Day 7 - Athens

Milos airport, tiny prop plane

Milos airport, tiny prop plane

First of all, I forgot to mention that my phone is not all dead. Just somewhat. I think I mainly just need the charging port replaced, but I'm making it work for now. At least until my upgrade is available in August. (Did you want to know about my cell phone contract? I thought so.)

As promised, the rental car guy drove me to the airport. And, as he said, it was a five minute drive.

"Did you do schvimming?"

"Schvimming?" I repeated. Honestly, I thought there was some activity on the island I had missed out on.

Then he pantomimed with his arms. Oh.

"Oh yes! Swimming! I did."

"Was it cold?"

"Not too bad. It's so hot out it feels nice." And it is hot. And the sun is unforgiving. I don't know what I mean by that, but it sounded dramatic and feels true when you're wandering through a landscape parched.

"Yes. I went two weeks ago and it was too cold. Now, it is nice."

The airport is tiny. As it should be. And when it came time to "board the plane," we walked out on the tarmac to our tiny prop plane. I do believe this was my first time on a prop plane. At least in recent memory. Which was fine... but it's so vivid. The flight was a half hour, which beats the three(?) hour ferry it would have been. The magic of ferryboats has faded. Mama wants to get things moving.

Got into Athens. Wasn't really sure where to go, as is normal.

"Which way do we go?" said a man behind me.

"Just follow the masses," his wife replied.

Yup.

I finally found signs to get to the train. The magic of buses has also faded with this one. Luckily it's like Chicago in that you can't go the wrong way when departing from the airport by train. And double double lucky for me, I was smart enough to book a hostel that was next to a train station. And triple lucky (and also probably planned by me a month ago) was that the other train line I would need later on was the same stop. Yes, ladies and gents, I'm amazing.

I actually do feel particularly lucky that I haven't (knock on wood) gotten lost at any point. No, I didn't always know where I was going (shit - I think that might be the definition of "lost"), but it never took me too long to figure it out. That's something I think makes it easier about traveling alone. There is no one else's opinion on which way to go.

Which reminds me. Back on Santorini, I was using a bathroom at a bar. When I came out of the stall, a woman held down the water while I washed my hands. (So nice.) And then I went to get a paper towel out of the dispenser, which is identical to the ones in the states that are "motion activated." So I stood there waving at this dispenser. Then a different Greek woman comes up and pushes a button where the motion sensor usually lives. Oh.

"This is Greece! If it doesn't work, try something else!"

#truth

So I step out of the train station into Athens and this is the first thing I see:

Monastriaki Center

Monastriaki Center

Are you kidding me? Amazing. I was a little disoriented and didn't know which street my hostel was on. So unfortunately, I walked through the square. I have a lot of thoughts on cities and more on foreign cities and even more on tourist destination cities. Basically, walking through a square with your giant backpack and a meandering way about you sucks. "Hello, hello! Would you like? Where are you from?" Men trying to sell things approach you like crazy. But, so it goes.

I found the hostel, checked in and dumped my stuff. However, I needed to obtain a padlock for my locker. Wouldn't you know it, there was a hardware store right across the street! I walked in and asked the man behind the counter, "Do you have a lock?" pantomiming how I both lock and unlock a padlock.

He hurried over to show me the different sizes he has. "For valise?" Yes! Valise! I've noticed a bit of overlap between Greek and French. And by "a bit," that's all I mean. A guy on the train yesterday was also trying to sell pens, or stylos. I thanked the man very much. He handed me the lock and said, "Louketo," and waited for me to repeat. This is, "padlock." He just doubled the amount of Greek I know.

(I just received notification that I have a new order on Etsy for a greeting card. I updated my shipping times to 2-3 weeks before I left. That guy's just going to have to cool his jets.)

My big plan for the day was to make it down to near the ferry port to go to a music festival. I'd been looking forward to that part since I booked this trip and actually planned my itinerary around it. But first, I hadn't eaten all day. I've accidentally taken to just eating one meal a day. I forget to do anything in the mornings and am typically exploring around lunch. So I'll have a mid-afternoon feast that will keep me stuffed through the night. Yesterday was no exception.

I wandered down to a nearby neighborhood of where the concert was going to be and just searched for a restaurant. And I'm so glad I found the one I did. However, I did have one slip-up. There was definitely waitstaff visiting each table. But what I didn't realize is that you had to place your order at the counter. And (as my brother just astutely pointed out to me via text), they'll just assume you don't want to order if you just sit there. Eventually an irritated Greek man came over and said, "Please. Order," and motioned to the back counter. 

And boy, oh boy, did I know what I wanted. I wanted the rabbit with onions. The woman serving it up asked if I wanted rice with that. Meh. Not really. Chips? Yes please. (I'm stopping the show to tell you that by chips, I mean fries. I'm so European. I may even speak with an accent when I come home and ask you where the water closet is.) What I did not expect would be that she'd serve me a mountain of chips topped with rabbit and onions. I've never had rabbit fries before. 

So, from there. took a train to a tram to the venue. Tickets said show started at 4pm, which seemed weird to me. Who's free on a Wednesday at 4pm? I am though. They let people in around 4:30 and the first act started at 5pm. There were... five or six bands that played for the next seven hours. The last two were the ones I came to see. Daughter and Beirut. I've been lucky enough to see both of them in Chicago and it made the experience, while foreign, still feel like a bit of home.

I have to give it to Greek crowds also. They're very polite and forgiving about people walking through. I feel like the past few shows I've seen in Chicago, I'm shoving past, if not getting pushed into an accidental mosh-pit. You know, how shit happens.

Daughter

Daughter

Beirut

Beirut

Took me til about 1am to get back to the hostel. And I hadn't yet claimed a bed in my room because they weren't finished cleaning them when I originally checked in. So, flashlight time on the phone it was. I managed to find the creakiest bed in the room. And with all my stuff locked away and packed up in my bag, I didn't want to get anything out and be any noisier. So I just laid down in my clothes and went to sleep.

A great day.