Sunday, June 26, 2011

Athens, Greece

We took at 5 hour boat ride from Naxos to Athens. By this point we were all pretty exhausted from the trip and a 5 hour boat ride was not something we were looking forward to. Thankfully I was able to get Jack to sleep in the stroller and shortly after Luke and I found a table to sleep on as well. 

Nothing like a nap to pass the time. 
Our hotel in Athens was very centrally located and we had a great view of the Acropolis
On the roof terrace where we could see the Acropolis

The only bad thing about being centrally located was that we were right next to the big protests which made it very difficult for us to get around.
At this point the last thing we wanted to do was take another guided tour, but we had already booked and paid for one, so we loaded back on to another tour bus
Pretty much explains how we feel about
guided tour groups

My iPhone kept Jack occupied
The tour bus took us to some of the major sights including the old Olympic stadium
Built in 1896 and hosted the first modern Olympic games
Next we visited the Acropolis museum. The museum is built right on top of Roman ruins that are still being excavated
Under the museum you can watch the workers excavate the site
After the museum we followed the tour group up to the Acropolis. It was a pretty intense hike and I can't imagine doing it any later in the summer. Our tour group was french speaking and I wasn't able to watch Jack and listen to the tour guide so Jack and I split off from the group and wandered around the ruins. I just took pictures of everything that looked interesting, not knowing what I was looking at

Jack was bored to death of ruins and I felt bad for him. So we found a puddle and he was happy to pass the time throwing rocks in the water

Rewarded with an ice cream at the end of the tour
After we got off the tour bus, we vowed never to take another one again... at least not until we are retired.

The rest of the time we explored Athens on our own. Unlike all the stray cats we encountered on the Greek islands, Athens was filled with stray dogs

One day we decided to take Jack somewhere just for him to have fun. We asked around and were told to  take him to Allou fun park about 30 minutes out of the city. So we got a taxi that we had to pay way too much for only to get there and find it was closed until 5pm. Jack had his heart set on the park so we decided to pass the time walking around the nearby malls. Thankfully Jack fell asleep in his stroller and Luke and I escaped the heat by going to a movie theater.
Jack asleep in the movie theater
We were able to get 1/3 of the way through Pirates of the Caribbean before Jack woke up. Thankfully he was able to play on my iPhone and we were able to finish the movie. I think it was the first movie I have seen in a theatre since before I was pregnant with him! By the time the movie was finished it was just about 5pm so we walked over to the park.
Jack had a great time! They had your basic carnival type rides and even though we bought a pass for Jack, several of the rides cost additional money.

It was nice to take a break from touristy things for a while

Next to the park was a Ruby Tuesday. We had them in Colorado and decided to stop there for dinner. We ordered the sampler platter of 6 "mini" burgers to share. Now I have to say that the waiter spoke no english and couldn't even understand us when we pointed at what we wanted on the menu. The waiter ended up grabbing a customer to translate our order to him. So when our order came we were surprised to see 6 full size burgers. Not only was it way more than we could ever eat, but they were terrible burgers! I think we managed to eat 2 burgers before we felt sick.
After dinner we tried to find a taxi to take us back to our hotel. But since we were right in the middle of the protests none of the taxis wanted to take us there because all the streets were closed and it was a mess. We spent a good hour or so walking around trying to find a taxi. Finally Luke was able to find a taxi and told him we would give him 15 Euros to take us back. We think the taxi driver heard "50 Euros" because the majority of the way to the hotel he kept saying that 40 Euros would be the most he would take for the trip... and even that would be too much. I think it came as a shock to him when he realized Luke had said 15 and not 50 euros.
The protestors posted signs all around the city

Protestors marching down the streets. Making it very difficult
for us to get back to our hotel

Our last day in Athens we visited Hadrian's Arch and the Temple of Olympian Zeus
Hadrian's Arch
Unfortunately the Temple of Olympian Zeus closed at 1pm so I was only able to snap some pictures from outside the gate
It was pretty impressive, but by this time I had seen so many ruins they were all starting to look the same

Our flight back to Geneva was Saturday morning. We were able to find a tasty greek bakery for breakfast.
And we were completely surprised when Jack ate and entire donut almost the size of his face.
We were happy to return to Switzerland. Greece was a bit of a disappointment to us as it was way more expensive then we ever imagined. Eating out in Greece was just as expensive as here in Switzerland yet most of the areas we visited were very undeveloped and pretty dirty. I think if we go back we will focus on one island and stay at the beach the whole time.

And just as a side note for those with kids in car seats. We took several taxis in Greece and each time I would request a car seat, but from the 15 or so taxis we took only 1 provided a car seat. About half of the taxis didn't even have seat belts! We finally found that the Mercedes taxis had a special seat in the back where the bottom pops up to lift the child a little. It's no where near as safe as a car seat but at least it's something. So from then on, we only took the Mercedes taxis. But in the future, if you travel to Greece I would recommend bringing your own car seat.
Jack in the pop up seat

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