Saying goodbye to Mykonos and the people I had met over the last couple days is no easy task, but I am excited to explore Athens and its historic sites. After a sunny, beach-side breakfast complete with Greek yogurt, Greek coffee, a slice of cake, and bread until I feel full, I get back on a ferry towards Athens. This time, I ferry to Athens’ Rafina Port, which is on the other side of the city, but the ticket price is a little better, and there is still a bus to take me to the center of town when I arrive. On the boat, I make friends with three Greek girls as we watch part of the movie “Center Stage” in English with Greek subtitles. One of them was looking for work on Mykonos island over the summer and the other two were accompanying her. Working on a Greek Island sounds like it could be a very nice summer job! Their English is pretty good and before parting ways, they give me some pointers of what to see and where to go in Athens.
For the next couple weeks of my journey, a friend from school, Adam is meeting up with me and we will explore Athens, Istanbul and Morocco together. After a short walk from the bus station to the Pella Inn, my hostel in Athens on 104 Ermou Street, I meet Adam and his brother Drew in our dorm room and our first adventure is finding food. But before we do anything, we appreciate the unreal view of the Acropolis that we have from our dorm window and the even better panoramic we get from the hostel’s rooftop. We leave the hostel in search of another cheap and delicious gyro place, we find the one that Drew had spotted earlier to be closed, and we start to improvise. We walk around Monastiraki and weave through its many narrow streets and alleys. As we pass every restaurant, we are semi-harassed with questions whether or not we choose to stop to check the menu and its prices, but eventually, we find a nice restaurant that produces a meat lovers plate with about 5 or 6 different types of meats. The three of us sit down, order Mythos beers, meat and bread, and all seems right as we watch the sun set on the Acropolis. After dinner, we wander around Plaka, an historic area of Athens located on the foothills of the Acropolis, and I find a fedora that fits and have a fun time bargaining for it. We make it an early night so that we can return to our hostel’s rooftop and admire the lit up Acropolis as we meet some of the other guests. We befriend Carley and Amanda from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and although originally they think they have a ferry booked heading towards the islands the next morning, after they wake up early and figure out how to get to the port, they realize that their days are off and they have an extra day in Athens. The good news is that it means the five of us will tour Athens’ highlights together.