Greece day 1: No Museum Day in Athens [YQrtw Day 38 May 15]

Location: Athens, Greece

Hello I’m back on my laptop! I was afraid that my netbook would die and leave me after it got wet from a leaky water bottle. I switched it on last night and it shut off when I tried moving it.

I gave it a night to dry and was glad this morning to find that it was OK!

Back to today’s event. After many days of museumseeing in Italy, I was getting quite tired of seeing lovely old things.

Plus, I really didn’t want to do any planning for the day so I rested by setting today as No Museum Day.

Anyway, I will be in Athens for 7 nights (much longer than any cities I’ve been) so I’m sure I’ll get to see lots of the city in the following week.

[My airconditioner is making noises like a lawnmover as I write. Last night, I had to switch it off and rely on the cool night air of end of Spring, or else I would get no sleep.]

Back to the day’s event. So what does No Museum Day mean? It means I get to leave my room late at past 10am–not possible when you need to be in line for a gallery before it’s opening–and I do not need to plan anything.

Of course I still need to tick a few things off my To-Do List, the most important being #1 Get a local SIM; and somewhere down the list is Get a cheap hat that fits my head.

After getting a weekly transport pass in the shape of a small ticket, I started my SIM hunting at Syntagma Square. The square didn’t seem very busy compared to the cities I have been to on this trip. Maybe there weren’t too many tourists around crowding the place.

I walked down the sloppy pedestrian street near Syntagma Square. When I looked at the cafes, it didn’t seem like Greece was in a downturn. I saw a lot of locals sitting at cafes, chatting over coffees. Today is a Wednesday, why are you all outside?

While walking, I passed a bakery, overflowing with bread and pastries. I grabbed a braided bread–which might have been a tsoureki–that was only 70 cents. The bread was big and had lumps of sugar on it, giving me the energy to continue my search for my SIM card.

While walking, I saw some parts of the Acropolis from afar. There was a gated area which had an unguarded door, leading me to think that it is possible to sneak in without paying charges.

Acropolis from afar
Acropolis from afar

Sipping Greek coffees

As I walked down the street, I checked out the menu of one of the cafe. The waiter came out to greet me, and left me with a stunning employee who was the “coffee master”.

The coffee master looked a little like Jason Stackhouse from True Blood. Of course, how can I say no to getting the recommended cappucino freddo which was overpriced by 2 euro? Damn these sneaky businesspeople and people with fairy blood.

The coffee tasted different from the smooth drinks I had in Italy. Its taste reminded me of Turkish coffee but, thankfully, without the coffee grounds.

I took my time with the coffee and read a few chapters on my Kindle. Not running around after museums is really fun.

After the coffee break, I ended up at a tram station. I took the tram to nowhere, deciding to stop when I see a Wind shop to get my SIM.

The tram snaked its way into the residential area. It wasn’t long when I spotted a large Wind shop.

Getting a local SIM in Greece was much easier than Italy. I didn’t have to wait a whole day for activation and there was a promo where I only pay 5 euro for 500MB. That works out awesome for me.

I never figured out which part of Athens I was at but it was a wealthy-looking neighborhood. More people hung out at cafes and the shops were selling shoes that cost more than 50 euro.

It was in this unknown neighborhood that I replenished my sunblock and had a taste of my first Greek frappé (for only 1 euro).

I saw the lady put two spoonfuls each of sugar and coffee powder. She poured in water, beat the cup’s content with a machine and added milk.

The mixture was fun at the beginning. I tasted some of the unmelted sugar and was jolted by the thick caffeine.

Later when the drink was almost gone, the foam and the leftover remained, the coffee turned sour and bitter. I had to toss the thing away.

After more walking aimlessly, I head back to my hotel, stoppined at Carrefour for a roasted chicken to feast in my room.

From 4pm onwards, I retired and did a bit of reading and writing.

Tomorrow, museum seeing will continue. Until then!

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