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Todd’s Travel Diary

Friday, 27 Jul 2007

Location: Athens, Europe

MapWow...a lot to update.
While in Germany, Val's friend Andreas (The friends we stayed with) took me to see their local soccer team play (big screen at a pub- away game -too far to travel). I met a few of his friends and enjoyed the German culture while getting a little insight into their "football" obession. Afterward we headed to a very large free music festival called "Das Fest". Probably close to 80,000 people. Thankfully the groups from Sweden and Berlin sang in English. It was a great time, but made for a long day. While we were doing all this, Val and Michelle went to see Africa Africa. A sort of Circ de Sol (sp?) performance. When we got back they were already home and Val had picked up a copy of the new Harry Potter for me. Something good to read!

We left Germany Sunday evening for Rome. We got off in Switzerland to change trains (10pm) and were told we didn't have the proper ticket. Our Eurorail pass is not good for Switzerland, but we understood it as we could purchase the this small segment of our trip on board. Oops! So we wondered around to find a hostel to stay in. We went budget and got quite the story. As we walked into our room, three half naked Polish guys introduced themselves. They were wierd! We got about five hours of sleep before we had to get up and catch a different train. We figured we might as well stop in Milan for the day since it was on the way.
Great four hour stop. We wondered around their massive basilica and even walked on the roof! Very cool.
As we got back to the train station...we once again didn't have the right ticket to get to Rome. We thought our pass would work, but unfortnately we needed reserve seating. It was a special train. So what to do??? We found a train that was departing five minutes later to Venice. Great choice!

We arrived in Venice around 6:30 and roomed the streets for a recommended hotel from our Rick Steve's book. As we arrived we realized we had to check in by 8pm. Guess what...it was 8:15 when we arrived. The door was closed and we were exhausted. The streets of Venice are not easy to navigate, especially with 45 pounds on your back. Luckily a famil was leaving the hostel and opened the door. I peeked my head in and begged the woman at the desk to let us book the night. We had no idea where else to go. That is unless we wanted to spend $100 a piece. She thankfully let us in. That night we walked a little and had great traditionaly Itailian pizza. (I like it better at home!:-)
The next morning we started to explore, but were given the opportunity to get a free boat ride to Murano (The island where they blow glass). We took them up on the offer and watched the artist's blow a vase and then create a horse from glass. Way cool. Very hard to do. We walked around Murano for a few hours before heading back to Venice.
Back on Venice, Val and I split up to walk around. I walked and got lost and then walked some more and got more lost. Thankfully everyone else in Venice is lost, so people just wander. I had a map and asked a few poeple to finally figure where I was. Good day overall. Venice is unbelievable!!!!! Sorry to Gondola rides. That evening we headed to the train station and and caughts a night train for Bari. The port where the ferry takes people to Greece.

We arrived in Bari around 9:30. We found out the ferry would leave until 8pm. So how to kill time/??? Val had a migraine and needed to lie down. She stayed at the ferry terminal while I went off exploring Bari. The only interesting thing I found was a castle, but of course it was closed!

We left that night for Greece on our 16 hour ferry ride. We booked reclining seats, not rooms. I don't even know why we booked seats. Everyone pretty much slept on the floor, as we did too.

We arrived in Patra around noon, to find out the next train to Athen didn't leave until 5pm. So we ate and walked a little. Guess what...everything was closed as well! "It will be open tomorrow." Famous words we've hear a lot!

We arrived in Athens around 8pm and found our hotel. Thank goodness we booked this while in Patra, otherwise we would have been dealing with another headache.
We walked down to the Plaka to see the Acropolis lite up at night and ventured through a few stores.

This morning we headed out and saw everything you could before 1pm. Which was most everything there is too see here, unless we take a bus or subway to outside of Athens. We had lunch in the Plaka. I ordered a Gyros, but was dissappointed it came with beef. Maybe tonight for dinner I'll try again and see if I can get lamb. We head for Crete tomorrow aboard a ferry and should arrive about 1pm at Crete. I'll try to add more pictures there since we have a week to relax and catch up.