Athens: first two days

Athens, Greece

Wed 13th and Thurs 14th June

It is 5.30 on Thursday afternoon and I am writing this from the deck of the roof-top pool whilst Tom is having a swim and spa. I have a clear view across to my right of the magnificent Parthenon sitting majestically on top of Acropolis rock. At night this deck is transformed into an outdoor dining area and, with the Parthenon lit up and glowing in the background, the whole scene is quite magical and spectacular.

We have been reasonably busy since arriving in Athens on Tuesday night. The weather has been kind to us with hot and sunny days so far of around 30oC. Our hotel is quite new and along the lines of those Mark has been used to for the last few years so, he is back in his comfort zone! The Residence Georgio hotel is situated just outside and to the north of the busy and touristy Old Town area of Plaka. We went for a walk after settling into our rooms and found a good, cheap restaurant to eat at for our first night, the kind of one where locals dine. Our plans for Wednesday were to laze by the pool for the morning, take the tourist bus 400 that follows a set route around Athens passing all the key sights and then to finish up browsing through and having a meal in the Plaka area. This plan was followed like clock work.

Today, Thursday, was not so laid back though. We took a day trip by bus out of Athens to the Argolis area which involved a 7.15am pick up from our hotel. This area, a couple of hours to the west of town, took in Daphne, the Corinth Canal, Nauplion and Mycenae. The Corinth Canal was quite an amazing sight being 6.3 km long yet only 24 m wide. The road bridge above the Canal was suspended 80 m above the water which in turn was only 8m deep. Large ships have to be tugged the entire length of the Canal and we saw one being towed during our short photo-stop there. Our stop at Nauplion turned out to be a mere 5 min photo stop which was very disappointing for me. This was one of the places that had caught my interest as it is meant to be the prettiest town in all of Greece and I had hoped we would be able to explore a little bit. Well…’little’ was right. This will have to go into my book of ‘things I want to come back to do properly’. Mycenae proved to be an interesting stop for the family though captivating Annabelle especially as she had only just finished reading ‘Helen of Troy’. This area is the legendary home of Agamemnon, the most powerful King of Mycenae during the Trojan War. He was Helen’s brother in Law and the one who helped to return her to Sparta after a 10 year battle. The history associated with the area made this a fascinating and rather special stop. We visited the spectacular beehive tomb believed to be that of Agamemnon and his family that dates back 1500 years BC! We also walked through the old palace or fortress of the same age where once these legends of history had strolled. Makes one feel rather insignificant.

My peace by the pool has ended. Mark and Annabelle have returned from the shop. Tom is out of the pool and they are all squabbling around me. Thus, I will sign off for today.

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