Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Cruise Diaries: Day 4 - Wednesday 22nd May 2013 - Athens, Greece

Two days ago, we were in Sicily, and we wake up this morning in Greece.  The joy of cruising! Visiting all these countries and no need to unpack.  Our ship is docked in Piraeus, the main port for the Athens area.  no formal excursion today but a DIY tour of the city.  The hop-on, hop-off bus is just perfect for that.  A short walk from the port terminal and then get on the first bus in the two-part Athens and Piraeus city sightseeing tour.  You get a tour of Piraeus which is on the outskirts of Athens and then the bus takes you into the city, to the Acropolis and Parthenon stop.  Ah yes, the Acropolis and Parthenon.  The mythology!  The history! The....scaffolding and cranes ?!?! 

It's a very hot day in Athens so it's best to stay on the tour bus.  We transfer to the Athens bus tour which lasts approximately an hour, covering an extensive city route and takes you round all the main sightseeing spots.  Here are some of them as seen from the tour bus.

Above: the parliament building. 

Above: another view of the Acropolis, from the Monastiraki area. 

Above: Hadrian's Arch.

Due to our limited time in the city we don't get off the bus until the Plaka, which is a nice old-town area.  Where there are lots of restaurants.  Time for lunch!

Above: some fantastic, delicious fried aubergine slices.

Above: stuffed peppers and potatoes.

All accompanied by Greek wine of course.  But as I said, we have limited time in the city so it's back on the bus, taking us back to the Acropolis stop and transfer to the bus back to Piraeus. 

We have a little free time in Piraeus - just enough time for a Greek coffee.  Which is just like a Turkish coffee.  Only it's Greek.  

Back to the ship in plenty of time for its 5.00 departure.  We're out on the back deck again, sailing out of Piraeus.  But the Navigator of the Seas is not the only Royal Caribbean ship in port today: there's also the Splendour of the Seas, which is a much smaller ship than ours and holds over 1000 passengers less.  Here it is, sailing away just a little while before the Navigator leaves Piraeus. 

We return to the main dining room for yet another very nice evening meal, including an aubergine bake for me.

It's been a very tiring day, so no shows for us tonight - our evening is based around a long leisurely dinner.  There's a nice surprise waiting for us when we return to our stateroom later in the evening....

Is it a towel? Is it an elephant?  No - it's both!  Towel animals are a big tradition on cruise ships.  We had three of these during our cruise and the elephant was my favourite.  Unfortunately he only stayed overnight with us as he would go back to being a towel again the following day :(

Tomorrow: another day, another port, another country - hello, yes please - where else could it be but Turkey!

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