Greetings and welcome back for the final installation of Braam’s Gone Wild….European Edition!
Once again, we had a terribly late arrival to our new destination, but the red eye from Rome was super cheap. By the time we ended up at Liz’s(our friend in Athens), it was 2am and we were exhausted. The next morning we dragged ourselves out of bed at 11, only to discover that the Athens Metro workers were on strike. That made our decision of what to do with the day really easy. After so much travel we were more than happy to hang in Liz’s hood for a mellow day. We met for dinner and ate some wonderfully delicious Greek specialties at one of her favorite neighborhood restaurants. Having some local knowledge and a translator really helps in getting to go to and order at many of the fantastic local spots. Hanging out with Liz enabled us to have some amazing food we would have otherwise never tried. Love that local knowledge!
After our lazy day in Athens, we had to make day two count, so we got up early and hit town! Our mission for the day was to tackle the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. We arrived and were immeadiately reminded that we had entered a tourist zone. Guided tours, selfie sticks and souveniers were for sale and street performers played up and down the street. We got our tickets and walked up the hill to see the reminants of the once powerful ancient Greeks. The Parthenon and all of the other temples and such were striking in both beauty and size. All structures stood in various forms of renovation, but you could really get a feeling of what it all used to look like back in the day. There was a pretty small crowd but you could imagine how it might be miserable with the crowds and heat of August. We walked the site in constant amazement wondering what it must have been like to be a citizen of ancient Athens. We pulled ourselves away to make it just down the street to the Acropolis Museum. It was there that we had a nice lunch on the roof, taking in the delicious food and great views. We then dove into the thousands of ancient artifacts the place had on display. It was super interesting to get some more background on the site itself, its intricate renovations and to see some of the stone carvings and other items up close. We stayed as long as a 4 year old can stay in a museum and headed back to Liz’s. That evening, we had the special treat of a Halloween party! The American school where Liz teaches was having a fundraiser party, so we went to enjoy the fun and games. Meier couldn’t have been more thrilled! Candy, games and costumes…what more could a kid want!?
The next day Liz had the day off! She gave us a great locals tour of some cool neighborhoods for shopping and sightseeing. We checked out lots of little shops and markets before making our way to the anarchist neighborhood, Liz’s favorite. There was lots of graffiti all around with painted up abandoned buildings every few blocks. We stopped for lunch at a great restaurant where we had more ordering assistance for a tasty meal. Definitely an interesting vibe going on in that hood. We wandered a bit longer through the city before heading home for a chill night.
On the last day of our time in Athens and in Europe, we went out for a nice day on the beach. After a complicated ride on public transit we made it to the seaside. Small rocky beaches, one by one, line the coast. We picked one and spread out a bit. The sea was still warm from the summer despite the more recent cooler temperatures. We had a nice swim and lots of fun playing in the surf. Meier kept insisting on races down the beach, so we took turns running up and down the beach with him. It was the perfect afternoon for relaxing and enjoying the last day before the long journey home. We said goodbye to the sea, then headed back to Liz’s. That night we went out for some farewell beers at the local microbrewery and one last gyros before retiring to the apartment to get ready.
We woke early, said goodbye and hopped in a cab to the airport. The trip home was long and arduous, but we arrived in one piece! We’re so happy to be home and the whole trip is really beginning to set in. It’s crazy to sit back and think about how many crazy fun adventures we had. So many parks and castles. So many awesome restaurants and cafes. So many great countries and cities. What a really incredible trip of a lifetime.
Thanks everyone for tuning in for a window into our crazy travels. Stayed tuned for more adventure and travel in the future, but not for a while…we’re tired.