We awoke to see our ship moored at the cruise ship terminal in Piraeus along with the huge MSC Fantasia and a handful of large and small ferries. The HoHo buses were conveniently parked right in front of the arrival terminal, so we siply walked off the ship and boarded for the trip to Athens, the cradle of western civilization.
The road from Piraeus into Athens is Veterans Highway, a six-mile string of modern office buildings, retail stores, medical centers and a sprinkling of sex clubs. Athens seems more like Houston than New Orleans, where our clubs are for the most part clustered on Bourbon Street. Like Houston, the sex clubs in Piraeus and Athens are scattered all over.
The Piraeus HoHo took us straight to the Acropolis, where we transferred to the red line HoHo that would tour us through all of Athens. What we saw was a large metropolitan capital, choked with traffic, lined with mostly nondescript 20th century mid-rise buildings, a large sprawling market district selling every manner of goods and monuments and ruins from ancient Greek and Roman times, scattered around town.
The Acropolis has a separate admission of 20 euros a person, and we decided to take that tour when we return to Athens at the end of our voyage, because it is a long steep climb up the hill. We will also visit the market maze at Monastiriki Square, just because it is so colorful and chaotic.
The full bus roundabout takes about an hour and a half just for Athens, so we were fairly hungry when we returned to the starting point at the Acropolis. We wandered down the street to find a local taverna, and accepted the invitation from the owner to step in. I ordered a gyro, and Lynn asked for the spinach pie, both of which were heated up in a tiny toaster oven behind the counter. My gyro came out slathered with tzatziki sauce and flattened like a Cuban sandwich. Altogether our lunch was simple but tasty, especially washed down with a couple of large mugs of local Mythos beer.
After further explortation, we discovered a little shop selling wine, so we stocked up our stores with a bottle of Chardonnay and two bottles of red, all from Crete. Later that evening back aboard the ship, we deemed both the red and the white acceptable if not outstanding. (They all tend to be a bit on the sweet side around here.) But at 6.50 euros, it’s hard to go wrong.