Sunday, May 29, 2011

Riot Gear and Souvlaki

To recap: the plan was to wake up relatively early, head up to the Acropolis and walk around until roughly 2:30, then head back to the hotel where, hopefully, Jordan would be waiting. We didn’t have any way to contact her as we don’t have cell phones that work, and we knew that Jordan wasn’t traveling with any sort of computer. So we left a note, explaining our plans, with the hotel clerk.

Also to recap: We woke up at 6:30 am, and it turns out that wandering around and trying to stay hydrated will make you sleep. Luckily, when we woke up, Jordan had arrived and managed to find our hotel, and rented a room. We headed out back to Plaka because we were comfortable with it and it’s touristy and we needed food, because we’d gotten into the habit of not eating ever, which is different from how things normally go.

The problem with looking for food while you’re hungry is that you’ll invariably try to stop at the first place that looks even somewhat reasonable. We picked a restaurant that had Coca-Cola seat covers, because we thought somehow that meant that it wouldn’t be terribly expensive.

Maybe Coca-Cola is subsidizing souvlaki restaurants for the aid of tourists.

It turns out that no, that’s not an indication of the amount of money you’ll be spending. Entrees were somewhere in the neighborhood of 18€ . That’s no good. So we awkwardly got up, handed the menus back to the guy who’d seemed so excited about a few new clients and walked across the square, where we found a more reasonable souvlaki place (Ithaki!). As far as somewhat-reasonable-but-still-more-expensive-than-street-food, it sufficed. We all ordered the beef-and-lamb gyros plate, which it turns out is a lot of food and, in our rush to get something we knew was somewhat Greek, we didn’t actually get to try anything other than that. Which is a shame. Mustard instead of tzatiki, though, which was new.

Across the street, we noticed a policeman. Then several more. Then they got riot shields and masks. With the oblivious nature of tourists, we assumed that everything was fine, finished our meal, and walked away from the restaurant to explore the rest of Plaka. In search of a gelato shop, we found our way through the winding streets to Monastiraki, and an apparently closed flea market, which I’m fine with. The square was lined with little souvenir shops, and seats on the wall were apparently at a premium, though when we found some, they were overlooking another glass-covered part of archeological Athens.

It’s a whole level of old that I’m not sure what to do with.

We wound our way back thorugh towards the Akropoli metro station until we heard a bunch of shouting, which we found out later was some manner of demonstration. We’d seen some anarchist graffiti near our hotel, but weren’t really prepared for whatever required the riot shields, so we walked rather quickly back to the metro and sped off towards our hotel.

Back at Hotel Apollo, we decided to check out the roof garden we’d heard so much about, by which I mean the hotel staff recommended it to everyone and, when I asked where I could buy groceries, was told that if I was hungry, I should probably just buy food from them.

To be fair, it was pretty awesome. 7€ for a bottle of wine and a rooftop view over all of Athens, including a clear line of sight to the lighted Acropolis. It’s kind of odd, actually, being in a city with no real skyscraper-esque buildings. Everything’s sort of 4-to-6 stories and made out of concrete. Still, that just means you have an uninterupted view as far as the city goes until you run into a mountain.

We collapsed shortly thereafter as we had to be up at 5:30am to get to the port to get on a boat to get to Santorini.

1 comment:

Tony said...

Good post. You should have gone to Thannasis (sp?). They have the best souvlaki in Plaka and Athens.