Rome to Athens

Saturday morning allowed us a slow start and a chance to catch our breath. Our flight was not scheduled to depart until 2:05 pm and check out from the Hilton was not until 12:00 noon. We allowed Emily to sleep and went for a late breakfast, checking out the hotel pool on the way. After breakfast Majella and Emily went for a swim. When they came back from that Emily showered and had a rest while Majella headed off to use the gym.

Around 11:30 am we packed up and headed off to check out from the hotel and check in for our flight to Athens. The walk to the terminal was back through the multi-level car park, under cover all the way but warm because of the lack of any insulation or cooling breeze. On the way we looked in at the Europcar desk. There were a few people there but nothing like the hordes and chaos we had encountered when we arrived almost exactly 2 weeks earlier. Perhaps we had just been unlucky or perhaps there was some reason for the problem on that day. That experience has certainly left us less confident about being able to clear rental car formalities quickly. We checked in for our flight with Alitalia with ample time to spare, even more because the flight was posting a projected 20 minute delay 90 minutes before the scheduled departure. We eventually left Rome almost an hour later than the scheduled time. With the time zone change, that got us into Athens around 6:00 pm local time. By the time we found the airport Metro station, purchased tickets, sat in the train for 20 minutes waiting for it to depart, rode 40 minutes or so into town and emerged, fortunately from the right exit, to find our hotel, it was around 7:30 pm.

Hotel Attalos is on Athinas Street, just up the road from the Monastiraki Metro station and close to the centre of action in the city. The Roof Garden Bar has great views including the Acropolis, which is a 20 minute walk away. It also offers free Internet access, including WiFi, which suited me since I would be able to use the laptop to sort out email and this web site. Once we had checked in, Majella tried to contact her colleague, Tony Machin, who had arrived a day or two earlier. Tony was nowhere to be found then or when she tried again later. I sent Tony a text message to say we had arrived and then we headed out and down to the bottom of the street, toward the Acropolis, where we found an active market area. The flea market section was closed but there were still many stalls and shops selling all sorts of souvenirs. We wandered through those for a while before we decided it was time to get serious about eating.

We selected a cafe on one of the squares. Majella and I each ordered Greek salads and beers. Emily went for spaghetti bolognaise and a milk shake. The salads were huge. I managed to down mine but Majella managed only half of hers. She also had difficulty with her half litre of Mythos beer and had to seek my (willing) help with that. Once we had eaten we hung around for a while to see some of the evening entertainment before heading back to the hotel. Emily was delighted to find one television channel broadcasting English language programs with Greek subtitles. I went to deal with the Internet before we turned in for the night.

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