Yesterday, I slept late. I was comfortable in bed. My body refused to move.

Later, I took a walk. Up and down Ermou Street, Athen’s busiest commercial street. I finally learned its name yesterday even though I have spoken of it every day.

Saw an inviting outdoor café. Took a table. Sat for two hours watching the Greek world go by. I ordered a freddo cappuccino. It is a cold cappuccino. It is the only Greek coffee I have learned by name. Ergo, it is my drink of choice where ever I go.

I made some observations and arrived at some conclusions while sitting. Let me share them with you.

Spaghetti seems to be the lunch favorite in Greece. The famous Greek salad comes in the evening.

There have been no demonstrations while I have been in Athens this year. Last year, I was fortunate to walk through two involving thousands of people. There are union called protests. Nothing however like the ad hoc yelling crowds of last summer.

I constantly learn. Learn of my mistakes. I always thought Acropolis and Parthenon were two separate sets of old buildings on top of the same mountain. Turns out Acropolis is the mountain and Parthenon the buildings.

Sneaks are different in Greece. Whether male or female, they are low slung. Similar to the American walking sneak. No one wears the big Nike. I did. Stopped. Thought I looked foolish, that every one was looking at my feet.

Sandals are also big with men and women. I was ok in this regard. Sandals have a universal appearance.

Women’s foot attire is another story. Athens needs a Stephanie Kaple. Heels forget. On the whole trip thus far, I have seen one set of stiletto heels. A woman working in a high end jewelry store on Santorini was wearing a pair of four inchers.

Platform shoes are worn. Not that many, however. Most women, whether dressed or casual, walk around in sandals with full backs at the ankles. They seem to be the female shoe of choice.

The New Dawn Party is a rebirth of the Nazi Party. It is a growing influence in Greece. When I see them in their black uniforms, I feel the same way as I did on Amorgos when the big Greek Coast Guard vessel arrived and sat in the middle of the entrance to the harbor for several days. Intimidated.

Automobiles were in the minority in Milan. Mopeds were the vehicle of choice. In Athens, it is the motorcycle. I have never seen so many. Crossing the street is a dangerous event!

Young Greek men are lovers. Especially in Athens. They move on every woman, regardless of age. The ladies seem to expect and enjoy it.

There is a constant sense of being a part of history when a person is in Greece. Much like visiting the Washington Memorials, Mount Vernon or Gettysburg.

I quick visited a museum I came across behind Parliament. Entry fee 10 euros. What country are you from? The USA. 10 euros. Seems only the US and German patrons pay 10 euros. Everyone else, 2 euros. We know the Greeks hate the Germans. I can understand why the Germans would not be given a break. But why an American citizen? The Greeks seem to love us. Big time! I suspect they believe Americans are all rich and can afford full price.

The young lady collecting the admission fee at the door and I had a brief chat. She was very upset. She recently finished her university education. She has four degrees. Could not get a job. She works as a ticket seller at the museum and makes a paltry 300 euros a month. $400 American money. She is angered.

I stopped at the Grande Bretagne for a manicure. The same young lady that did me last year did me yesterday. Her name, Chrysa. She said upon seeing me…..You are from Key West, you were here last year. Amazing!

I shall close with the saga of the two elevators.

I think I am losing it a bit.

I had to take the elevator to get to the beauty shop. The elevator doors shut behind me. I looked to both sides and saw no button panel. I did see a sign at eye level. It was dark, had on sunglasses, and have bad vision to boot. The word VOICE stood out. Next to the sign were two little speakers.

I was impressed. A new elevator concept. You recall I experienced one in Washington, DC recently. I said….Two. Nothing happened. I have a clear deep distinct voice. I repeated the number several times. Nothing happened.

I thought…..Shit, I’m stuck in an elevator!

My eyes dropped. There at about knee level was the usual appearing button panel. I pressed 2 and was on my way. I read the sign when the doors opened at 2. The message was in effect to relax if you were stuck. A voice would come on in due course and you could talk to someone.

I returned to my hotel. I am staying in 806. The door opener is one of those swipe things. The door would not open. It had opened the previous two days with no trouble using the same card. I found the floor cleaning lady and told her of my plight. She agreed to let me in. We tried my card again first. She asked what my room number was. I told her 806. We were on the sixth floor and I was trying to get into 606!

Enjoy your day!


My patience is being tried!

I continue to be inept at posting the trip photos. Sloan just left. I think we have it down to a science now. I am doing tomorrow’s post (Wednesday’s) Tuesday evening. I want to make sure I have it all correct.

You will first read this blog. Then three sets of photos should appear. Novara, Athens and Santorini. In that order. Athens should be after Santorini. However, it printed out in that order and I could not change it.

My grandchildren Robert and Ally could probably do what I have not been able to do here.

Let me share with you some background re the Athens photos.

I loved Athens! Santorini was best for the view. Athens for the lifestyle. There was a constant electricity in the air. Athens reminded me of New York City. Its old town Plaka the Village of yesteryear.

I spent several days in Athens near the beginning of my trip. Three days near the end.

Athens is civilization. First, a today civilization. After my time on the islands, I could not wait to return to Athens for a few days of civilization. A fancy hotel, an ok bathroom, a huge shower and tub. Amenities that were not available while I was island hopping.

Athens is also the home of civilization. The Acropolis, the Parthenon, Hadrian’s Library, etc. All before even Christ. The quality of the construction amazed me. Stone buildings as good as any that could be built today. Perfection in every detail. The homes and buildings also had a water supply and sewage disposal.

Plaka is an adult playground. It is the old part of Athens. Restauants and shops galore. Day and night. Bustling all the time.

There are 9 photos in the Athens grouping.

The first is me standing below Acropolis and Parthenon. To my right in the picture is a long road I had just walked up. Almost 2 miles at a 30 degree angle. My ass was dragging when this picture was taken.

The next photo is me higher up. I am almost to the end of the steps leading into Acropolis and Parthenon.

The finest (and most expensive) restauant in Athens is Dionysos. In this photo, I am seated at the dinner table. Outside.

The next photo explains one of the reasons why Dionysos was so expensive. I am standing in front of the restaurant. It is evening and dark. Behind me high on a hill lit up is Acropolis and Parthenon. From where I sat in the previous photo, I had a clear and unobstructed view of the buildings some two miles away high on a hill. Thrilling!

Welcome to Plaka. The next pic.

I was frequnetly tired. The next photo is me enjoying an afternoon drink in the Plaka. I was there for the chair more than the booze.

The next photo is me enjoying a night time drink in the Plaka. Plaka was the fun part of Athens.

The next photo represents a part of today’s news. I am standing across the street from Parliamwent. Thousands today demonstrated in front of that building and on the street where I stood. Tens of thousands. The news has already reported today that tear gas, stun grenades and molotov cocktails played a part in the protests. All because of German Chancellor Merkel’s visit. I said in this morning’s blog she would not be welcomed. I anticipated disturbances. They occurred.

Greeks frequently protest. They are an emotional people. A couple of years ago, they demonstrated for some reason I cannot recall. The hotel step my foot is on and all the steps going into the hotel were ripped out by the demonstrators.

The last photo is a view of Parliament from my hotel balcony. Visualize the thousands of people surrounding the building today.

During the last few days of the Athens portion of my trip, I stayed at the Gran Britagne Hotel. I never took a pic of it. All I can provide you is the balcony railing in the last photo. I mention the hotel specifically because of its history. The building is absolutely elegant. The service outstanding. I even had my own butler! During World war II, the Germans threw the hotel operation out and used the Gran Britagne Hotel as their general headquarters.

Enough. I need a drink. I am on my way out.

Enjoy your day!