Athens Day 1
The boat docked at 12.30 right on schedule and, as usual, there was a courtesy bus waiting to whisk away those passengers who didn’t have a car waiting. After being dropped at the main gates, it’s a quick walk across the road and around the back to the metro station. It’s the end of the line, and there was a green line train waiting. They go regularly, and there are boards announcing waiting times and destinations, in English and Greek, plus maps, so it’s easy to see where you need to get to. In my case, it was seven stops to Monastiraki, followed by a short walk to the hotel.
I checked into my 3-star accommodation and headed down the road for a coffee and a bite to eat as I had two hours to kill before heading to the airport to meet Mother. I’d chosen a hotel not far from Syntagma Square, a short walk to Plaka and Monastiraki, and very handy for the best of both worlds; sight-seeing and shopping. It was on a quiet street (until the roadworks started in the morning), and was decent enough and clean, though nothing glamorous. The main benefits of it were its location and price. There are other, posher hotels around the corner for twice the price, but out of budget.
I took the underground to the airport, though there is a regular bus service as well. Here’s a tip: If you’re making a short trip in Athens, you can buy a €1.40 ticket which is valid for 45 minutes no matter how many times you change or how far you go, except when the airport is involved. Then, it’s €10.00, as it is to leave the airport and come into town. There are other tickets too, multi trips and daily passes etc., and it’s easy to get them from the machines which are in a variety of languages and come with a charming voice to talk you through the process. The metro is also prompt and clean.
I’d booked a taxi in advance from the airport back to the hotel by using a site called Welcome Pickups. I’ve used them before and will use them again. You swap details and photos with your driver, so he/she knows who to expect, and you know who to look out for – very safe and reassuring, and Vasilis was there five minutes early. Flight landed, Mother collected, into the car and a sensible, comfortable drive followed with sweets and free water included, plus a Welcome to Athens bag and some tips and ideas from our driver for thing to do.
Into hotel, out for a walk, dinner, and a walk back and finally, a night’s sleep where I wasn’t sliding up and down a bunk to the tune of the announcements in the corridor. More to follow.