Tuesday, March 4, 2008
We loved Athens! Our port call was in Piraeus and this was the first shore excursion we paid for through the Costa cruiselines. We had a fabulous Greek guide named Eugenia and she was able to help us understand all the sites we were seeing. THe day was a long one...an 8 hour tour, but we saw a lot of wonderful sites and had some tasty Greek food!
Also we met an American family originally from NYC but now living in Connecticut that had a son that was 12 and a daughter that was 10. Yay! Our boys had some new friends to pal around with. The four of them were spending all their waking time together on the ship from that time on. They are now corresponding via email and we are hoping to stop in a say hello to them once we come back to the States.
The first place we went was Cape Sounion. High upon the cliffs is the Temple of Poseidon. The view was amazing and when the sun started to come out, the Messina family was totally in awe...sunshine...a high commodity in Norway over this last rainy, dark year. We had a wonderful Greek buffet lunch at a resort hotel and then finished out our day spending the afternoon walking around the Acropolis in Athens. What a day rich in history! The Greek people are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. Once you have been to Greece and exchanged names, you are family. I would go back in a heartbeat!
There was a large group of Chinese-born Canadians on the cruise. Lily saw a group of about 6 of them walking near us at the Acropolis and shouted to them, "Ni hao!" (which is Mandarin for hello). They all shouted it back and ooh'd and ah'd over her billiance. I have been trying to work with Lily on more Chinese words. She can actually count better in Chinese than English! (she always forgets the number 4 when counting in English)
One thing I found interesting in Greece....depending on whether the last number of your license plate on your car is odd or even, tells you the days you can drive your car. Let's say that number was 3. You can drive your car on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The other days you must ride the bus. Helps curb traffic and pollution. At 3:00 p.m. on Friday, the rule is lifted and everyone can drive, no matter what your number is. This was when we were in Athens. Going back to the ship after 3 on a Friday. The traffic was bad but not anything compared to what we would experience in Cairo.
We also stopped and had our picture taken in front of the first Olympic stadium of the Modern Era, built in 1896 and made of white marble. Pretty impressive. There were many things from the Acropolis that were taken by the British many years ago that are in the museum in London. Eugenia was near tears talking about how she wished it would be returned to the Greek people so it could be shared with the world from its own historical spot. We actually heard on the news that night that a lot of Greek pieces were being returned to Athens for the new Acropolis museum that would be opening in September. Yay! Eugenia was fabulous...she had been a tour guide for 27 years and really knew a lot about history. I found it absolutely amazing to hear about how a matriarchal society worked.
Posted by Cyndi at 10:07 AM