29.05.2009 - 29.05.2009
Last day in Naxos – off by plane to Athens. Sensible flight time of 1.30 pm, so could pack up in no great hurry and wander into Naxos town to pick up Dave’s ring and have a final coffee.
Leaving Naxos by air wasn’t quite as easy or as normal as you’d expect. Only one airline flies out so a rather low key affair – and unbeknown to us it has a small runway and without strong winds the plane can have difficulty taking off – so they usually leave the baggage behind and send it later by ferry! Most passengers were a bit disturbed by this news, esp those with connecting flights straight out of Athens. At least we could survive for a day while our luggage caught up with us in Athens. Jan had to rummage through our checked in luggage after it had gone through security (in front of the assembled staff – police, security and baggage handlers) and pull out some undies for us! She thinks it was because of her heroic act that they felt sorry for us (me?) and put our luggage on the plane. But not everyone got their’s.
We took off OK and 30 minutes or so later landed in Athens – where we experienced another (surprising or not unsurprising depending on how you look at it) Greek action. We arrived ahead of time and safely in very typical Greek driving fashion! Except it was more like car driving than plane taxiing. When we landed, the plane didn’t seem to slow down much as we taxied for the couple of kms to the docking area! We half expected the pilot to pass another taxiing plane (across double lines if there were any). We couldn’t hear the wheels screaming as we turned and waved to our parking spot, but felt they had to be.
Decided in the end to take a taxi to our apartment that was slap bang in the middle of downtown/central/ancient Athens. The train/metro wasn’t running as they were doing construction work at a few stations. Bus takes 90 minutes and we would have had to walk for about 1.5 km. Asked at the Info desk who said the normal taxi fare was about 30€. We were also worried about the type of taxi driver we could get – they apparently still don’t have a great reputation. The taxi driver was very pleasant and pointed out various sites on our way – but it was Friday arvo and the traffic was worse than obviously the normal dreadful Athens traffic is. Got there for 50€ incl the tip!
The apartment was excellent – well equipped and well placed for the sites of Athens – 10 minutes walk or less to the Plaka and Monistariki and many of the famous sites (maybe 30 minutes walk up to the Acropolis). It is in a renovated office or house/units, but in a bit of a dodgy area – a real mix. There are locals like the woman who ran a garlic selling business in a small narrow building next door and who lived on the opposite corner and the woman who lived in the bottom unit who has lived in the street for all of her 80+ years. Then there were a number of Asian clothes and shoe shops; Indians and Pakistanis who seemed to run a range of business out of a wide range of buildings and vehicles, and also some Africans/North Africans. Along with that there were the drug dealers and takers. Within a few minutes walk there was a nice area of squares and pedestrian only streets full of restaurants and cafes – and not too touristy as it was a bit out of the way.
After we got in and met one of the owners, we wandered down to the Plaka via the local lanes etc – wandered around and got to know where we were etc. Had a nice meal in a local taverna.