-Ferry all morning
-Arrived in Athens early evening
We are in Greece!! And I LOVE IT SO MUCH MORE THAN I EVEN ANTICIPATED!
We finally arrived around 1:00pm on the ferry into Patras (a port about 4 hours from Athens). We got train tickets for free! (Boom shakalaka, love that Eurail pass) and had some time to kill so we found this little cafe next to the train station. Ohmygosh it was SO good! Just sandwiches and Greek French fry-ish potatoes, but SO good! And the owner guy gave us free ice cream after and let us bum around for two hours til our train came, bringing us water or whatever we needed. First Greek man we met: Stamp of Approval.
We finally got into Athens just as dusk was settling in and nightlife was livening up and I just walked around with wide eyes and a big old smile on my face. The main area is a pedestrian only area (no cars) and there were people all around having a good time. There were musicians on almost every corner just playin and singing their hearts out. There were breakdancers having a dance off. There were little kids playing the accordion. There were restaurants serenading their guests. There were people laughing and chatting all over and it just had such a magical atmosphere. And right next to us, the Acropolis looked down on all of it with this majestic presence (more on that tomorrow).
I loved it. Every second.
And Greek people are SO NICE! I mean, we have met so many nice people on this trip in every country, but I don't think in Greece yet that we have met a single person who wasn't going out of their way to be nice or helpful. They are just happy and friendly, at least from what we saw! I love them!
Speaking of people, we made it to the apartment we are staying in and met our host. Talk about sweet. Her name is Giota (pronounced Yo-ta) and she is around 25-ish. She has a cat she named Chewbacca. Get it? "Yo-ta" has a cat named "Chewbacca?" Love it! Anyways, she was so nice and gave us all these pointers about the city and even gave us a good authentic, traditional Greek restaurant to go to. So of course, regardless of the fact that it was 10:00pm and we were SUPER tired, we immediately headed out for some din.
The food. Oh my gosh the FOOD! Greek food is amazing! I mean, it doesn't just stop at gyros, people! We went into this cute little hole-in-wall place called Kati Allo and (since we know very little about Greek cuisine and we were feeling brave) just said, "Today is our first day in Greece. Give us whatever you think we should eat!" The cook guy loved it. He served us up some stuffed zucchini, stuffed red peppers, and my favorite of the night: Mousaka. (And yes, the whole time I was eating it, I kept thinking of that scene from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" when she's a little girl and has a box lunch of Mousaka, and the other girls make fun of her for eating "Moose caca." Joke's on them, I say. Mousaka is the BOMB!) There are a few things I am planning on trying to recreate when we come home and this one fo sho made the list. I don't know what it is exactly, but there are potatoes and ground beef and cheese and some kind of spice that almost tastes....sweet? Cinnamon? I don't know, but it was crazy good.
We finally headed home and got a good solid night's sleep, ready for a big day tomorrow in Athens!
PS. I don't think I ever explained how we do most of our accommodations these days. When I was feeling done with the whole "bunk bed" thing, we remembered that before we left, a friend told us about a site called airbnb.com. It's basically a network of people all around the world who either run a legit bed and breakfast or they just rent out a room in their own apartment to make a few extra bucks. You can find hosts, read reviews, and contact them on this website. And what's better, you can find some that are WAY CHEAP! That's what we've done in almost every city in Italy (and Greece so far) and we have saved so much money! Plus, we get to know our hosts a little better than if we were just staying at a hotel. So Giota has two roommates but one is gone for awhile, so they are renting out his room. Our hosts have all been so different from each other (some more social than others), but all have been so nice and helpful. It's a fun, cheap way to go if you want to save a few bucks and not sleep in bunk beds!