29 PICTURE ALBUM
Friday, August 29
Steve: Our trip to Athens on Olympic Airways was uneventful,
and the airports both in Istanbul and Athens were surprisingly modern and
civilized. Paula and I still remember the chaos when we arrived in Athens
in 1982, and the new airport here is obviously a huge improvement.
We had a chance and very interesting encounter at the Istanbul airport with
the CEO of Lonely Planet. I was sitting at the gate reading my Lonely Planet
book on Athens, when a woman sitting nearby asked me how I liked the book.
I told her that we loved the Lonely Planet books, and that we probably owned
30 of them (which is true!). She asked me a couple more questions about what
specifically we liked about it, and then told me who she was. Her name is
Judy Slatyer, and she just recently became the CEO. She was returning to Melbourne
(Lonely Planet's corporate headquarters) after a trip to several countries
where she was meeting with the various authors of each book. We had a very
interesting discussion, and Paula and I shared our thoughts and recommendations
regarding the Lonely Planet guides. She also wanted to understand more about
us (what magazines we read, what radio we listen to, etc.), since we represent
a segment that Lonely Planet wants to target. We also told Judy all about
TravelingEd and Servas, in the hope that there could be some mutually beneficial
relationships there. Judy invited us to e-mail her throughout our travels
regarding any thoughts or ideas we have for the Lonely Planet books. She also
invited us to visit their offices when we're in Melbourne next year. We'll
definitely take her up on both of these opportunities!
Athens looks much like we remember it - big, dry, smoggy and HOT. Today it
was 37 degrees Celsius, which is 98 Fahrenheit. We heard that tomorrow it's
supposed to be 42 degrees Celsuis, and our math says that's 108 Fahrenheit!
WOW. We are wondering how the athletes will manage to compete in the heat
(and smog) during next year's Olympics. It's hard to imagine
Our hotel is in a great location, right beneath the Acropolis. However, today
we decided not to spend too much time outside in the heat of the afternoon.
Instead, we had lunch at a café in the Plaka area of Athens, located
beside the Acropolis. This is an area of narrow streets lined with shops and
restaurants. We assume that it must get busy at night, but there weren't many
people on the streets during the day.
After lunch, we returned to our hotel and spent the afternoon watching a
3-hour DVD documentary on Greek history. David and Katie seemed to really
enjoy watching this, and are eager to see the Parthenon and other sites on
the Acropolis tomorrow. We plan to arrive there at 8:00 when it opens, so
that we can enjoy exploring the area before the heat becomes too much.
We were also very happy to find a Post Office that sells and ships boxes.
We've been trying to send books and souvenirs home after each place we visit,
but this has usually been a difficult task. Many Post Offices don't sell boxes,
and some are not set up to ship parcels to the U.S. We're currently carrying
way too much from Russia and now Istanbul, and our bags are ready to burst.
It may sound minor, but this is a big relief for us
One other thing we quickly noticed is that the street signs all include the
Latin translation for the Greek words. This makes it possible to tell where
we are on a map, and is much easier than when were in Russia.
Tomorrow we'll also make some decisions about how to spend the rest of our
time here in Greece. We're leaning toward taking organized bus tours to Delphi
and Mycenae - we'd like to see these sites, but have been advised against
renting a car in Greece.
Distance Walked: 1.04 miles