May 15, 2024

May 14 - Piraeus (Athens), Greece

The Athens port is quite large, the layout more typical. Leave the ship walk through a terminal building with a handful of shops and then on to the waiting tour bus.  I can see Holland America's Osterdamm nearby. I am not sure which other cruise ships are here today.

The standard process for most tours is to get your bus number sticker and wait as a group in the theater, then bus group by bus group be led to deck 2 to exit the ship, walk through the terminal, and eventually on to your bus.

I get our bus assignment and then head out 15 minutes before the others. Not only does this usually get us to the bus first, it avoids  the crowds, and  also prevents me from holding up the others as I do walk slower than most. At first some shore excurion staff had a problem with this, but have since become accustomed to my ways. 

The "photographer", actually company manager, that was with our tour in Rhodes is here.  He spends a lot of time talking with the other guides, I assume in Greek, but does not join our tour.

We see many of the same things that I saw years ago when I was here. The big difference was that this time  we walk up and over the hill and down into the city center instead of being driven by bus. It was a tough walk, but again the tour guides were very accomodating. The actual tour itself was not nearly as good as the one in Rhodes from the same tour operator.

As a side note it the same scaffolding surrounds the Acropolis as when I was here 7 or 8 years ago. Nothing has changed.

At the city center we were given a take out gyro sandwich at a local restaurant. More importantly this also gave us access to bathrooms in the basement.

No saganaki here, but I do grab a gelato. OK, but not as good as in Florence. The same shop also is selling pastries. They not only looked good, they were enormous. A glazed donut was probably 7 inches across and a inch and half thick. Too big for me.

Probably not much different than most major cities the city center area was quite dirty. We were warned several times of the proliferation of pick pockets, and there was an obvious police presence. 

In all the areas we rode through there were many vacant buildings. One did not get the impression that the economy was doing very well. On the plus side, the saharan dust that turned the air red two weeks ago was not a major issue. The air was much more polluted than we find in Florida, but most people could breathe without difficulty.

The headliner show tonight was the "Tap Factory". A combinations of tap dancing and percussion. Once they began, I realized I had seen them before, but I am clueless to say how long ago. Probably several years at least.

Across from us there are 5 tug boats waiting to assist if called upon. Further out at sea there are many commercial vessels awaiting either dock space or a load of cargo.

Tomorrow will be a sea day as we head to Naples, Italy our next port of call.

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