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Misbehaving at the Panathenaic Stadium and a late night out

sunny 30 °C

After returning to the hotel in the wee small hours, we sleep late, and don’t wander lazily down to our now-traditional breakfast hang-out until about 11am. We love Café da Capo for its simple little sandwiches (smoked salmon, prosciutto/tomato/cheese, ham/cheese), good coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice. Perhaps best of all, it’s self-service so we can avoid being put off by nonchalant Greek waiters. Brash pigeons scurry around your feet to catch your crumbs, as you try to strategically maneuver yourself to avoid being in the direct line of the Greek chain-smoker invariably sitting right next to you. But we wouldn’t change it for the world. For a moment, just a moment, we can forget we are tourists and observe the daily routine of ‘real’ Athenians.

Fueled, we leave Emma by the pool, and head out in the full heat of the day to visit the Panathenaic Stadium. It’s quite well known as the venue for the first ‘modern’ Olympic Games in 1896, but it turns out that games were held at the site since about 330 BC! That’s a very long time ago. Anyway, perhaps to protect it from the graffiti that has infected just about every other inch of Athens, the gates to the stadium are closed, and we are allowed only to admire the structure from one end. Not to be deterred by the Greeks clear desire to keep us out of the stadium, Lloyd and D’ell decide to host their own mini-Olympics. I’m happy to announce that no Americans, Brits or indeed Greek tourist police were harmed in the making of the following video.

We wander back to the hotel through the National Gardens which offer some welcome shade from the 2pm sun. The return to AC is too much for me, and I fall asleep practically within minutes while Lloyd backs up photos (the loss of the camera very fresh in his mind!) and sorts out some gear to send back to London with D’ell.

In anticipation of a late dinner, Lloyd and I wander to the nearby taverna to snack on Greek salad and tzatziki. We were here just two days ago, after our trip on the ‘funk’ular (funicular) to the top of Lycabettus Hill. After our feast (I just LOVE Mediterranean tomatoes), we start to head out the door, but are stopped by our hosts – two white-haired gentlemen – who are offering us some home-made baklava. To be honest, until this point, these two guys have been quite stern towards us, but now they are beaming with pride as they offer us a plate of baklava (not on the menu, by the way) and two forks.

Lloyd is in heaven, proclaiming it the best baklava he has ever tasted, much to the delight of our hosts. True to my commitment to be a little more adventurous on the food-front, I try it and can appreciate the crisp filo and sweet honey-nut dessert. A moment of kindness from our hosts that we will never forget.

We rendez-vous with D’ell and Emma close to 8pm, and head back up Lycabettus Hill on the ‘funk’ular railway. It’s a lot busier than it was the first time we were here (two days ago), with sunset looming and most of Athens bathed in the day’s last moments of light. With this red-gold filter, and from our perch above the city, Athens could be the most beautiful city in the world.


There are a couple of dining options atop Lycabettus and we are lucky to secure a table overlooking the city, where we enjoy a bottle of champagne and appreciate the sunset. Given its location, we assume this is a tourist trap, but the food is surprisingly good. Tonight, the Rapsani (wine) is going down particularly easily, and we surprise ourselves by ordering bottle #3 before dessert! Even better, our first bottle apparently depletes the supply of 2001 Rapsani, and the next two bottles are 2000. Lloyd and D’ell are convinced that the 2000 is superior. For my part, after a bottle of champagne and a bottle of wine, I’m not quite sure I can tell the difference.

Hangover, anyone?

Posted by jacquiedro 00:01 Archived in Greece Tagged round_the_world

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