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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Greece - Athens

Our flights to Athens went wonderfully smoothly.  Both boys were pleasantly surprised to find free unlimited movies on the flight from Seattle to Amsterdam and, while I encouraged them to get some sleep, seat back entertainment was a great way to keep all of us occupied for the 9 hour flight.

The boys are really enjoying Athens.  I was really worried about culture shock but both boys are really into the city and investigating the differences they see as we tour around.  Athens is a huge sprawling city with over 5 million people.  It's intense and exciting.

On the day we arrived the metro and bus system workers were on strike.  The only choice from the airport was taxi.  The sign very clearly said (in English) that the fare into Athens was fixed at $35 Euro.  When we got to the hotel the driver insisted on $50 Euro to compensate for the bad traffic and whatever else he said in Greek that I didn't understand.  As I'm trying to be firm on the posted price the backup of cars we were blocking is beginning to honk and people were yelling out their windows and I ended up just paying the $50.  The Metro would have been $24 Euro if the workers had not been on strike.

Today the museums were closed as these workers decided to strike.  It's a good thing we visited the Acropolis yesterday!  Tonight the news is reporting that the metro and bus drivers will be on strike again beginning tomorrow for 48 hours this time.  We watched a protest rally parading down the street toward the governmental square this afternoon.  It seemed to be quite peaceful but the riot police were out and ready for any problems.  We didn't hang around too long!

Our hotel is located in the Plaka which is very near the Acropolis and the Temple of Zeus.  We spent an entire day exploring the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum.  Benton is in heaven!  The Ancient Agora is just below the Acropolis and was just as fascinating.  William found a story in sculpture on the Temple that depicted the struggle between Thesius and Creet for the freedom of Athens.  He had been reading Greek short stories in school before we left and this is one of the Greek Myths he studied.  He loved the fact that his Literature assignment was tied to something he could actually look at.

The boys love these stands that sell all kinds of donuts and breads.  Everything is one euro and fresh each morning so how could we not stop and get something? 

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