ATHENS

I am in Athens. As with New York, it’s a wonderful town!

The plane was late. I was not checked into the hotel and cleaned up till 11 in the evening. It was out on the town at 11! I did not get back to the hotel till 2 in the morning. It has been years since I have been out that late.

Lets start yesterday with my morning.

Novara was cold. All of a sudden. Needed long pants and a jacket or sweater. I had packed the night before. Could pull out a windbreaker. My long pants were at the bottom. I was not going to mess things up by going after them. My legs were cold till I got to Athens.

Flew Aegean Airlines to Athens. Same flight as last year.

Aegean is a great airline. There were obvious differences from American airlines. I was flying economy. Free food and alcohol. Stewardesses. Not attendants. Only females. No one even close to 30. No discrimination laws in Greece!

One difference, however. Last year, I received a full meal. This year a sandwich and cookie. The Greek recession must be having an affect the airline.

It was 11 and I was out on the town!

I headed for Plaka. I wanted a couple of drinks and dinner. Plaka is a huge area of bars and restaurants. All outside. All on top of each other.

Business was booming! Tons of people!

The Plaka runs into another play area. Monastiraki. Both basically the same.

I saw old friends. Acropolis and Parthenon brilliantly lite on the hill. Hadrian’s Library in Plaka itself.

Everything is the Acropolis and Parthenon. There is an affluent side and a poor side. The view is the same. The difference is in the cost of meals and drinks. I dined on the cheap side last night.

The Acropolis and Parthenon were in my direct view from where I sat. A building called Agora and another known in English as the God of Fire were nearby. Agora is actually known as Ancient Agora. It was the first market place in the world. Established 1500 years before the birth of Christ.

Had a great waiter. Nikos. Fortyish. I was asking questions about the buildings. Interrupting him. Finally, he put up his hand as if to say stop and said…..This is my neighborhood! Notice, not country. Neighborhood. He had lived his whole life within six blocks of the restaurant.

I ate like a king. I have to share the meal with you. It was that good.

Started with baked egg plant. Not what I expected. It was tender egg plant buried under fine feta cheese and very tiny pieces of tomato in a light oily red sauce. Dinner was a meat combination dish. Each piece a gourmet’s delight! The lamb! So good! Chicken and pork the same. Lamb patties delicious. The best, if there could be anything better, were the potatoes and cheese. Hot boiled potatoes covered in olive oil. Feta cheese, again. Ground finer than cottage cheese.

The bill for two was 43.5 euros. About $50 American money. Four drinks, two desserts and a large bottle of water included. A steal!

Tipping continues to be a problem. Coperto only applies in Italy I learned. Greece works differently. There is no tipping.

I did not know.

I placed an extra ten euros on the table as a tip. My friends went crazy. I was told that in Greece, tipping is not required. Waiters are paid a full salary by the restaurant. It would be proper to leave one or two euros if you liked the service. That was it.

I still felt guilty. It did not seem proper. I compromised. Took back the 10 euro bill and left a 5 euro one. To the dismay of my friends.

The group was still in a partying mood. I was beat. I left them and started back to the hotel. Somewhere I must have taken a wrong turn. I ended up in a neighborhood I had never seen before. It was dark and shadowy. Then it was noisy as hell! I discovered a new neighborhood of bars and restaurants. Different from Plaka. Still fun. Maybe more fun.

It was a little after 2 when I finally found my hotel.

Jet lag is pretty much gone. I am seven hours ahead of Key West time. The difference most of the time between day and night.

I have no idea what I am going to do this afternoon.

Enjoy your day!

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