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Trip Report Athens, Meteora,Delphi, Crete, and Naxos - the journey begins

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I am sitting on the balcony of our room at the Electra Palace Hotel in Athens looking up at the Acropolis. It is still feeling unreal that something so exquisite and ancient still survives in the midst of this mad mad world. So as promised here is our trip report...I shall add as we go so I can remember as much as possible.

Our two intrepid travelers, aka Steve and Laura, started off three days ago (I think) from little Farmington New Mexico. A three hour drive to Albuquerque - easy lines at TSA in spite of all the dire warnings and on time flight to Dallas. Since we had an overnight layover we had booked a room at the Hyatt Regency attached to the airport which proved to be oh so wise. We got four or five hours of sleep and a great breakfast and the room was really comfortable. I highly recommend it if your travels take you there.

Again, easy TSA the next morning and on time flight to Philly, terrible airport food but at least we new that the tavernas were waiting. The flight to Athens was delayed a bit, but once on board (American airlines) all was incredibly efficient. Long night on the airplane, but what a miracle that we can fly overseas in a mere nine hours - so easy to complain, but really so grateful for modern wonders.

We went through customs in Athens quickly, and a very friendly taxi driver delivered us to the hotel where we were greeted with much friendliness. Our room wasn't ready so we sat in the garden and ate lunch (fish soup, salad with smoked salmon and filo pastries - very good) and had our first capuccino (ok two - we were tired). With the first sip I knew I wasn't in Kansas anymore - I am in love with European coffee - true confessions.

Refusing to bow to fatigue, once we had settled in the room we walked to Symtagna square. Our intent was to go to the National History museum to give us some context, but repeating our mistakes from our last trip abroad we forgot to check hours and arriving at 3 pm, found it had closed at 2. hot, sweaty and grumpy. But gathered ourselves together and went to the Benaki museum which is a gem - pottery (grecian urns fit for an ode) and paintings. Actually every museum we have gotten into so far has been impressive.

then walked in Queen Amalia's garden - sort of worn, showing the impact I suspect of austerity. Stopped for icecream and an esspresso fredo - my new best friend. Swam at the hotel roof top pool and ate dinner at their restaurant - beautiful view of the Acropolis, and wonderful service - food was fine but not great.

This morning delighted in the European breakfast buffet that I have come to love on our last two trips and then intrepidly donned our hats and sunscreen and took off for the Acropolis. Wisely took a taxi so we wouldn't arrive tired and the driver was again so helpful and friendly. The Acropolis defies description, but the awe of standing amongst something so ancient was palpable. Also wonderful to hear the swirl of languages around us. And yes it was hot hot hot. Cooled down with a frozen lemonade and walked to the Acropolis museum, as much for the air conditioning as anything. Enjoyed the museum, enjoyed the lunch at the top floor restaurant more (thank you Travlrjan). We then tried to go to the folklore museum (honest taxi driver told us we could walk, silly to take taxi) only it had moved :( so we went to the Byzantine museum instead - we thought it was going to be a small, informal museum and it turned out to be huge and very complex collection. We enjoyed it, but after a while fatigue re-asserted itself so back to the room to rest and share this first installment. Tomorrow we are off to Thermopolye and Meteora. I will report in again when the chance arrives. (and please all, forgive my misspellings - never my strong suit).

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