Friday, May 16, Athens

Delphi was somewhere that Mynde had been looking forward to since we decided that Greece was our vacation destination. However, there were a few considerations that were not completely realized and/or taken into account during the vacation planning. One such consideration was the extremely quick pace of our itinerary and another was that Delphi was about 3.5 hours by bus from our hotel room–one way. That said, we opted to just relax, sleep in a little and check out some more ancient sites that were closer and that we had not seen during our first day in Athens. All that really means is that we will get to visit Delphi on our next visit to Greece.

We did, in fact, sleep in until 8:20a.m.–and had a lazy morning of breakfast and writing (the internet connection was not working so we just used word and are just now posting.) We decided to make the quick walk to the “Temple of Zeus”…which happened to be literally a 2 minute walk from our hotel! For me, these particular “rocks” were more enjoyable than the previous day but only because there were very few tourists and we wandered around exploring without stress and at our own pace. Of course, the Acropolis is so much more famous and extensive, but these were interesting and awe-inspiring in their own right. We met a friendly turtle that we fed some apple, watched an entire flock of birds flying in circular patterns around the columns and just strolled peacefully amongst the two-century old ruins–perfect!

After we had our fill of Zeus’ Temple, we walked over to the National Gardens. We stumbled upon a movie crew shooting a Greek movie and stood in the background watching for a take or two, found a pen with chickens, roosters and peacocks inside and watched them for some time, and finally joined at least 30 children to check out some snapping turtles swimming in a pond. Whew what a stroll…and what a difference, we only climbed about 22 steps in the entire distance!

With plenty of time left to explore, we found the street with the “guards.” Interestingly-dressed men standing outside the Government building and changing positions at various times. Somewhat like the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in D.C. or at Buckingham Palace but with much higher leg-kicks and tap shoes on for effect. I noticed that there were a lot of police everywhere on this street but figured it was “normal.” About that time, two men in suits in front of us motioned to two men to our right and then we were told to “cross to the other side immediately.” Ten seconds later, a motorcade of 7 black sedans rolled up and two stopped in the street, 3 turned in the driveway and 2 stopped at the other end of the street. News and photographers were feverishly snapping shots as 5 men in black “dresses” and even hats with full veils stepped out of the cars and were ushered quickly inside. We asked someone in the small crowd who it was that just arrived and she said that it was the head of the Eastern Orthodox church there to visit the Prime Minister. We have tried to google news to find out for sure, but could find nothing. Oh well, it was a little exciting for 3 minutes and then we walked on to continue our Athens experience.

It was back to the Plaka for more eating, shopping and people-watching to fill our afternoon. We were back to the hotel early and sat on the roof for a while reading…it was so pleasant up there, just close enough to the excitement but just far enough from the chaos and people who would like us to spend our money at their shop/cafe.
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