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travelgirl2 Aug 8th, 2006 07:25 AM

Carole told us about picking out your food from the kitchen. The kitchen is open to the restaurant, sort of in a separate room off in one corner. Athina was very nice to us. She didn't speak much English, but we communicated fine with gestures. When we got there, we said Carole sent us and pointed in the direction of the apartment. She said, ah, Carole. Then, she took us over to the kitchen and opened the pots to show us what was cooking. We just pointed to what we wanted. Her daughter was helping her and speaks some English, so she came over and helped translate a little. It was fun and a nice, relaxing atmosphere at lunch.

travelgirl2 Aug 8th, 2006 07:28 AM

It was actually easy because you could see the food. What we didn't realize was that we'd be given a huge platter of every dish!

LCBoniti Aug 8th, 2006 08:29 AM

Travelgirl -
I just wanted to say I continue to enjoy the wonderful spirit of your entire family! I continue to enjoy this and thank you so much for taking us along on your journey.

Best wishes,

tower Aug 8th, 2006 09:11 AM

TG...I'm sure you'll want to watch the very unique changing of the guard, complete with short will enjoy it. Carole will give you the times and place (probably a walk for you from what I can tell from your description of the neighborhood location

Where to next, TG?

Stu T.

Italybound07 Aug 9th, 2006 05:03 PM

Newbie question-how do you bookmark? Is it on the Fodors website and I can't find it or are you just adding to "favorites"?
Thanks-love this report!

LoveItaly Aug 9th, 2006 06:50 PM

Hi Italybound, you are asking about finding this thread again, right? You can email this thread to yourself or yes you can add it to your favorites (which a lot of times is referred to as bookmarking). Isn't this thead a fantastic read?

janisj Aug 9th, 2006 08:21 PM

As LoveItaly says you can e-mail it to yourself. Or, after you bring up the thread -- click on its title at the top of the thread. That will bring up the actual URL of the thread (instead of just of the Fodors forum). Then you can add ot to they favorites or bookmarks or whatever they are called on you browser.

And finally - now that you have posted to the thread, if you click on your name it will bring up all of your threads.

Italybound07 Aug 10th, 2006 03:44 AM

Got it-thanks so much!

Travelgirl-I love your story. I have spent WAY too much time the past few days getting up to date. DS says "are you on that Fodor's AGAIN?!" I used to read about politics every day-now it is all travel-and it is so much more uplifting...

I have some nuts and bolts questions for you:

How did you get so much time off of work? Sabbatical?

How long did it take you to plan this trip?

Did you know exactly what you wanted to do in every country or did you take a "wait and see" attitude in some places?

Do you miss home-backed up septic tank and all?!

SiobhanP Aug 11th, 2006 05:38 AM

You are having a wonderful trip. Its great to see people so open to all places.

I studied for 2 months in China in the early 90's in Shanghai. We NEVER saw any other westerners except our group and 2 others staying at the university. It was such a strange and wonderful experience. Myself and two others were constantly followed and a group would form around us if we stood still to talk iun the street. The usually wanted to practice english or change money at black market rates. All in all it was safe and just curiousity. The funny thing is that they tell children we are big nosed foreign devils and some tell their kids we eat children. I nearly died of laughter when I saw a small little girlt trying to drag her grandad into the doorway when I passed by...she thought she was saving them form the foreign devil :-).

I look forward to the rest!

travelgirl2 Aug 11th, 2006 05:52 AM

Hi Italybound07 and everyone. I work as a consultant and declined to begin another project until after the summer. My consulting company is very accommodating and was very nice to oblige me. There may be work later or there may not. Hope there is. But, that is always the risk in consulting.

Husband has been with us most of the summer, but had to fly home to work a few weeks in the middle. I am getting ready to post about London and Amsterdam, where we were without hubby.

It took about 6 months to plan. I wish I had longer, because I find planning to be almost as enjoyable as the trip. What will I ever do with my time when we return?

We totally took a 'wait and see' attitude and planned almost everything as we went along. Except Japan - since we were there first, we were able to do some planning ahead of time.

I don't miss home at all. I do miss our friends and family, who we have been staying in contact with periodically. I thought it might be hard to be away for so long, but the mind-set we have is very different from a vacation. We just feel as if we are living the life of a traveler. I wish it was for longer!

travelgirl2 Aug 11th, 2006 05:59 AM

Day 29 – Athens

We spend the morning doing more laundry in our fabulous full-size washer and dryer, with detergent and Bounce sheets. I want to do every bit of dirty laundry before we leave here.

In the afternoon, we head for the Acropolis. On the way downstairs, we find that our elevator is not working. So, we walk down 6 flights of stairs and down the street to the taxi stand. The taxi costs 3 euros. We have been so worried about the Athens taxi drivers ripping us off. We’ve heard it is a common occurrence. But, we have had no trouble.

The ACROPOLIS and PARTHENON are on top of a tall hill. Once again, you have to climb and climb to get to the top. It is very hot. It feels like 90 degrees or more. Plus, we are on rock and marble, so it seems even hotter.

At the entrance, we try to buy bottled water to take inside with us. We learned from a previous trip to Pompeii that it can get brutally hot in the ruins. Unfortunately, they don’t sell plain bottled water and we aren’t allowed to take any other drinks inside. Luckily, we do find a water fountain at the top of the hill, outside the small museum.

The site is under renovation and parts are surrounded by scaffolding. It is a nice climb up. We ask someone from a tour group to take our picture. They are from Taiwan. I tell them we were just in China and then say (in my best Chinese) “nee-how”. I have such a gift for languages. DS1 and DS2 giggle as we walk away and say, “Mom, you just said hello. Thank you is shee-shee.” Oh well, I tried. Luckily, none of us have learned any Greek, so I can’t mangle that language too.

The view from the top of the hill is marvelous. You can see Athens go on forever and forever. Hadrian’s Gate and Zeus’ Temple are in front of us.

After the Acropolis, we stop at a café. We are finally going to try the most popular drink here - a Nescafe Iced Coffee Frappe. Since we are hot and sweaty, it is cool and refreshing. I’m not sure it would be my standard drink though. Here, everyone is drinking them, everywhere you look.

Then, we walk over to DAPHNE’S for dinner. It is in the area of the Plaka. It was rated a 23 by Zagat’s. Price-wise, this was going to be our splurge meal in Greece (well, in addition to Ambrosia on Santorini). It is worth it for the ambiance. The terrace is lovely, surrounded by crumbling stone walls. The food is good, but much more expensive than the same items elsewhere. The service is very attentive. The waitress, in particular, is delightful. She takes a real shine to DS1 when he tells her that he will eat whatever she gives him. She tells him that he is one of the good ones and she can tell.

I ask her what her favorite dish is. She says “rabbit”. I don’t have the heart to try it, but later read on Zagat’s that you should not miss their rabbit. We have tzasiki, of course. We can’t have a meal without it. At home, this is always served with pita bread. In Greece, the only time we have pita bread is when it used to wrap a souvlaki stick. It is never served at dinner. We have loaves of bread or rolls for dinner.

For appetizers, we order cooked eggplant and tomatoes, fried cheese wrapped in zucchini and artichoke stew. Our main dishes are steaks, egg and lemon lamb stew (avgolemono) and veal. Their chocolate mousse with hazelnut crust is excellent.

We laugh and laugh during this dinner. We have the waitress laughing too. DH orders dessert but I say I am too full for dessert. She says DH’s dessert is her favorite, so I ask for an extra spoon. DH tells the waitress not to give me a spoon. Okay, maybe a small spoon. When she delivers our spoons, he tells her that my spoon is big. She hugs the boys and asks if their ice cream is all right.

After dinner, we walk back to our apartment. It is an hour walk through the city at 10 pm. DH assures me that Athens is very safe. DS1 and DS2 beg to take a taxi, pointing out that it would only be 3 euros. Our problem is that we don’t know how to tell them where the apartment is. It is easy to hop into a taxi and say, “Acropolis”. Getting home is a little harder. On the walk, the street signs are in Greek and also in English (sort of). After some bickering about which way to go, we finally reach our apartment and we are all so happy to be home.

When we planned this trip, Athens was just to be a temporary stopover. DH even proposed that we skip Athens altogether. I thought that two full days to tour the sights would be enough. Instead, we all loved Athens. I really hope we can come back here in the future and spend some more time here. We really wanted to see the changing of the guard (recommended by Carole and Stu T.), but we ran out of time. I don’t know what other sights there are to see, but just hanging around and enjoying the city’s vibe would be lots of fun. And I love this apartment.

I never thought I would say this, because I love London. But we are sad that tomorrow morning we fly back to London.

missypie Aug 11th, 2006 06:09 AM

Interesting; I've never had a great desire to go to Athens, but you make it sound nice.

travelgirl2 Aug 11th, 2006 06:18 AM

Yes, missypie, that's what we thought too. And I know a lot of people don't really find it too interesting. So, we were surprised to like it more than we'd expected. Maybe we should have stayed about 4-5 days.

travelgirl2 Aug 11th, 2006 06:19 AM

I think a lot of it had to do with the apartment and Carole and her recommendations.

Italybound07 Aug 11th, 2006 08:08 AM

Thanks for the details! My husband used to be in consulting-it was a hard life for our family-your trip is a great reward for hard work!

DH still travels some and I am ready to pull my hair out w/3 kids by the end of the week when he is gone. I am looking forward to hearing how it was while your DH was back at work. That would have been my time to find a beach and park the family!

Your story has really been inspiring. We have planned to travel without the kids but I am starting to reconsider...

Looking forward to more.

LCBoniti Aug 11th, 2006 02:19 PM

Travelgirl -
I continue to enjoy this so much! Your description of Athens just shows that you never know until you experience something for yourself. We can learn from each other, but ultimately we are all different. I guess that's why we get so many different ideas when we post a question here!

Please continue when you can. There are many of us traveling with you!


Dejais Aug 11th, 2006 03:54 PM

Glad to hear Athens turned out to be so nice for you. And I see the boys are still charming everyone they meet. :) Awaiting your next installment and wondering how you are making out in light of the world's latest events. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Safe journeys.

samsmom1127 Aug 11th, 2006 08:47 PM


travelgirl2 Aug 13th, 2006 02:47 AM

Hi everyone. I am quite behind on posting. Today we are actually in Stockholm. I will still post about London, Amsterdam and Salamanca. We flew from Madrid to Stockholm yesterday (8-12) and our flight was fine and uneventful. Iberia did not seem to be doing any extra checking, that I could see. Hubby, however, had gone home to work and returned fine from Newark to London on 8-11, but has been unable to continue his journey from London to Stockholm. He will hopefully be getting a flight today, to re-join us.

tower Aug 13th, 2006 12:52 PM happy that you made it to Stockholm..hope the DH gets there long will you be in Stockholm? So much to see and do's a little tip for you which should appeal to the kids...great place for lunch is the food hall on Nybregattan in the Ostermalm district..very close to the port's an indoor place called "SaluHall"...

And ...of course, Skansen Open Air Museum and the Vasa (giant restored 17th century naval ship)...

I'm sure you've done scads of research already...a boat trip out to Drottningholm Palace is a lovely way to spend a part of a day...

Stu T.

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