First Night in Athens

25th August 2009

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This was just after a six year old copped a feel of Aubrey’s bum and then raced through the crowd. To her credit, Aubrey just let out a startled, “HUH!” and kept right on walking, as the men on the street roared. In retrospect, we think the kid might have been part of a pick-pocket distraction technique, though no pockets were picked. Such is the upside of traveling with an unflappable Southern girl.

Shortly afterward, we got caught in a sea of fourteen year olds, who swept us up a hillside in their wake. When we got our wits about us, Aubrey said, “I believe we’ve just accidentally found the church parking lot where teenagers go to makeout.” We refrained from making out with any teenagers.

Other small differences between here and home:

-The bathrooms have single use toothbrushes with toothpaste already on.
-Cats on the street sit under your table and meow for supper.
-At 11 p.m. on a Tuesday night, everyone is still gathered on the square.
-If you accidentally make eye contact with a man on the street, he takes you very, very seriously.

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Laura. Get your bum over here. There’s a six year old we want you to meet.

Intel is making my site more interesting by sponsoring my Mighty Life List over the next few months. I’m in Greece because of them. Hi, you guys!

19 thoughts on “First Night in Athens

  1. chiquita

    When I was in Athens, I saw a dog waiting at a stoplight to cross the street. The animals are very savvy there.

  2. Accidental Olympian

    Have dinner in the square (that for the life of me I can’t remember) underneath the Parthenon. As you eat dinner at 10pm, watching people dance, and laugh and mill around you you’ll be able to look upwards and see the Parthenon lit up in all it’s glory hundreds of feet above you.

    I loved how while I was in Athens it seemed the Parthenon was watching over the city, keeping us safe with it’s infinite wisdom.

  3. k

    It’s been a long time since I was in Athens, but your comments bring it all back. I recall it being old world sexist with horrible traffic and a lot of stray dogs walking about. Fascinating place full of contradictions. Have you seen the laser lights play out over the Acropolis yet? Weird to travel in from half a world away for a Disney-like experience.

    The strong coffee is great. And all the archaeological digs going on all over the place. And the custard-filled pastries and the feta and the wooden boats by the port, all painted in bright Mediterranean colors…

    Enjoy. I did.

  4. amanda

    Yay! On-the-go blogging — that’s what really makes this an interesting exercise. I want to know more about the places you’re visiting and get more of a feel for the people and the life. Awesome.

  5. amy

    get thee to Mykonos and go to the Elena Hotel. They know me there. I used to live there! Email me and I will give you names of cool peeps. Are you going to the islands?

  6. Erin Murphy

    I am late to the Greece news and have never commented before, but I was just in Greece for two weeks in May–Athens for four days, a week on Naxos (with a day trip to Delos and Mykonos), two days on Santorini. It was heavenly! We did lots of wandering, not a ton that was planned, and saw so much.

    I know you’ve gotten a lot of tips already so I won’t belabor any of it except for two things: 1) Make a little effort, speak just a tiny bit of Greek, and people break into huge grins and you get lots of extra attention and conversation (in English)–well, well worth the effort, and just plain courteous, too. 2) Best ice cream I ever had in my life (and I eat a lot of ice cream) was at Pagato Mania on Mykonos. I have dreams about the stuff to this day.

  7. Erin Murphy

    Ah, I can’t help it–one more thing! I found much better shopping in Chora, the old part of the main town in Naxos, than I did in Mykonos (although I was only in Mykonos for a few short hours; it just seemed to be more cheap schlock than anything–perhaps I didn’t get to the right part of Mykonos Town, though). If you do decide to take a day ferry to Naxos, you must go to Techni, two shops almost facing each other in the “old market,” the tiny, winding cobbled maze that is below the Kastro, which are full of the most amazing local textiles–carpets, linens, decorate pillow cases, wall coverings, and the like–as well as beautiful jewelry and other amazing finds; and Loom, which specializes in clothes made from organic Greek cotton. (Shopping on Santorini is really expensive–and even more so in August, I’m guessing, than in May when I was there.)

  8. Mimi Rosenheim

    Have a wonderful time. I was in Athens, ugh, 17 years ago, and there were cats everywhere. I met an American tourist who took her daughter to the park to throw Friskies at the kitties. No ducks in sight…

    I’ve been following your life list, Bryan’s birthday and your camping trip and have incorporated your sage advice in some of my planning. Savor this time but don’t forget to keep the posts coming.

  9. Renee

    So exciting! I’m half Greek so I’m dying to make that trip one day! My father was adopted from Greece when he was one, and he has returned several times to find and visit his birth family.

    Based on my father’s trips to Greece… You must go to a wedding. The entire city celebrates! You should try and makes friends with a family and have dinner with them in their home because dinner is a nightly event.

    And yes… people in Greece are up all night. They eat their very long dinner, take a nap, and then get up after midnight to go to the “disco”

    So jealous. Greece is on my Mighty List for sure

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