Friday, July 29, 2011

Athenian Bliss

A nine-hour flight with no sleep from Melbourne to Singapore leaves you feeling, let's say, a little dazed and confused, but unexpectedly seeing your sister and nephew during the 4-hour wait at Singapore airport leaves you believing the sleeping pill you haven't even taken yet has already kicked in.

I knew Melinda and Nathan had gone to Hong Kong for a holiday, but had no idea they were returning the same day we were flying out to Greece, let alone passing through Singapore airport at exactly the same time we would be doing the same!!

Melinda, Nathan and Lisa - dazed, confused and hallucinating.

We still had another 11 hours to endure before we would reach our destination, Athens. It's a hard flight, Melbourne to Athens, but having four weeks of fun in the sun to look forward to made it all the more bearable.

Far from being in a state of unrest and turmoil, on the surface the city of Athens is buzzing along as it always has, with its abundance of tourists and activity in the streets, music and mezes flowing from tavernas, sunshine and warm air encouraging all and sundry to spend every moment outdoors.

We've just spent the last two days in the city we feared would be just a shell of its former lively self, but have been pleasantly surprised to discover the spirit of the Athenian people is as strong as ever. The country may be going bankrupt, but nothing will diminish the determination these people have to keep their country alive and kicking.

Two days is a microscopic amount of time to attempt to explore this beautiful city of such rich culture and history, but we managed to cover around 50km on foot, including the entire Plaka area of markets and tavernas, a strenuous climb up Mt Lykavittos, and hours of walking around the ports of Piraeus.

Our calves (and our skin) may now be burning, but it's a pleasant reminder of our second trip to Athens together, as we prepare for the next four weeks of adventures in the land of Limnos.

Unrest? What unrest! The people of Athens are still going about their daily lives.

And the people of Australia are enjoying the Athenian lifestyle.

Oh which sugary sweet to choose!

The streets of Plaka are still thriving.

The upward climb to Lykavittos.

And we made it to the top ... albeit covered in sweat.

Monday, July 25, 2011

One more sleep!

Packing for a holiday can be so much fun, bringing out the summer clothes in the middle of winter, the cotton fabric on my fingers as I lay them in the suitcase, reminding me of warm days to come.

Tony's packing experience on the other hand, is one of stress and anxiety, as he madly sorts through his diabetes equipment and supplies, creating kits and packages, dividing them amongst luggage pieces and making sure he has duplicates of everything.

It's raining and 9 degrees in Melbourne and soon we will be leaving this miserable season to spend the next four weeks in Mediterranean sunshine.

Tonight we're having dinner at the Press Club to begin our Limnian adventure. It's tradition! Two years ago, the night before our last trip to Greece, we splurged on a banquet at the Press Club. The food was incredible and I'm dying to have another one of those lemon martini cocktails! But still so much to do before then.

We are flying out tomorrow, landing in Athens on Wednesday where we will stay for two nights before flying out to Limnos. We're hoping the taxi strikes and general unrest in Athens will have passed by the time we arrive, but are prepared for a possibly very interesting arrival! On my dad's advice, if we are thrown into the midst of a riot, we are to just stroll through casually, suitcases and all, and just smile and say to the rioters "bravo re pethia!" According to my dad, this will ensure a safe passage for us through any street blockades or picket lines... Hmmm, perhaps we could also wear our traditional Greek costumes to express our message of peace.

Anyway, we're not too worried about any of that. It's all part of the adventure!

So we'll be seeing you in a few days' time! Hopefully in one piece!!!