Date of Trip: July 2009
Continuation of Europe Trip & Cruise Wednesday, July 22: Piraeus, Greece – to Athens
We got up at 7:15 am and left the ship at 8:30am. Took our ship’s free shuttle to the port entrance, then a taxi (5 €) to the Metro Station at Piraeus. Took the Green Line up and got off at the Omonia station after Monastiraki, then took the Red Line down to the Acropolis. The Metro (1 € each = 2 €) took 25 minutes and we got to the Acropolis about 9:30am. Unlike Barcelona, there are escalators in the subway station. People do follow usual procedure of standing to the right on the escalators except to pass, but few pass. No one seems to be in a hurry.
When we arrived at the entrance to the Acropolis, we paid 12 € each = 24 €. The only discounts to attractions in Italy and Greece that we saw were available only to Europeans — those in the EU. It was a climb to the top, mostly inclines with some stairs. It was slippery marble and very uneven. There were crowds — most of them at the top. Only one way in and out, so it’s slow going, with occasional stops as tour guides lecture their group.
It was quite windy, also, with dust storms at the top. The wind kept it from feeling unbearably hot, but glasses were needed to keep dust out of the eyes.
We took a lot of photos of course, being sure that DD’s “doll” was photographed in proxy, since she had returned home. We saw the Parthenon and the Erechtheum/ Erechtheion “Porch of the Maidens” with the replicas of the six caryatids. One of the originals is in the British Museum, and the other five are in the New Acropolis Museum.
We walked back down and over to the Agora. Along with the ruins was modern graffiti. Went inside the Church of the Holy Apostles, which dates to the late 10th century. Then we went over to the Roman Forum of Athens. We found our way out to the Plaka. We stopped at a cafe: Carte Postale Cafe-Restaurant at the most famous street of Plaka, in Andrianou Street. We shared a pork souvlaki @ € 8, two Greek coffees @ € 3 each = € 14,50 + € 2 tip. Seating was free and water was free (unbottled). Very nice waiter.
Bought a medium statue of Athena at the kiosk across the street for € 6 and a bottle of water for € 1. Walked around the shops. We needed a camera chip, since we had used up almost 8GB so far. A 4 GB chip cost € 14,50 at a camera store nearby. I bought a few souvenirs: 3 olive oil soaps at 80 cents each, a tiny bottle of ouzo & of Greek brandy, and a small box of Greek Turkish Delight (averaged € 2 each). Took the Metro back to Piraeus (2 €), and a taxi to the port (4 €). Walked about 2 1/2 miles today. Total cost of our day for two in Athens (not counting the gifts or the camera chip): € 54,50 = $80.18.
NOTES: The previous day I went to the ship’s talk about this port. Here are a few things I jotted down:
*Unlicensed cab drivers will try to cheat you. Be sure there’s a meter and a photo ID visible. Negotiate HARD for cab fare.
*There may be two different fares: #1 for day, and #2 for night, so be sure the meter is on the correct mode.
*It is a 20 minute walk to the Metro station from the port entrance, or a € 5 taxi ride — about1/2 mile.
*The ride from Piraeus to Athens takes 30 minutes.
* The Metro ride costs € 1, but a day bus pass is € 3.