Yesterday, I pretty much spent a day in paradise. We took a ferry boat to the island of Aegina, about an hour boat ride from the port in Athens. We sat on the boat deck on the way there and I got a tan. It was very sunny and felt like summer outside, although the wind was chilly on the boat. We got to the island around noon, so we got lunch at a little restaurant right near the place where our boat docked. They had really good gelato there! While we were eating, Katie and I saw a sign that advertised a place where you could rent mopeds/4-wheelers/cars to get around the island. The whole trip to Europe we have been talking about how we thought it would be fun to rent a moped, so we decided to do just that. However, the owner of the business told us that he thought it would be a lot easier for us girls to drive a 4-wheeler around, and we could fit two of us on it, so we got two of those for the day. Katie and I had a bright yellow four-wheeler, and Jen and Morgan had a blue one. Brady ended up getting a moped because they only had two 4-wheelers available.
After getting our instructions on how to operate and start the vehicles (which Katie and I didn’t pay attention to obviously), we were on our way to exploring the island. We rode along the bluest and prettiest of water that I have ever seen. The island was absolutely gorgeous, and we got to see so much of it by driving around on the 4-wheelers. Katie and I had to find a gas station to put gas in our 4-wheeler, which was interesting. The man where we rented the 4-wheele told us that there were gas stations all over the island. I don’t know what he was talking about because we had to drive to Timbuktu to find a rinky dink gas station. Needless to say, we got lost a little bit. We stopped 3 times to ask where a gas station was located. Thankfully, mostly everyone on the island spoke English and was more than glad to help us. The third man we asked got on his moped and actually drove us to the gas station. When we got to the gas station, we were on empty and pretty much coasting into the station. Notice how I said MOST everyone spoke English on the island. Well, of course the gas station Katie and I end up at, the guys that worked there did NOT speak English. We had no idea what we were supposed to do. We think that we were supposed to pump the gas by ourselves, but eventually a man came over and helped us. To communicate, we pointed and nodded, and did everything but spoke the Greek language. By the time we had gas in our tank and we were ready to leave, I’m pretty sure the guys at the gas station thought we were the two dumbest people ever. They stood there and laughed at us. To make matters worse, we couldn’t get the 4-wheeler started back up and the same man that pumped our gas had to help us do that too. Whoa, what an experience!
After getting gas, I drove the 4-wheeler. Katie had driven up until then. We found Morgan, Jen, and Brady and rode around the island some more and stuck our feet in the sea. There were small beaches along the island, but the sun had gone behind clouds and it was not as warm outside, so we did not swim in the water or lay out on the beach. We mostly just drove all around the island, which was exciting because we got to see so much of it. Eventually, it started to rain and was very cold driving the 4-wheeler, so we turned them back into the guy in the late afternoon. By that time, we had gotten to see a lot of the island. We stayed on the island just a little while longer before catching another ferry back to Athens. We were all very tired from the day and wet and cold from the rain. Four of us fell asleep on the boat ride back. This time we rode inside the boat because we were cold.
We came back to the part of the city where we are staying, got dinner, and then went back to the apartment. We actually had decent internet connection last night, so we took the time to call our families and upload pictures from our day to the internet. We were all in bed before 11 because we were tired from the day and had another busy day planned for today.
Today, we got up early and went to the Acropolis. The Acropolis is the symbol of Athens and its monuments date back to the prehistoric era. First we saw the Propylaea, which is the grand entrance of the Acropolis. We saw the Parthenon, which is a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. We also saw the Temple of Hephaistos and many more of the Ancient Greek buildings and temples. The Acropolis was so cool to see and I really enjoyed spending the day sightseeing.
For lunch, we went to a sit down restaurant in Monastraki. I ordered what was called a Gyro plate. It was a plate full of pork, tomatoes, onions, French fries, gyro sauce and four pitas. That had to be the most delicious gyro ever! The ones at the Bedford Country fair will never be able to compare to this one.
After eating, we walked for a while through the famous flea market in Monastraki towards another part of the city, where The Temple of Olympian Zeus was. Once we found it, we did a lap around it. There are 16 of 104 columns that have been preserved and are still standing. We also saw Hadrian’s Arch, which is located right near the Temple of Olympian Zeus. After walking around this area, we walked around the city to find the closest metro. While walking toward the metro, we accidently stumbled upon the National Gardens. We walked around there just a little, but did not stay long because we were all tired and ready for a break from walking. We actually didn’t know it was the National Gardens until we saw signs after leaving. Another thing we saw while walking back to the metro was one of the ancient baths.
We got back to the apartment and I took a nap. We are now starting to make dinner for the five of us tonight. We are using up some of the leftovers that we have since this is our next to last night in Greece. We don’t know what we are doing tomorrow yet, but we just talked about walking around the city and exploring some more.