Thursday, November 16, 2017
Day 27, Athens, Greece
Today we are docked in Piraeus, Greece, which is the port city of Athens and we had a ship excursion booked that would take us to the Acropolis. It was an early departure time so we were up again at 7:00. When I got up we had already docked and the weather outside was once again cloudy and rainy. Val got out of bed and really didn’t feel well today so after a bit of debate, she decided not to go. I decided to go ahead and go so at least one of us would see Athens and the Acropolis.
I was in the showroom by 8:00 and my tour was the first one called and I was on my way to the bus. It was a long walk from the ship through the terminal to the bus parking area and it had already started to rain a little on the way. We drove through the city of Piraeus and then on into Athens where traffic seemed pretty heavy to me, but it may have been normal.
It took about a half hour to get to the Acropolis area and after getting off the bus, our guide led us up to the Acropolis. The first thing the guide did was take us to the spot where we would be meeting before going back to the bus. From there she led us up towards the Acropolis, all the time filling in the history of what we were seeing. It was raining as we were walking and I already had my rain jacket on, and I got out the plastic cover for my camera. The immense size of the building and tall columns was very impressive as well as realizing that this was all built over 2,000 years ago.
Picture taking was difficult because of the rain, but what made it even more difficult were the crowds of people. I have come to expect crowds, but this area was really crowded despite the rain. The Costa ship is in port with us again today and they are much larger than we are so tours from both ships certainly added to the crowds.
While we were standing in front of the Parthenon, listening to our guide describe what we were seeing and its history, the skies really opened up and it poured. There was also thunder and lightning, Zeus was not happy. The lightning wasn’t close or I would have gotten pretty nervous as we were at the top of a hill. I have learned to be pretty flexible about the weather as you never know what to expect when you travel, but I have to admit, I was pretty uncomfortable and was envying Val back on the ship. My rain jacket was keeping me dry above the waste, but my pants began to get pretty wet.
After her talk on the Parthenon, the guide gave us about an hour of free time to walk around and explore on our own so I did a quick walk around, but my heart wasn’t really in it. It was pouring rain. After I had circled the area I started making my way toward the exit and it seemed like most everyone else was too. The rain did let up a bit, but before long it started up again.
As I started walking down the avenue where I thought the meeting place was, I saw a couple from our bus coming towards me and they said they didn’t think that was the right way. The three of us spent about a half hour walking around trying to find the meeting spot. We found the bus parking area, but our bus wasn’t there yet so we circled the area several times while the rain was pouring down and we got wetter and wetter. My pants were soaked and even my shirt, underneath my rain jacket, was beginning to get wet. The rain was pouring into my shoes making a squishing noise when I walked. Finally, I tried to reconstruct how we originally came in and we went back the way I was originally walking and there it was, the meeting spot. I should have trusted my own judgment in the first place, but the heavy rain just made everything more difficult.
We finally got to the meeting place with a few minutes to spare and found that a few other people had trouble getting there, but we all made it. We were soon back on the bus and it felt really good to get out of the rain, but most of us were soaked. I did have another shirt in my backpack, which I’d left on the bus so I changed into that one from my wet one, but my pants were stilled soaking wet and my shoes were full of water. The only saving grace about this morning was that the temperatures were pretty mild so we didn’t get too cold.
Our bus trip back to the ship included a tour of Athens so we got to see a lot of the sites, but except for a quick photo stop at the Athens Olympic Stadium, we didn’t get off the bus. By the time we got back to the ship, the rain had mostly let up so at least we didn’t have to make the long walk back to the ship in the rain. I couldn’t wait to get back on board and change into some dry clothes, but long security lines delayed me, but I finally made it.
When I got back to our room, Val wondered what had happened as it had really rained in the port area too. After telling her all that had happened, she didn’t really feel too bad about missing the tour. She was still feeling sick and I know absolutely that she had done the right thing by skipping this tour.
As I said before, Val and I have traveled a lot and know weather is the one thing you can’t control so we try to stay flexible and tolerant, but I have to say if I knew this morning what I know now, I wouldn’t have gone, it was just too wet.
After drying off and putting my things away, I was hungry so I went up to the Lido and got lunch for Val and I and brought it back to the room. After lunch I rested for a while and then decided to write up the blog while all the memories were fresh in my mind. I then downloaded the few pictures I took today and spent the rest of the afternoon reading and relaxing.
Since we had eaten late, we decided not to go to dinner and just have some snacks in the Neptune Lounge. Val was still not feeling very well so we decided to skip trivia, but we did walk around a bit and Val bought some cough medicine at one of the ship's shops.
Our port tomorrow is Rhodes, Greece and we don’t arrive until 10:00 so that means we can sleep in. Because of her cold, Val went to bed early and after reading for a while, I also went to bed as I was feeling pretty tired myself.