Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Next stop, Berlin!

So, today sees the trilogy...Father, daughter and mother on a train to Berlin to catch a sense of history about this country.
It's a cool day outside, great for such travelling. We are in a very fast train which will take us 4 1/2 hours to arrive. My only concern is we are travelling backwards and there is a funny odour inside this carriage so I probably won't be eating much on the journey!

So much for first class reserved tickets!
Never mind. This all goes into the holiday journal and it's something to talk about.

You might recall our disastrous ferry ride to Athens.
You might also know we arrived some 3 1/2 hours later than expected. Needless to say (but I will anyway) our transport was not waiting for us when we pulled into the ferry terminal. Numerous phone calls later, at our expense I might add, we were told the pick up driver will begrudgingly return (as he was there at 5 pm.! and waited the obligatory 30 minutes), but it would cost us an extra 40€ which equates to $59.26 Aust. Needless to say, we politely declined and caught a taxi to our hotel which cost 25€ instead.
This photo taken in the Athens Harbour whilst we were waiting for our non-existing transport, depicts the first moon I have seen since we left home a couple of weeks ago. For some reason, the moon wasn't visible in Santorini but it was certainly waiting for us once we gladly disembarked in Athens.
I was a bit peeved as our documentation stated that if our ferry was delayed the transport company would be aware and ensure we were picked up when we finally arrived but that didn't happen, so I shall swallow my frustration and get on with life until I get home.
Ahhhhh, first world problems!

Despite that very minor hiccup, our stay in Athens was absolutely wonderful. We ate like kings and queens or is that Zeus and Athena.....and the boys were quite taken with giros and souvlaki, determined to find the best the city had to offer.
My only regret is I somehow dropped my iPad whilst tapping away and have managed to partially shatter my screen but it still works ok so I am not too fussed.
The hotel Divani Palace we stayed in for the 2 nights was lovely. Beautiful big comfortable beds, great service. Breakfast was amazing as they all are, so we were quite pleased with our decision to stay there.
Our one free day in Athens took us all to the Acropolis Modern Museum which was filled with artefacts from around the city but especially from the Parthenon and Athena's temple.

I recall learning about ancient Greek history when in primary school but never really gave it much thought once done though. This very quick foray into Greece has made me quite curious about their life in ancient times and how their struggle has taught them how to survive despite adversitary, both old and new.
I am now disappointed we only spent one full day in Athens as the was so much to see, both on the Acropolis, but also the old quarter, not to mention the beautiful enticing gardens that surrounds this bustling city.
Our trip up to the Acropolis was a morning venture and whilst the lads swam and rested in the afternoon, Mez and I went shopping in the old quarter which is filled with trinketty tourist shops but also some rather unique shops as well.
By the time we returned to the hotel, it was time to prepare for dinner and eat out yet again on falafel, kebabs, and the inevitable but delicious tzatziki dips that are a mainstay in this country.

All too soon, it was time to leave Athens and fly back to Düsseldorf.
We flew over the Swiss Alps which looked just like meringue atop a cake which was most spectacular.

Things I learnt on a plane:-
You have to be quick to bag a spare seat. We were in the back of the plane where the last 3 rows were empty. Consequently Murray and Kieran moved to seats where they were the only occupants. I was just about to move into the seat in front which was also free when a burly swarthy chap beat me to it and then proceeded to lie down and sleep for most of the journey, so he must have been knackered.

I have also learnt it's not good to allow young children to run up and down the aisle unrestrained during the flight as there with be consequences when it's time to secure them in a seat belt come landing time!....for all aboard!!!!!

Lesson number three is a murphy's law rule. When flying on planes and you are served a meal whilst wearing white clothing, it is inevitable you will hit enough turbulence to spill either coffee, tea or food of some description...enough to make you wish you either wore black or you wore a feeder!!!!!

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