March 28, 2009

Athens, Day 3: We didn’t order snacks?

After the taverna last night (paid for by the Athens Centre), we decided to go on a night tour to the Acropolis. It was, in fact, only a fifteen-minute walk, but there was nothing to see except all the lights. We passed Club Lollipop on the way (it had three bouncers and was surrounded by frosted glass with spirals) – turns out my room-mate and some other went there and it was full of older men with younger women and expensive drinks.

Today we had the walking tour of central Athens. It’s not a very big city, but easy to get lost if you don’t have as good a sense of direction as me. We went through the National Gardens to Syntagma Square (where we took pictures with the soldiers with pom-pom shoes) and then through the classy shopping street, then the Plaka (where you can bargain for trinkets). I think I’d like to buy some pom-pom shoes. I’d rather like to go back and do some shopping, as there were lots of souvenir and spice shops as well as a Zara and other eurobrands. There the tour ended, and Eric and I decided to have gyros for lunch and go to Keramaikos, the potters’ quarter. We invited Paul, the graduate assistant supervisor along. We’re still not really sure what his purpose is, but he knows Greek and a lot about Athens. Apparently he’s the one to go to if we get sick and need to speak to a Greek doctor.

The Keramaikos was a nice archaeological park. It had the old city gate and everything outside it – the potters’ quarter (which smelled too bad to put inside the city), a brothel, a cemetery, and a culvert to direct water into the city. It also had a nice little museum. I got in for half-price (1 euro) as I had my international student ID card. Afterwards we sat at a café and had tea and coffee in the Greek style (which they actually call the Armenian style), which is taking two hours to do something that can be accomplished in about thirty minutes. We walked back to Syntagma, where Paul left us to go study, and Eric and I promptly became lost in the botanic gardens. After wending our way back to an actual street, we found out way back without difficulty and decided to go to another café in Varnavas (where the fruit market was yesterday) to have some kind of Greek drink. We ordered two, and unbeknownst to us, the drinks came with snacks that cost 5 euros. Surprised by this, we still ate the snacks (chicken, potatoes, and saganaki, all quite good), and then came back to the apartment, where I will now continue reading the book due Monday. Later today there may be another trip to a taverna that has free internet, and tomorrow there’s talk of taking the train to the Piraeus museum.

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