Monday, March 26, 2007

Athens, Greece - A Bittersweet Affair

We arrived in Greece in the afternoon of Mar. 21. Our flight on Royal Jordanian Airlines from Amman was topnotch...two thumbs up for the official air carrier of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan! Leather seats, tons of leg room and a delicious lunch.

As Greece is a real shock to the wallet after our travels through the Middle East and specifically Egypt we opted to stay in Athens in the cheapest place we could - a Hosteling International hostel in the Athens district of Omonia. Our Lonely Planet warned us that the area was seedy but honestly it was completely fine apart from the hookers that hung out on the corner just a few blocks away. But really, are we going to let a few hookers keep us away from budget accommodation? I think they add character to the area. We didn't have much day left once we arrived and got settled but we wandered a bit around the "bohemian" area of the city and had dinner there. It was very nice. Narrow streets, little independent shops and a nice casual air.

The next day we awoke to a sheets of rain pouring down. We thought we would be brave and tough it out so we donned our rain jackets and headed out. An hour later, soaked to the bone and freezing we succeeded defeat and headed back to the hostel. Mind you at this time a pesky pain was beginning to form in my stomach and I was having trouble forging on. We spent the rest of the rain filled day (it never stopped until 10pm that night) in the hostel room, me drifting in and out of sleep and clutching my stomach, Daniel reading and plotting our island hopping course. That night, once the rain ceased (and my stomach relented a little) we walked around the city a bit more. We were very pleased with what we saw.

The next morning we were determined not to waste the day and though my stomach was still killing me and I hadn't been able to eat since the morning before we decided to do the grande Acropolis/Ancient Angora/major sites in Athens tour. Everything we saw was very impressive and I can't express how beautiful the view is from atop the Acropolis looking down on the
Mediterranean, Athens and the surrounding hills/mountains. Unfortunately, in Ancient Agora my stomach got the best of me and I lost my cookies, beginning what would be a downward spiral for me. The rest of day and night I spent in bed with chills and a high fever. The next day we planned on leaving Athens for Mykonos but again I awoke very sick (day 3) and Daniel, very concerned insisted that we go to the hospital. Long story short, I picked up a virus somewhere and only today and I beginning to feel right again. Despite the stomach troubles Daniel and I both thought Athens was a beautiful, lively city. It was a sharp contrast to the Middle East as Greek women seem to have a penchant for anything tight, short or high-heeled. Talk about culture shock!

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