The bigs and I slept well on the ferry. I was surprised how strong the vibrations were on such a big boat. I felt a bit like a baby being lulled to sleep in one of those vibrating chairs.
Although we were supposed to dock at 6 a.m., we were allowed to stay in our cabins until 8:30 a.m. We didn’t stay quite that long, but we didn’t get as early of a start as I thought we would.
It also took me awhile to find the Piraeus metro stop. Thom and Vinnie were decently patient with my incompetence and enjoyed ginormous chocolate croissants from a Greek bakery.
All the Greeks we encountered were incredibly friendly. On the metro, a random woman gave Thom a wet wipe to clean the chocolate off his face. These kind of interactions are especially hilarious when there isn’t a common language. Lots of miming, smiles, and nods.
We arrived at the Acropolis and were greeted by a fairly short but slow-moving line at the ticket office. Promises of “E-tickets coming soon!” hung nearby.
We saw a little boy about the twins’ age, and his parents were taking turns standing in line and wandering around with him. It felt good to imagine what my sweet five-year-olds were doing at that moment--probably playing foosball in the garage of the Crete house. It was definitely the right choice to let them skip this Athenian adventure.
Vinnie, Thom, and I started up the Acropolis in bright mid-morning sunshine. Vinnie tired quickly, and we took breaks in random shady spots. I really liked sitting in Dionysus’s Theater. One of my favorite classes in college was Drama in Antiquity, and it was a fun challenge to try to jog those memories.
There were lots of people at the Parthenon, but it wasn’t sickenly crowded like the prime tourist sights of Paris and Rome.
Thom and Vinnie have turned into quite the Anti-Colonialists and had many questions about why they had seen the art off the Parthenon in the British Museum last fall. Yet, they were also very happy to see almost every sign written in English as well as the Greek.
Vinnie and Thom were re-energized at the Areopagus. There are two sets of stairs up the rock. One is built into the rock, and it’s steep and slippery in some spots. The other is an independent full staircase with a railing and a sense of security. The kids bypassed both and climbed up the rock on their own.
Everywhere you go on the Acropolis, there’s a spectacular view of Athens. It literally sparkles in the sun.
The climbing and heat brought on an early lunch. We went down an alley with numerous restaurants, and one used stairs as tables and chairs.
After lunch we took a walk through the national garden and popped in and out of a few shops.
The day before, Melanie had slipped the kids a 10 to take me out for a Mother’s Day ice cream. It was a great way to end our time in the city.
When I’m in a city for a short time, I prefer to take a bus instead of riding a train underground. It’s nice to have a seat and look out the window. It seemed like an especially good idea in Athens because I had read that there’s a big pick-pocketing problem on crowded Metro trains.
Sadly, the bus I had planned to take to the airport was cancelled. Annoying, but I happily accepted that if it would be the biggest snag in our trip.
I paid the higher fare for the Metro ride to the airport, and we arrived just minutes before Errol and the twins’ plane landed from Crete.
Errol wasn’t thrilled with my idea to split up, take a boat, and have this time in Athens with the bigs. I was nervous that something would go wrong, and I would be blamed for my travel schemes. I felt such relief and happiness when I saw those bright, mosquito-bitten twin faces in the Athens airport.
The travel day was far from over, but at least we were all together again.