greece, but Europe is a big old place. If you head to Sicily, head up to Etna. It’s quite fabulous from car parks on the north and south sides, although the chair lift up to the top is painful on the contract pocket! Happy Xmas guys, wherever you are. Jay

Yes, I agree – Sciliy and Etna, a definate must!!

Merry Xmas hobbits.

Thank you all – we’re just north of Rome for Christmas, so might not make it back down to Sicily… but we don’t really know where we’re going next!

Happy Christmas to all!

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