|I know this journal entry is late...after all I'm home now...but needed to complete this trip journal. Admit it; you've all been anxiously awaiting my final entry! NOT!! Oh well, you're going to get one anyway!
We got into Athens early this morning but the disembarking process can take forever so by the time we got off the ship it was nearly 11am. We waited and waited in the taxi line....along with A LOT of luggage and once we got to the front of the line...the cabs refused to pick us up! Cabs would stop at the front of the taxi line, take one look at our luggage (Helgi and I have two very big pieces BUT it's the only two pieces) and they would say "no, no, too big, can't fit" and move on the next people in line and load up their luggage. It was SO FRUSTRATING!! And we were not trying to all load up into one cab....Sess and Greg had many pieces of luggage and we knew we would need two cabs. We even tried to get one cab driver to divide up the pieces so that they could easily fit in two cabs...would not do it! Finally a cabbie pulls up in a Mercedes and says he'll take us....ALL FOUR OF US...in one car. I said "no way are you going to get all this luggage in your trunk"....and he says "I'll bet you 2000 Euros I will".....of course, I passed and just got in the car. The guy loads up 9 pieces of luggage in the trunk, piling out of the trunk, ties it down with 20 feet of rope and gets in the car with an evil grin on his face. Greg said the trunk reminded him of the animated movie, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" when the Grinch stole all the kids presents and loaded them up in the sleigh. It was pretty comical....while we were stopped at a red light, another cabbie came up beside us and starts yelling at our cab driver...in Greek, of course.....and our cabbie starts laughing and said the guy was yelling at him for overloading his trunk and blocking the view. No way could our driver see out of his car! But he got us to our hotel and all the luggage made it too....Helgi was so impressed that he paid him nearly double what he was asking....I know most of you are saying "WHAT, Helgi did that??" I think he thinks Euros are play money!
By the time we got checked in and off to site see, we didn't have much time. But we went directly to the Acropolis and walked through all the ruins and the museum. Helgi and I enjoyed seeing it all again....we were in Athens just 1.5 years ago. The weather was perfect.....not too hot and a nice, clear sunny day. We did a lot of walking to more ruins, the National Park and the Parliament building. We ended up in the Plaka....kind of the city center where there are a lot of shops and restaurants. And a funny thing happened when we tried to get a cab back to the hotel....none would pick us up! What is it with cabbies in this city?!!? We were literally walking into the middle of the street to hail a cab, they would stop and we would tell them where we were going and they would give us a flip of the hand and hit the gas! And it wasn't just us they did this to....we saw it over and over again....sometimes they would let someone jump in their cab...even saw sometimes letting a second fare just in....and other times say "no" and keep on driving. I think it was because our hotel was not that far away....too far to walk...but not worth the fare to them. We finally got one to take us and, of course, he charges us double what it should have cost. Oh well, by this time we were just glad to get back to our hotel.
Thursday was a killer...up by 4am in Athens, left hotel at 5am for a 7am flight. Flew to Madrid....two hour lay over then flight to Chicago. We got very lucky on that long flight in that it wasn't full and we got an entire center section to ourselves....both Helgi and I got a row as did Sess and Greg behind us. So could really stretch out! So nice! 1.5 hours in Chicago....just enough time to get through customs and take the train to another concourse and catch our flight to San Diego. All of us were exhausted by the time we arrived and looked like we hadn't slept in days!
AND, we hand carried the Santorini platter the whole way. They estimated 150 Euros to have it shipped to the US....ridiculous!! So we hand carried the whole way and I'm happy to say it arrived in one piece!!
We had a wonderful, fantastic, fun-filled time that we will all remember forever!! Thanks for coming along on our journey!