Day 6: Istanbul/Athens
The day started off slow but we wanted to walk around a bit before coming back to the hostel until we realised we didn’t have accommodation for the night. So we walked back to the hostel and booked a hotel in Athens for the night. After that we bought some bread and went back to the hostel, did the last bit of packing and then left for the bus stop at Taksim.
The walk was long and uphill but we walked through Tarlabasi Blv to Taksim. Özlem had previously warned us that we should stay clear of Taksim. Ben went to find the HavaBus (bus to airport) stop, and left me with the luggage which was quite intimidating. The atmosphere suggested I might get mugged so Ben and I went to look for the stop together and got directions from a number of people. When we got there we waited in a long line that trailed down the road and got the last two seats on the second bus headed to Sabiha Gocken aiport!
The trip was supposed to take 2 hours but we were surprised when we got there in less than an hour, plenty of time to check in, get a burger and Ben to have a nap while a wrote what we had done. The flight was fairly uneventful and we arrived in Athens at 8 and took a bus into the city. We picked up keys for our accommodation and took a taxi to the apartment.
It would be an understatement to say we were disappointed, but more importantly it was incredibly hot and we didn’t have a fan or an aircon! I ended up feeling quite sick and tried to get an early night, but I think Ben was struggling to sleep in the heat.
Day 7: Athens
The first full day in Athens was incredibly hot, around 38 degrees which wasn’t ideal. We started the morning by moving our things to the youth hostel we’d booked for the next three nights and giving the keys back for the apartment. Since we’d had a late night the last night and missed breakfast we hadn’t eaten for hours and we’re ravished. On the street where we returned the keys we found a restraint and got souvlakis, which were great.
We then decided to walk to the Acropolis, and got there around 12:45 but couldn’t go in because the site was shut between 1-5. Since it was so hot we went to the Acropolis museum, which had ceramics and stone work from 400 BC. Some of the vases depicted stories of marriage, in which the woman was supposed to give her childhood toy to the temple of Athena to show her maturation into an adult.
We decided to walk to see some other sites, so we walked to Hadrian’s arch and the Temple of Athenian Zeus. Both the sites were visible but the temple was gated and about 50m from the gate. The structures were both beautiful but what stated to struck me was that a lot of tourist spots were inadequately set up for tourists. There were few water fountains (except one at the Acropolis – hallelujah).
On our walk home we passed by the Zappion Exhibition & Congress Hall, a large building with marble floors that were so cool I fell asleep on them before being awoken by a disapproving guard. We went and had dinner at a little souvlaki shop we had found (a favourite – we had dins there the next two nights too) and picked up some food from Lidl for the next day.
The day didn’t progress much except we went back to the hostel and realised we could get ferry tickets for cheap to Aegina, so we planned to go there the next morning. We also met two lovely Australian girls in the hostel, one of whom played guitar and sang in the evening which was nice.