Saturday, 4 June 2016

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Monastiraki Square and Acropolis
So early Tuesday morning saw us making our way to Heathrow with just two small cabin bags and a pacsafe travel bag housing our laptops, cameras/phones, kindles and other paraphernalia we decided we couldn't do without for the next six weeks. First stop Athens. Although I had visited mainland Greece and many of its Islands over the years I had never been to Athens before and it was at the top of my list mainly because of its Acropolis and associated archeological sites. As direct flights to Samos don't start until next week it was a great opportunity to combine Athens with this trip as Samos is only a short forty minute hop by prop plane.

Arriving at Athens airport we took the Metro into Monastiraki Square which was where we would be staying for the next two nights. The district of Monastiraki is the ideal place to stay for visiting the Acropolis and has a distinct village feel about it being full of quaint streets with vintage shops, lots of cafe's and restaurants and the entrance to the flea market. Our hotel A for Athens had a rooftop bar and restaurant which is where the above pic was taken.

Fabulous Enastron
As we only had a limited time in Athens we decided the short trek through the square up to the Acropolis to view the Parthenon and other ancient buildings would be best done early in the morning before it became to hot and crowded followed by a long leisurly lunch. Lots of restoration work going on, however as this fabulous ancient temple complex dates back to the 5th century BC its not surprising and the surrounding views over Athens are breathtaking.

Folowing our visit to the Acropolis we wandered back down and meandered along the gorgeous narrow pedestrian streets of the Plaka district in search of our recommended restaurant for lunch. Having been advised to avoid the tourist restaurants our helpful receptionist at the hotel recommended the Enastron as being frequented by locals and serving authentic traditional Greek food. He was right, chickpeas baked in the oven, simple but delicious, feta with honey and sesame seeds and a lovely little pie called pastourma and this just for starters. Mains called for grilled beef liver perfectly cooked for Lovejoy and chicken souvlaki for me washed down with a bottle of dry white wine from an aromatic Greek grape called Moschofilero. The service and surroundings in this little place were just perfect. Feeling rather full after lunch we continued to wander around soaking up the atmosphere and taking pics of the district and even some Athens street art.

The following morning we discovered there would be a transport strike from 11 o'clock meaning no metro to the airport so we left earlier than anticipated and hung around the airport until we could board our flight to Samos. I'm finishing this post on day 12 of our trip, I have 32 days left and a lot has happened since leaving Athens, however sadly my blogging is not keeping up with events. We have been all over Samos and tomorrow we are going over to Kusadasi in Turkey and will be visiting the archeological site of Ephesus and apparantly the house of the Virgin Mary. Ancient ruins may not suit everyone but I'm in heaven.