A Travellerspoint blog

November 2014

Nikko

Nikko is Nippon

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Signs on the train say "Nikko is Nippon (Japan)" and the guidebook tells us it will be everything we think of when we imagine Japan...

Our trains from Sendai run exactly on time, we arrive at night and everywhere is quiet. We forgot to get directions to the hostel when we last had internet and so sought out a friendly station employee to point us in the right direction - it was a minute walk, perfect. An unassuming little guesthouse would be our home for the next 2 nights. £40 a night for a futon on straw mats in a room with paper walls... it was actually pretty cozy, friendly and good value for accommodation in Japan!

The owner gave us a few eating options and we headed for a Japanese place that was sold as good and cheap, forcing ourselves to walk past 2 Indian restaurants (the only other places that seemed to be open). The restaurant was really good and had 4 people in, which was the biggest group we'd seen so far in Nikko. Pork with garlic and leaks was amazing and a pretty good bowl of steaming ramen (noodles). We finished up and the restaurant was shut up behind us. It looked like Nikko wasn't going to be the place for late night drinking...

We had a full day of templing the next day. Enormous vermilion (red) temples surrounded by huge green cedars, bright reds and yellows from the Japanese maples and moss covered stones spread for miles. We paid to visit most of them and there was enough variety to make it worth it. Having to constantly remove our walking boots to look around was the only difficulty, until we had to decide where to eat lunch that is...

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After an hour of walking up and down the same street, we returned to the first place we'd found that had been recommended to us... Sophie had decided that the portions were too small, but then it emerged she wasn't that hungry, so I felt her argument didn't hold water and we went in... Now there was a wait... To try and fend off my grouchiness we headed to a a mochi stall (really sticky rice based things) and I went for the sesame and soy sauce glazed ball things (they are better than they sound and look). Back at the restaurant we were served many small portions that ended up being enough food (I was glad I'd had my mochi though). Some of it was amazing, other bits; not so much...
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Before sunset, we wondered along the river, saw many stone men with bibs and little hats (no idea why) and more tree colours. The koyo (autumn colour change) is as popular in Japan as the cherry blossom in spring. This seemed to explain our problems finding somewhere to stay...
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After a good day of sightseeing, we planned to do a bit of onsening (having a bath with other people). It seems a bit strange to me but the Japanese seem to love it, so I thought we better see what it was about. This plan was hijacked when we got back to the guesthouse and found that a group meal was available. About a dozen of us were sent to the supermarket, each with an item that we were required to buy... Then we were all to cook together... I befriended a German guy and we decided too-many-cooks and all that, so drank beer and secured the best seats at the table. We ate nabe which is essentially a stew that you cook in the middle of the table and keep adding greens, been sprouts, mushrooms and meat to. The group was fairly eclectic - Taiwanese, Canadian, German, Irish and Japanese. A crazy Japanese girl arrived, introduced herself and gave a bit of her life story and we were to reciprocate. She then started handing out nuts and playing some bells... It was a good evening with some interesting people (and one crazy Japanese girl).
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Felix, the German, gave us his bus ticket so we headed up to a lake in the mountains the next day so we took a sushi breakfast and sat in the crisp air for a while, took a little stroll to a waterfall and generally pottered around a bit. The shops were all weird selling various bean based souvenir cake things. They don't taste unpleasant, but they definitely don't taste good. Other than that, if you don't want plastic samurai swords and tea sets, you're struggling... Our Xmas shopping was not going well.
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It was almost time to head off on another train, just time to try as many free samples as possible. Every tourist place seems to have a honey shop. We had as many hot honey based drink samples as we dared and bought a honey ice cream for the journey...

Posted by bloorsontour 03:29 Archived in Japan Comments (1)

Matsushima, Japan

One of Japans top 3 views...really?!

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It took a lot time just organising what we were doing in such a big city as Tokyo each day, but it took even more patience and time to work out the next stage of our travel plans in Japan. It would seem that the majority of affordable accommodation for us, in any decent location, gets booked up way in advance for the weekends. By process of elimination we headed for a night in Sendai, it was about the only dorm place we could get in our budget for a weekend.

We'd paid for a 3 week Japanese rail pass, which we acti==Your heading here...==vated on our trip to Sendai. Its turned out to be really handy as we get to travel on most JR trains across the country; including bullet trains; working out at £15 per day. The Shinkansen bullet trains are so fast, clean and efficient. We arrived in Sendai within a couple of hours.

I can't remember the name of where we were staying, but I had the worst nights sleep... not enjoyable. We'd booked into a dormitory room, which turned out to be me and Jason sharing a room with the weird, snoring owner. It was also our first experience of sleeping on the traditional Japanese futons on the floor (some of which are really comfortable and others, like this one, were solid and the room was freezing). Everywhere was clean and tidy, but the owner and hard floor made me glad we'd only booked it for one night.

There's not a lot to do in Sendai itself, but we used it as a base to get to Matsushima, which is supposed to be one of the top 3 Japanese landscape views. It's a town right by the sea with views out to sea of a series of smaller islands. You can do a boat trip there, but we decided not to as it was busy with tourists and rainy. Instead we walked around, looked in numerous souvenir shops and stopped for a bite to eat. The local specialty was grilled oysters (but I couldn't sit and eat in the oyster room restaurant, the smell of grilled oysters is not pleasant). But Jason was desperate to try them so we agreed to sit in a restaurant where he ordered tempura oysters instead. We walked up to a park on the top of a hill to try and catch a view out to sea; it was quite pleasant with the autumn leaves turning, but due to the weather it was a rather misty scene. Jason asked me to rate Matsushima and I'm afraid to say I gave it a disappointing 3/10 (Jason gave it 6/10). As it was sold as being a 'must-visit' I suppose I had high expectations, whether the dreary weather had anything to do with my low score I don't know, or maybe it just didn't compare to all the other fabulous scenes we've seen so far on our trip...Jason thought it was worth a visit.

We had a few hours in Sendai before we caught the train to Nikko (which gave me just enough time to get a little Christmassy). In the big department stores there were decorations, lights and Christmas carols playing everywhere. It made me realise how different Christmas is going to be this year.

Posted by bloorsontour 02:12 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Tokyo, Japan

We love Tokyo!

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Sorry its taken so long for this next blog. Japan has been hectic and a lot of our time has been trying to catch up on planning and booking accommodation more in advance than we're used to (its proven more difficult than we'd thought it would be). Plus, Tokyo was so busy that I've struggled to know where to start with this blog.

Tokyo is not the place to be with jet lag; for some reason we both really struggled here and found the first 3 days extremely tiring. We were staying in Nippori, a quiet area of Tokyo with easy access to all major sites and on the handy Yamanote train line. When we first arrived at Nippori station it felt really weird; quiet, efficient, really clean, we likened it to being in a computer game like Sim City. Everybody was smiley and helpful. The area has plenty going on with nice restaurants, shops, convenience stores and bars. We made this our base for the next 5 nights.

Day 1: We caught the train to Shinjuku and wandered around soaking up the Japanese way of life (which mostly includes being very polite, bowing a lot and eating delicious food on the go). We spent a fair bit of time trying to navigate around Shinjuku station which was huge and is its very own underground village. Desperate to try some Japanese food we got a bento box of rice goodies and ate it on the street next to all the other local people who must eat their lunch there everyday. From here we went to the government building and went up to the observatory area for free and got a real birds eye view of the city. On a clear day you can see Mount Fuji, but unfortunately we couldn't on this day. You could easily spend a few days alone in this area of Tokyo, we merely scraped the surface, walked miles around busy commercial areas; including huge electronic shops (where jason is still weighing up whether to have a GoPro or not) and Japanese department stores (where we tried as many free samples of food and wine as we could). Our next stop was Shibuya, which is known for its massive illuminated crossroads filled with tonnes of people (one of the opening scenes in the film Lost in Translation). This place was so overwhelming; noisy, busy, bright, futuristic. There were fashion forward teenagers on every corner, anime icons everywhere, loud Japanese computer arcades, pet hotels, people in fancy dress, bars and restaurants galore, film crews, love hotels...everything I expected Tokyo to be. We walked around, grabbed a bite to eat and went back to the hotel for a well deserved sleep. I was still feeling so tired at this point, so don't feel like we made the most of Shibuya and all of its weird and wonderful Japanese entertainment. We have since spoken to other backpackers who really did experience Tokyo night life here; including maid cafes (when girls dress as dolls to serve you drinks), sake & yakatori (meat BBQ and drunk salary men) and entertainment arcades (which can include men dressing up as girls for a photo booth photo shoot or slot machines with prizes of women's underwear in them)...very strange!

We tried to have a bit of a lie in so as to avoid being so tired again and had a late brunch. Mine was a pretty standard stir fry dish where as Jason went for a huge selection of seafood sashimi (raw). We went to Ueno park, specifically to the Tokyo National Museum. The museum is huge,and like most other national museums has lots of art, sculptures, pottery, fashion through different eras, sword collections, and much more. We also took part in a Mongolian fortune telling game; Jason is going to have amazing luck in his life, whereas mine is all bad (I even tried the game repeated times, but still just bad fortune). Luckily it was a rainy day so didn't mind that it took us hours to get around the different exhibitions, but ordinarily think we would have preferred to be outside exploring a bit more on foot. Ueno park is a day activity too; with lots of other museums, sculptures, temples, ponds and people watching opportunities. Next to Ueno station there's a busy outdoor market area with lots of souvenir shops and street food stalls (we couldn't resist the chicken pesto sandwiches...not very Japanese I know). The day went so quickly...after the museum, park and market there was just enough time to grab a tasty tempura treat before bed. Near our hotel there was a fab (and cheap) tempura restaurant; we loved the squid, prawn and mushroom tempura the best.

OK, so on our third day in Tokyo we started to feel a bit more like ourselves and actually got up relatively early and walked to Asakusa for brunch. Our first stop was the Senso-ji temple, still very impressive despite it being a new construction after the original was bombed during World War Two. I gather they reconstructed it to replicate the original anyway. It's bright red with beautiful bold colourful motifs, there's a smell of incense in the air and local people come here to pray in traditional Japanese dress (kimonos). It's worth wandering around but it does get busy with tourists. Two young girls approached us and asked us some questions in English; " Where are you from? What is your name?"; and in return we got some free Japanese tea from them...winner. There's plenty of food stalls around the temple and Jason tried mochi, a rice flour chewy ball usually served with red bean paste. Not my cup of tea but Jason quite liked them and has since had them again. I was ready for a proper sit down and loved our Japanese brunch in a ramen shop. Ramen shops are everywhere and are a perfect fast food fix for us; cheap, filling & tasty. I had spicy leek and miso noodles and J had roast pork noodles with dumplings on the side (we've had plenty of ramen since this first visit). Despite the rain we went on a river cruise from Asakusa to Hamarikyu-teien gardens; twas quite pleasant, not loads to see, but made a change from getting around the city on the trains. There was an unusual Superdry building with a gold coloured sperm-shaped object attached to it along the river... very odd. We also couldn't understand a word the Japanese guide was describing on the cruise, but her enthusiasm was entertainment enough. The Hamarikyu-teien gardens are lovely, very serene and Japanese in style, but with huge modern skyrise buildings surrounding it... it's just a shame we dashed around it because we were getting soaked by the rain. By this point it was getting dark and more rainy, so we wandered around Tokyo centre area where there's lots of nice department stores, illuminated skyscrapers and businessmen dashing around in the rush hour commute. After all that walking around it was time to retire for the evening as we'd got an early morning for the fish market the next day.

All the guide books say you should make the effort and go to the Tsujiki fish market in the morning. Fellow backpackers had said that we should get up at 3.30am and try to get one of the limited entry tickets to the tuna auction..."did we do that?" you ask...no! We deliberated for hours the night before, set our alarm for 3am, then 7am, then 3am...before finally deciding that we'd be gutted if we got there and didn't manage to get a ticket and that we would be quite happy with just experiencing the normal wholesale market instead. I had a really good morning; it was bustling with activity, people buying and selling all kinds of seafood, dodging out the way of fork lift trucks, watching the huge pieces of tuna being sawn into pieces...it's definitely a working port market than a tourist attraction, if you get in the way it's your own fault. After all the mayhem of the market it was time to grab a fish brunch. There are loads of sushi and sashimi cafes surrounding the market and the ones in the guidebooks have huge queues for them, so instead of waiting for hours we went to one with a medium-sized queue instead and had a bowl of sashimi each. The main fish in my bowl was yellow fin tuna, along with prawn, caviar, lobster, minced tuna, fish omelette. Jason's was quite similar but he had sea urchins... I thought they were horrible but J liked them.

After the fish market we caught a train to central Tokyo and strolled around the outskirts of the Imperial Palace. You can't go in the palace, but there are nice gardens to walk around (alongside the many joggers that use the palace as a jogging circuit). The palace is home to the Imperial family and Japan's Emperor, but only open to the public on two days a year. Luckily the weather was really sunny and warm and we enjoyed walking around, seeing the manicured lawns with gardeners cutting the grass with scissors, and stopped to have a drink outside in the sun. Before going back to the hotel for an afternoon nap we had time to browse around the nearby Pokemon shop for some Christmas present ideas...I wonder who for?!

We'd read on a blog that Ebisu was a good alternative area to go out in Tokyo, hopefully a bit cheaper than Shibuya or Shinjuku. We actually found it pretty quiet, but none the less had a great night out together. We found a pizza place (Japanese love Italian food) that made wood fired pizzas right in front of you for about £3 each. They were delicious and we managed to eat our way through four of them... oh dear. I also discovered that I like tequila tonic as a drink...lovely! We propped ourselves up at the pizza bar all night, it was a great last night in Tokyo.

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The weirdest thing happened the next morning. We thought we'd grab a quick curry lunch in a little cafe at Ueno station in Tokyo before catching our train to Sendai. As I was ordering the food Jason started talking to a man that was sitting at one of the 10 tables in the cafe. It was one of Jason's colleagues from work, Ian...such a small world. Of all the places we've been, we certainly didn't expect to see someone we knew in one of the busiest cities in the world. A lovely lunch and catch up was had, it was nice seeing a friendly face.

Posted by bloorsontour 03:52 Archived in Japan Comments (3)

Istanbul!

Meet up with Findler-Bloor-Gormans...

We were pretty excited to see Istanbul, get resupplied with a few essentials and, of course have a lot of quality time with the 'rents!

The 2 Debs had been meeting to make plans for a few months and Rob had read his rough guide from "front to back". We'd booked accommodation months ago, so it was nice for us to have some time without having anything to plan. We had envisaged an emotional reunion at the airport, but it turned out we were arriving to airports at opposite ends of the city. Instead we rendezvoused at Frida suites, our home for the next 4 nights.

The Findler-Bloor-Gormans were chauffeured from the airport, while we took the bus and a short walk, but it sounds like our journey was easier... We arrived to find a locked door, no bell, note or anything, so I nipped into a local cafe to use a phone. A few minutes later, the characterful Ozzy arrived to show us in. It turned out that the others had to wait for 30 mins outside and a helpful passerby had berated Ozzy for his poor service, so we weren't far behind them. Ozzy found my mum on the stairs and informed her that we wouldn't be arriving until tomorrow, a hilarious rouse, which we kept up for a few seconds before having the wind squeezed out of us by a Mantis hug! Next was the Findlers where there were more hugs and a few tears...

Dinner for the evening was to be nibbles from the local supermarket, a couple of bottles of champagne, effes beer and a nice single malt. The food-drink balance was about right... We spent the night in Mum and Phil's room, which became the social area for the week, catching up, receiving my birthday cards and the odd gift (thanks everyone, you shouldn't have!), and generally having a laugh.

The next day was an 8am breakfast followed by a guided tour stating at 9am. We found a local breakfast place with fresh baked goods, a friendly owner and a menu with items such as "roasted with toasted" for us to try and decipher. It was all good so it didn't matter too much what we pointed to. Our private tour guide for the day was Urzu (apologies for any misspelling). Soph and I are usually too tight to pay for a guide and often like getting lost and finding things on our own, but for a group of 6, a guide was a good decision. It turned out particularly well as this was to be our only day of sunshine, so a great time to tick off all the main places. Urzu took us at a nice pace from our apartments, to sultanahmet, the Topkapi Palace, the hippodrome, a nice lunch stop, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and finally an underground cistern... No wonder we were all tired after! There is plenty in all the guide books about these places so I think the pictures show enough for the purposes of this blog. Needless to say, Istanbul is pretty incredible to look at and understand some of the history of.

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A few things that we can remember from Urzu:
Tulips originated from Turkey and bulbs were stolen by the Dutch.
No images of people or animals are allowed in a mosque.
Hagia Sophia was made a museum to prevent warring over whether it should be mosque or a church.

We felt lazy after all that, so took the funicular up to Taksim Square to avoid the steep walk. It was fairly busy, with what we assumed to be preparations for independence day celebrations. There was to be huge firework and light show over the Bosphorus that evening, however, a second mining disaster in a month lead to a last minute cancellation. It was a shame to miss it, but the chance to have a more relaxed evening wasn't so bad given the days exersions. The little fish restaurant round the corner was reasonable and the fish was very tasty. Rob's plate of dry mini burgers and chips was not so good. We all agreed that not ordering fish in a fish restaurant is a bit like ordering an English meal in a Chinese restaurant and had only a little simpathy as we tucked in!

Day 2 and we were on our own. We tried a different place for breakfast. It was a highly confusing ordering process... A well presented English menu, stylish interior, plenty of staff and no one else in - seemed simple... First the waiter decided to take our order without writing it down. Then he went away part way through to fetch a pencil, but no paper. We repeated the order. Then another man joined him and the first man explained what we wanted, getting about 60% of it right, which was more than expected. Finally it was decided to write down the order, but rather than start again, we were to correct the order that the first waiter had decided we wanted... drinks took 20 mins to arrive, but surprisingly we got everything we ordered, I think...

So after a rather trying breakfast, we hit the grand bazaar where Sophie and I planned to buy all of our Xmas presents to send back. This plan did not work out. The architecture is impressive, a warren of archways, pillars, domes, semidomes and quarter domes, but the shops... Not so impressive. We had visions of chaotic scenes of trading, locals buying all sorts of weird and wonderful things, handmade crafts, etc. We also expected to get lost. The Marrakech souks it is not. Instead, it's a grid of expensive souvenir shops, very easy to keep your bearing, but not so easy to find decent presents, so sorry everyone... The Findlers did however manage to keep up their tradition of buying xmas decorations from around the world. Debra was chief barterer and used all the techniques: the walk away, the "we've found it cheaper round the corner" and finally the fluttered eyelashes... Nice work Debra. Mum got in on the action too after Deb had beaten them down!

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Next we had a quick soup and coffee stop in a run down but friendly and tasty cafe, whilst sheltering from the rain, before heading through the backstreets surrounding the bazaar in the general direction of the spice market. The same tea sets, shisha pipes, etc were on display, but still we failed to find anything to purchase. The spice market was similar, though had a few better quality shops and a bit more atmosphere.

We had heard Kadakoy on the Asian side was worth a trip and a bit more of an authentic shopping experience, so we caught the ferry from the golden horn, across the Bosphorus. This incredibly exotic sounding trip costs less than £1 and gave us a nice perspective of the city, a welcome sit down, a bit of traditional music on the way and a warming cup of tea on the way back. An excellent way to travel. Kadakoy's highlight was the market street with fish, veg, spices, chocolate shops, a great yoghurt and honey shop and, at the end, a few bars where we could sit under cover with some nice warm heaters... Rob was a little disappointed he didn't have time to sample the fish fillet butties on our way back to the ferry though (they did look good and very cheap).

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Soph did a bit of research and found us a nice restaurant, Babel, for the evening. Plenty of mezze, wine and margaritas... all pretty delicious and a nice evening. On the way out we were given a caramel vodka shot which proved to be a bit of a hit with a normally fairly teetotal Debra Findler...

Day 3: more rain, seaside town of Ortakoy, the Bosphorus bridge, a photography exhibition and Friday night out... We had a pleasant day pottering around and seeing another side to Istanbul. We called it a day to head back and grab an afternoon tea (at last Yorkshire tea) and to get ready for a night out...

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We started at 360 bar, which had stunning views over the city and pretty good cocktails and then headed to another Sophie selected restaurant called Nineteen. Rather than make any decisions, we ordered everything and it was all good, washed down with a few carrafes of the house wine. Having stuffed ourselves, Debra felt the pull of the caramel vodka shots and dragged us into the place we visited the previous night (that's broadly what happened anyway)...

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Our time with the parents had come to an end and after much too short a sleep, we breakfasted and saw them off in their taxi. Seeing everyone had been great and being treated to everything while they were with us made it nice for us to not have to constantly check whether things were in budget. We had a lot of fun, thank you!

We returned to bed to sleep off some of our hangover, before heading to our more budget accommodation for the evening. Our parents had worn us out, so a walk and a meal was just about all we could manage with the rest of our day before getting in bed by 7pm!

Next stop, Tokyo...

Posted by bloorsontour 03:43 Archived in Turkey Comments (3)

Athens

A great ending to our 3 weeks in Greece...

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Our ferry arrived into Athens, Piraeus, quite late so rather than traveling into Athens centre at night we grabbed a basic simple room near the port and hunted out an Indian curry house to settle our travel hunger. It was just an average curry, but it hit the spot and we were raring to get out and explore the next day.

Jason had used some of his hotel points again to get us two free nights in Athens; it turned out to be a really well located Best Western hotel and there was a huge buffet breakfast included in the stay too. We filled our stomachs every morning with cereal, toast, pastries, cake, bacon, sausage, eggs, fruit, yogurt...we have to make the most of good free food!

At the end of our hotel road there was one of those sight seeing bus company stops that do bus tours around European cities. You can hop on and off whenever you like and the ticket covers you for two days. It's not something we would normally go for but we only had two days in Athens and wanted to make sure we didn't miss any of the key tourist sites. I really enjoyed it and thought it was a good way of visiting the city.

Every Sunday there's a huge antique and flea market at Monastiraki. We could have spent a fortune there finding lovely one pieces for our house (if we still owned a house!); we loved an old antique gramophone and I liked all the antique chandelier light fittings. The area was packed with people, loads of shops and stalls, a nice square that's under the eye of the Parthenon and cafes that were perfect for people watching. We had a bite to eat and mint tea whilst watching the mayhem unfold.

We hopped straight onto the bus again after the flea market and headed to the acropolis. The entrance ticket for the acropolis covers you for quite a few historical sites (sorry I can't remember them all as we didn't visit them). I've visited the Parthenon before and found myself a little underwhelmed this time, but jason on the other hand liked it and said it was especially worth the visit to take in the mounted position of it in the middle of a modern city. We went on a bright sunny day and so the views were really good, but the ruins were covered in scaffolding for restoration work. (I soon changed my opinion once we visited the acropolis museum the next day). It's a nice area to walk around and at the bottom there's a busy area of shops and cafes called the Plaka, and it's always nice to have a drinks stop. Here you can also see the temple of Zeus...again good, but I preferred the other temple ruins we saw in Jaresh, Jordan.

Our next bus stop was the Archeological Museum, apparently it has the world's best collection of Roman artefacts and sculptures. It's really quite an impressive museum, it was renovated for their hosting of the Olympic games and is nice and modern. If you really want to see it all and take it all in you need a good 3-4 hours there. We were there for 2 and a half hours and it was tiring and felt we rushed through some of it. The best piece I think they have there is a bronze statue of Zeus...I don't think our photos do it justice.

After a jam packed day sightseeing we thought we deserved a good drink and time to watch the big Athens football derby, Panathenikos V Olympiakos...how wrong we were. We found a really busy bar, after walking for about 45 minutes trying to find somewhere that was showing Greek football rather than Spanish or the Premier League, however were refused a drink there. I was so annoyed! We asked for two beers, but one man refused to speak to us and the other girl said she wasn't gonna get us a beer unless we had a seat. I got two seats by the bar but she said "not those ones" and they were only helping the locals to find a seat. I've never felt so unwelcome. We were both really looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere, but by now were really annoyed. So instead we caught the last 40 minutes of the Manchester derby in a different bar and saw an exciting van Persie equaliser in extra time.

Day two...more bussing around. I don't know what it is about local markets, but I could spend hours wandering around them. There's an area with fresh meat and fish stalls, fruit and veg, bread and olives, and tonnes more. It's nice taking in the local atmosphere. The only thing that we brought was some dried peppermint for Jason to have in his new filter flask. After wandering a little we stumbled across our very own changing of the guard. Most tourists watch it happening every hour outside the parliament, however they also have to change over at other smaller locations too. We were just on time to watch the guard's change routine outside a government building; we were stood on the same pavement as them, so close, I tried not to laugh and put them off but it's this weird leg flinging and balancing on one leg very awkwardly routine...funny. Glad we saw it. Just a short walk down from the guards was the old stadium, Panathenian. We didn't pay to go in, but got an idea of its size and grandeur from standing outside.

The weather was a little cold and damp by the afternoon so we went into the new Acropolis museum, and so glad we did. It's really good, very interesting. There's a good video explanation of the Acropolis's history... did you know it had been a mosque in its past and had been blown up by the Turks?! See, I am learning on this trip too. When it was in its prime, the Parthenon must have been so impressive. The detail of its sculptures were breathtaking. On the top level of the museum there's a viewing gallery to the exact dimensions of the Parthenon where you can walk around it and appreciate what it must have looked liked and what pieces of the structure have been rescued to date. Apparently a lot of the sculptures were damaged or stolen by the numerous invaders they had in Greece over the centuries. I would very much recommend this museum to people, it completely changed my opinion of the acropolis and made me appreciate its rich history.

After another busy day on our final day in Greece it was time to treat ourselves to a Greek feast at a local taverna. We had wine, bread, olives, tatziki, humus, grilled meats and vegetables. A lovely three weeks spent in Greece and now to see the parents... yippee!!!!

Posted by bloorsontour 07:39 Archived in Greece Comments (2)

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