Athens Without Drachma

The flight from Istanbul to Athens is a short one, a little over an hour, but the Aegean Air staff managed to get a dinner service in. I took the Metro from the airport and, while standing in the crowded train, had my wallet stolen. This is a huge P1000562pain as I had to spend hours cancelling cards and trying to figure out what to do about it. I lost my debit card so can’t readily use ATMs, and have a grand total of 2 Euros in change. I have a spare credit card but the banks are closed on Sunday and only they can make cash advances. Thankfully I still have my passport but the whole thing is dispiriting since it takes time away from exploration of Athens.

How does that Cracker song go?P1000589

Took the train down to Athens,
and I slept in a fountain.
Some Swiss junkie in Turin
ripped me off for my cash.

It is an absolutely beautiful day in Athens, sunny, warm, clear air. George, who approached me on the street near the Acropolis today, is an impeccably dressed older Greek gentleman who, to my surprise, wasn’t selling anything and just wanted to talk. He asked me if I knew how he learned English and I almost said “From monitoring our radio and television broadcasts?” like in the old sci-fi movies but held my tongue. He learned English he said working on an American military base in Corfu. He cautioned me about keeping my wallet safe and, when I told him the advice came too late, launched into an entertaining diatribe against the “facking Bulgarians and Romanians” who he feels are ruining his town. (For the record, I have no idea of the nationality of the guy who picked my pocket. As Kilgore Trout said in Breakfast of Champions, when asked to describe the occupants of a car who mugged him, “For all I know, they may not even have been Earthlings. For all I know, that car may have been occupied by an intelligent gas from Pluto.”)

Last night after I walked up to the street from the train, another older fellowP1000588 gave me precise directions to my hotel. He asked where I was from and, when I told him, asked me what the four most important things to come out of Seattle were. I said, Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks and Amazon, with no idea where this was going. “Amazon, yes,” he said, “but I think Nirvana and Kurt Cobain.”

I’m not going to write about the Acropolis, since I have nothing new to say. It is beautiful on a day like today and the best place for people watching I have ever been. Thankfully admission was free today. P1000582The walk up the hill to it is fairly easy and invigorating, with lots of shady spots to plant yourself on a marble step and just gawk at the scenery and the people moving past. I had fragments of e.e. cummings’ “(ponder, darling, these busted statues” running through my head most of the morning. I’m going back tonight.

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About Saint Expedite

Retired early, then took a trip across the Pacific from Seattle by container ship. From China I stopped in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Holland, Denmark, England and Ireland before heading home to Puget Sound. This blog is an account of my travels. Write to me at SaintExpedite@frozenheads.net
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7 Responses to Athens Without Drachma

  1. Elizabeth M Fitterer says:

    This is my favorite post yet. I love your encyclopedic knowledge of quotes and that blue sky is just unreal.

  2. Herb Jepko says:

    Ken:

    You’ve been on the road for almost two months. Just thought you’d like to know. Great stuff, keep it up. Sorry about your wallet.

    Where to next, or should I just be better kept in suspense?

  3. M says:

    I recommend against the rest of the Eurotrash Girl tour; especially Berlin.

  4. Brian Earl says:

    I just got back from two weeks in Greece, while I didn’t get pickpocketed, I did get propositioned by some “lady’s”. It was a great trip however my time in Athens (a day and a half) was great, but the cities of Volos and sailing in the Sporades islands in the Agean was great.

    • Intrigued by “lady’s” remark. Welcome home. When I go back there, I’d like to go sailing in the Aegean. Didn’t you also sail in the Seychelles a few years back? When I was on the freighter there were regular teletype reports from “The Pirate Hotline” about buccaneering in that area.

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