A Travellerspoint blog

November 2008

Butterflies in Vienna

30 November 2008

overcast 40 °F

For the last day in Vienna I was set on taking photos of the butterflies at the Schmetterlinghaus or Butterfly house near the Hofburg palace. So after another hostel breakfast, check out and storing our bags in the luggage room we were headed back to the subway.
The Butterfly house is a huge greenhouse creating a tropical environment in the middle of the city.
For 5 euro a person you can walk around and take photos of the butterflies. They spend their time eating fruit and fluttering around the greenhouse. I think we also found the warmest place in the whole city.
The train didn’t leave for home until 1640 so our next stop was the Praterstern which has a huge ferris wheel. Unfortunately most of the park seemed closed since it was a Sunday. So we decided to try to catch a movie but by the time we got the subway back there we found out it was closed. Next try was for lunch at a restaurant advertised by the hostel but after we walked all the way there it was closed because its Sunday! Our second choice of restaurants was also closed…..because its Sunday. Finally we ended up eating lunch at a Turkish restaurant called Sato which atleast gave a 10% discount to those staying at the hostel. The rest of the time was spent setting up a trip to Dublin in March :)
The evening will be spent on the train home. Next weekend we plan to hit some more Christmas markets in Germany since my mom will be in town.

Posted by ErinDriver 13:57 Archived in Austria Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Nusscracker in Vienna

29 November 2008

overcast 35 °F

Today was a much slower and easier day – especially since we didn’t get going until about 1030. I had read about a market called Naschmarkt (roughly translated “munchies market”) a few subway rides away that also had a flea market on Saturday morning. The market is famous for having lots of spices and foods from other countries. Supposedly gourmet chefs come here to get their ingredients. First thing off the subway we hit a stand selling those wool sweaters with fleece inside from Nepal. Curt got a gray one with some matching gloves. I’m waiting until we go to Nepal :)
The rest of the market was crazy busy at every food stand. You know it was full of locals when they didn’t automatically speak to us in English first. Everything is sold by the 10 gram weight. So for example this cheese I got was 1.90 euro per 10 gram but ended up being 6 euro. It can be a bit confusing. We also got 5 euro worth of dried fruit before leaving the market. It was hectic and busy with lots of odd things like a shark with a tomato in his mouth….
We didn’t really have other plans until 1400 so we decided we would see what this ice palace was in the museum quarter. But after a few subway stops we saw the advertisements that said it opens at 1400. So instead there was an arts and crafts thing that was inside! They were selling very weird things, none of which interested us. Moving on toward the Spanish Riding School which was having a tour of the stables at 1400. On the way we went thru another Christmas market and Curt had another Kasekrainer while I had some potato wedges.
After the detour we found out the guided tours of the Spanish riding school were sold out for today. I was devastated since I was set on getting pictures of the horses. So instead of touring the stables I napped at the hostel.
Around 1630 we were back on the subway headed to the Volksopera for “The Nutcraker” or “ Nusscracker” as it says here. The tickets were waiting for us and then we headed off for a quick pizza before the show. The tickets were good at middle center and the show was amazing. It had a different twist on it though when the kids played video games on a huge screen that rolled down on to the stage. The nutcracker also looked more like a spiky haired doll than the nutcracker we all think of. The villains weren’t mice but robots and somehow the second part included flamenco dancers. Either way the story was still the same and dancers were good.
Back at the hostel we had our free “welcome” drink of wine and beer and set off to watch my favorite movie – “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”.

Posted by ErinDriver 00:46 Archived in Austria Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Vienna and the Spanish Riding School

28 November 2008

overcast 30 °F

Day 2 in Vienna was a LONG one. By 0830 we were awake, showered and eating breakfast in the hostel kitchen. It was 3.50 euro per person for the usual European breakfast. Then I wanted to go to a camera shop to price some lenses but they were WAY more expensive here than someplace like best buy. So we headed to the subway and the center of town. The subway ride ended at Theatergarden and we walked past the parliament and rathaus before turning toward the Hofburg palace. Our path crossed the Spanish riding school so we stopped in to pick up our tickets for later in the evening.
The day was VERY cold so it wasn’t long before we decided to check the block on the sachertorte. This is a famous cake in Vienna started at the Sacher Eck Café and hotel. It came about because the hotels main chef got sick and so his back up had to come up with something…..the sachertorte. It is chocolate cake with a thin middle layer of apricot and outer layer of chocolate. It was a bit dry so Curt nicknamed it the “sucky torte”.
Next on the agenda turned out to be a tour of the Hofburg palace apartments, Sisi museum and silver museum. There is an audio tour that is pretty good and you know what you are looking at. After the Hapsburg empire fell all their kitchenware went to the museums and you can now spend 30 minutes looking at it. The display of some of the place settings is just amazing. There is a table centerpiece that is 30 meters long!
The same ticket also let you in to the Sisi museum. Sisi was the nickname for Empress Elizabeth who no one really liked until she was dead (she was assassinated on a trip to Geneva). All she cared about was her long hair and skinny waist. I can relate to her though because she loved to travel. She was very young when she moved from Germany to be the Empress of Austria and overwhelmed. She did have some gorgeous jewelry though and the replicas are on display.
And lastly was the apartments of the rich and famous. One suprising detail was that the stoves in the room where only supposed to allow the room to get to 50 degrees!
The tour lasted a few hours so we had to head straight to the Opera house for the tour at 1500. For those who can’t or don’t want to go to a performance at the Opera house you can still have a look around on one of these tours. It was stated that they seating area was once a lot more intricate but it was ruined in the war and never rebuilt to the same level. Most people in their time didn’t actually come for the show but to socialize. Today you can still socialize because there is an Opera Ball around Easter time. During the ball you can rent one of the opera boxes for only 17,000 euro!
The Opera has a different performance each night so there are 3 crews working backstage to take down and put up all the sets. The tour took us back stage while they were working to set up for a play.
I had read about another Christmas market at the Rathaus so after the tour we headed there. It was dusk and the lights of the rathaus with the trees and other decorations was gorgeous.
Most of the stands end up being the same old thing but we did get a kasekrainer which is a sausage with melted cheese inside stuffed into a huge hot dog bun. It was delicious and made a great dinner. Our feet hurt so bad by this point that we decided to head to the hostel for like an hour before coming back for the Lipizzaner Horse show.
The break was very important because we had standing seats for the Lipizzaner show. The Spanish Riding School has two levels with seats along the balcony and then standing room anywhere else. It is the most beautiful riding hall in the world. The horses can call be traced back to 6 stallions that came from Spain about 400 years ago. They were bred to have small heads and legs with massive bodies. All the horses there are stallions and they come at the age of 4 years. It takes about 6 years to get them trained to perfection.
The first part of the show is young stallions. They are born black and over time turn their famous white. So the young horses are a dappled gray. They didn’t do much other than trot around and be beautiful. They were startled by the audience clapping though!
Next was a couple of senior horses followed by what we were all waiting for - the famous jumps. These were done by 3 horses with riders without stirrups and by 2 horses on the long and short rein. This meant the riders were walking beside them. They in turn did their famous pirouette (quick turns), courbette (getting on hind legs, originally to make a living shielf for their knight) and capriole (a strong back kick that was meant to floor the enemy.) The stallions were gorgeous when they leapt into the air to get their sugar cube at the end :)
After that was a rider on only the long rein. He stood directly behind the horse and with only the rein and his voice gave the horse directions. This is supposedly the most difficult of all the movements.
The finale was a ballet where 8 horses moved to Mozart music in perfect time with each other. Unfortunately no photos were allowed because it would irritate the horses! The standing tickets turned out just fine and the show was well worth the 45 euro! But here is your vienna horse photo - the carraiges were all lined up outside the Hofburg palace.
We decided to actually eat dinner at a restaurant near the hostel called Mozart Strube. It advertised traditional Viennese food and a special for the hostel. The atmosphere was pub like with a large group singing at their table. I had chicken schnitzel and fries while Curt had the goulash he has been talking about for weeks. Exhaustion set in after eating so we headed to the hostel for bed.

Posted by ErinDriver 00:37 Archived in Austria Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Thanksgiving Day in Vienna, Austria

27 November 2008

overcast 40 °F

Thanksgiving dinner for us was a turkey sandwich from the commissary on our 6 hour train ride to Vienna, Austria. It seems as if we are pretty much skipping right to Christmas!
The train ride was uneventful and by 1330 we were in Vienna. The West Bahnhof dropped us basically right across the street from our hostel, Wombats City Hostel, The Lounge. There are two Wombats hostels in Vienna and since the directions to ours said 2 blocks from the train station we kept walking. Soon enough we realized we didn’t see another hostel in 2 blocks so ended up back at the one we passed which turned out to be right. We just have no luck with directions!
But we got our room without difficulty and for a change we have our own bathroom. We are on the top floor with slanted roofs and windows overlooking the street. It is basically a nice clean dorm room and that is perfect for us.
After some map orientation we got our 72 hour subway pass for 27 euro and headed to Schonbrunn Palace by dusk for photos of the palace and the Christmas market. This is what I mean when I said we are skipping right to Christmas. The markets here started in mid-November and I was dying to get to one. So a few subway stops later there we were in a large square full of food and souveneir stands.
Our first stop was for gluhwein which is a warm, spiced red wine that they sell in different mugs for each market. After you are finished with the mug you can give it back to them to get your deposit back. We walked around the market and got two Christmas tree ornaments including one of the stars in the photo.
Next up was to try some of the food around. There were several stands with huge skillets full of a mix with different noodles, potatos, vegetables, etc. We chose the one with gnocchi, cheese and bacon.
The stuff was delicious. I hope this is a Christmas market thing rather than a Vienna thing because I will have a lot of it before the end of the season if they sell it in Germany. It didn’t take long before we were headed back to the subway and hostel. After putting on a few more layers and weighing our options we decided for the movies.
I know this sounds crazy – we are in Vienna – why go to the movies. But there aren’t many theaters in Europe that play the original version of movies in English. I really wanted to see Madagascar 2 but since it isn’t out yet here we saw the latest 007 movie. It was nice just to sit in a theater with popcorn and soda (no ice here though). After the movie we headed back to relax at the hostel. Not a bad thanksgiving!

Posted by ErinDriver 13:00 Archived in Austria Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Snowy Day in Prague

22 November 2008

snow 25 °F

It seems no matter what or where I am I wake up around 0700 so we were ready to go by 0830 after having our donut for breakfast at the hostel. The hostel was about 20-30 minute walk from the Old Town so a bus ticket was in order. The ticket was about 26 crown or 1 euro and took us right to the Charles Bridge. The rain from yesterday was now snow so our first looks at Prague castle were thru a haze of flurries. I think we had a special travel moment this am with the snow and no other tourists.
The free tour on the agenda didn’t start until 1030 so there was a couple of free hours to walk across the Charles Bridge, take photos and shop a bit. I had to hit the garnet stores! By the tour time we had seen the charles bridge, been down Karlova street and photographed the astronomical clock and old town square.
At 1030 the guide was waiting at the meeting point hoping no one would show up for the tour in the snow. The tours are run by college students that do it is a part time job – they basically work for the tips. She was a bit hard to understand but she was a sport about guiding us around in 20 degree weather. She took us from the old town to the new town and ended in the Jewish quarter. The highlight was in the WARM national library where there is a seemingly endless tower of books that appears to hold up the ceiling. The tour was over by 1300 and we tried to make a beeline for lunch. When I say tried I mean that we couldn’t seem to find anything very easily even with a map because the streets are very curvy and change names frequently.
One of the maps had mentioned a pizzeria that appears to be in a cave where you can watch the guy flip your pizza dough. The place was called pizzeria Kmotra Kavarna near Wenceslas square. The order of the day was margarita pizzas with the beer I promised myself yesterday. It was great to be able to thaw out in a nice cozy environment. By the time lunch was finished it was almost 1500 so we headed back to Karlova street to see about the marionette show – Don Giovanni. Supposedly this opera was Mozart’s gift to Prague. The show was 1 hour 15 minutes for 1000 crown. The theater felt like it was in the attic of an old house with wooden benches. The puppets put a funny twist on the opera and I was glad we were able to fit the show in.
I had read in Rick Steve’s book about a tea house – Dobra Cajovna or “Good Teahouse” – where they elevate tea to an almost religious ritual. So of course we headed there. When you sit down they bring you a long menu of teas and a bell. After you finally decide what you want you ring the bell and a “tea monk” comes to take your order. I got some kind of phoenix tea that tasted pretty bad and Curt got a cinnamon flavor. The problem was they didn’t give me the sugar I’m used to dumping in my tea! But the place was cozy and warm!
After tea and just down the street was our second show – the WOW show at the Blacklight theater. It was definitely an experience. The tickets for this one were 1100 crown for an hour show. The storyline was about the dancers trying to find their inner child. It was an interactive theater with rain falling on us, bubbles, snow, big beach balls the audience bounced around and last but not least actors dressed up as giant spiders that came to harass the viewers. The display was amazing because it seemed as if the actors just disappeared from the stage. It can be related to a somewhat tamed down Cirque de soliel show.
Of course when we came outside to walk the rest of the way home it was snowing again. As we were fighting the map, the snow and the highways with no sidewalks Curt decided we should just take a taxi and in 5 minutes we were safe and dry back in the hostel. Tomorrow we leave early to head back to Germany and the snow awaiting us there. See you next week for Thanksgiving from Vienna!

Posted by ErinDriver 09:17 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Rainy Day in Prague

21 November 2008

rain 35 °F

12th Combat Aviation BDE had a welcome home celebration in Furth (near Nurnberg) last night so we got today off work. Of course I took this as an excuse to go somewhere for the 3 day weekend. As we were already east of home due to the ball we decided to head to Prague. So this morning we woke up a bit too early to leave our Pyramid hotel (looks like the Luxor in Vegas) and head to the train station.
Five hours and one switch later we arrived at the main train station in Prague. Of course our hostel, Hostel Elf, stated it was a 10 minute walk from the train station. Naturally this is only if you know exactly where you are going. We even picked up a map and some Czech crowns at the train station but headed out the opposite of where we needed to be, then went up the wrong street. We had to start in some direction in order to see a street sign. So we head back the other direction but there seems to be an uncrossable highway standing between us and the road we need to be on. So one more stop back at the train station is in order to ask how to get across this road. Then it decided to start the freezing rain coming down in buckets. So there we were….back and forth to the train station 3 times and still not on the same road as our hostel. Finally the road appears but the building numbers seem to be going up, not down. Luckily we refused to give up because apparently the even numbers on one side of the street go up while the odd numbers on the other side go down! Who knew.
So we arrive at the hostel dripping wet and starving. This is the largest room to date with four beds even though it is just the two of us. They seem to smoke a lot in Eastern Europe – there is free tea and coffee at the hostel but the area that provides it smells like a pub.
Upon request of a good place to eat nearby we are sent to a restaurant called Shlep with a 15% discount card from the hostel. Eventually we found it (once again not a 5 minute walk even with the map on the back of the discount card!)
So I know we are in Czech but there was so much to drink last night at the ball that I just wasn’t in the mood for beer. I had a baked pasta with papardelle noodles, chicken, mushrooms and Roquefort cheese. Curt had a beef stroganoff. The atmosphere was cozy being in a solarium with low lighting, wicker seats and lots of decorations. With our discount card we got our dinners and four sodas for 500 crown including a tip, about $25.
It was cold and our clothes were still a bit wet (I got splashed by a bus in the rain storm on the way to the hostel) so we headed back to the hostel after dinner to rest and plan for tomorrow.

Posted by ErinDriver 09:07 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged train_travel Comments (0)

One day Cruise of Greek Islands

Hydra, Poros and Aegina Islands

overcast 58 °F

Curt overheard a guy talking about a cruise to a few islands while at the Acropolis so we checked it out at our hotel and signed up for a one day cruise to the islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina for 95 euro each. The bus picked us up at our hotel and 20 minutes later deposited us at the Pireaus Port where the boat was waiting. Of course today was cloudy and looked quite ominous. We were sports though and chose seats outside at the front of the boat. Our first island was over 2 hours away so Curt got a couple beers with peanuts and we settled in to chat and check out the scenery. The sun did eventually come out a bit on the route and we were able to shed some of our jackets.
Greek_Islands_083.jpgThe first stop was Hydra which also ended being our favorite. The timeline was 50 minutes on the island to check out the shops or do whatever. Catherine and I got suckered in by the donkeys that were waiting in the port to take tourists on a 15 minute ride thru the town. There were only two available so Curt let Catherine and I go and walked alongside taking photos. It was the most touristy but best thing we did all day. The poor donkeys plod thru the town with white buildings, blue windows and beautiful flowers. Otherwise the port is a sleepy little town which would be great for hiding away and relaxing. In the past, the crescent shape was used by the pirates as protection from the elements. I got a watercolor painting from a man who is a big player in Grecian art as a souveneir. Greek_Islands_048.jpgGreek_Islands_075__2_.jpgGreek_Islands_087.jpg
After boarding the boat it was lunchtime. Once it was clear where the seating was, we ended up with a guy and his parents who also happened to be celebrating his return from Iraq. He was also stationed in Germany and had just done the marathon. All drinks were extra and we had a hard time getting a carafe of free water. Lunch was some sort of pasta square for appetizer and the meatballs with vegetables for the main course. Desert was a small cup of cake covered with whipped cream. It was rather like a cafeteria lunch. Curt and I then made the mistake of ordering the coffee and tea thinking surely that came with the meal – not so much – later we got charged 4 euro and the waiter reminded us nothing in this life is free!
After an hour or so the ship stopped at Poros which was a 30 minute stop. Curt got a sweater in one of the shops and Catherine and I hiked up to a church tower but there was a fence around it which kind of ruined the photo op. There was a dog on top that Cat tried to give some granola bar but of course he didn’t want it. We raced back down the stairs and on to the boat. Greek_Islands_108.jpg
The next stop was another hour or so away and was the largest – Aegina. There were optional tours for 22 and 24 extra euros but we chose to just stroll and shop. The pistaccio is famous on this island and very fresh. Curt got some and I got a coconut stick with pistachio that tasted like an almond joy. Both were delicious. I think we were pretty much shopped out on the same souveneirs so after a walk down the main street – most of which was closed – we ended in a coffee shop. The place was one of those with large pillows and couch chairs. I got tea and donuts with honey, curt got Greek coffee and Catherine got hot chocolate. Unfortunately by the time it arrived it was nearly time to get on our boat. Curt managed to get to-go cups so we could finish on the boat.
The ride back was long since it was dark and not much to look at. There was a show downstairs but no seats were left. At the port we got back on a bus and were dropped off at our hotel. After a quick bathroom stop we headed to the Plaka again for dinner at the Hermian.
This ended up being our favorite dinner. The waiter was fantastic and set us up outside next to a warmer. We shared a carafe of white wine and grilled feta along with bread. I got good old spaghetti Bolognese and Curt had Kabap and his new favorite Mousaka. There ended up being two long tables full of Egyptian men next to us which had a singer with a guitar playing for them. It was odd to see such a huge group of only men together – not to mention the make up wearing guitar player. He did sing a song from Elvis which was great. By the end the men were out of their seats dancing together – WOAH! Weird but interesting how different the world is. We walked back to our hotel happy with our final meal and another great trip!

Posted by ErinDriver 00:11 Archived in Greece Tagged cruises Comments (1)

Marathon to Athens, Greece

2008 Athens Marathon

overcast 60 °F

Race Day!! Today comes the end of our three marathons in 6 weeks-marathon! Wake up was early at 0500 in order to have the continental breakfast and get to the buses. Apostolos tours coordinated so we could have breakfast at the hotel early and then walk the couple blocks to the Olympic stadium where the buses picked us up to take us to Marathon and the start of the race. The buses went from 0600 to 0700 and we hit one at about 0615. The ride was 45 minutes and made us all sleepy. It was chilly and windy so we walked around the start area with trash bags on. It suprising the difference they make. The race didn’t start until 0900 so there was a lot of time for stretching, petting stray dogs and talking. There was a flame there like at the Olympics and a small rock that was along the route of the very first marathon.
The start was at a dinky stadium that was where the very first Olympics were held in 1896 which did not include a marathon.
Near the start we chatted with a woman from boston but lives in Athens. She had done the race before and told us that it was slight inclines a lot but you didn’t realize you were going up hill. She also stated that after 30K it was all down hill. If we would have seen her after the race we would have choked her out!
The race had about 5000 runners so we made it to the start line in 3 minutes after the gun. The videos of the start are awesome because they show a dog starting with the runners!
The first 5K were nice and flat and we ran around the tomb of the fallen Athenians. I’m not sure what it was though because there seemed to be just a mound of earth in the center that was overgrown with weeds. The announcer said we would run thru 17 small towns but regardless there did not seem to be a lot to look at. This race didn’t have all the bands or crowds cheering so my ipod came out early. After the 5K the inclines started and didn’t stop until somewhere around 32K. And then it was flat with an occasional uphill. They were in fact slight inclines but I was still knowledgable that I was going uphill.
There were the dressed up runners as well – one guy running in armor like a greek warrior. It was not plastic and he looked like he was struggling. Then there was the girl wearing a long white Grecian dress that passed me at the end! There was one water stop that had coke which gets extra points but other than that the race was very difficult with lots of uphill. Athens_013.jpg
Eventually I finished around 4:38 in the original Olympic stadium. Catherine said there was a dog that also finished a couple of times. There wasn’t much time spent in the stadium though – you got your medal, a blanket, water and were shuffled out. I met up with Curt by the “weepy tree” (he finished in 4:35) and we rested for a minute before getting our photo taken with the Acropolis behind us.
There wasn’t much of a party at the end so shortly after we headed back to the room to rest and shower. Catherine was headed after a wool sweater with a fleece lining which sounded warm for german weather so we dragged our tired bodies thru the plaka to the store but didn’t find one to suit us.
After another rest we went to a so-so dinner at the Plaka. I had chicken souvlaki and sprite to try and rest my irritated stomach. Curt got mousaka and some greek meatballs that were tasty. This was about all we could handle for today so we headed home to try and rest our legs.

Posted by ErinDriver 23:47 Archived in Greece Tagged events Comments (0)

Athens, Greece

Day 2 - The Acropolis

semi-overcast 60 °F

Morning came a bit later today but really for us it was on time since Greece is an hour ahead of Germany. Breakfast came with the tour and was a decent spread of eggs, omelets, Greek cakes, the traditional European bread, cheese and meat as well as cereal and fruit. I was able to take in enough calories to last me into the late afternoon :)

A tour started at 1030 and nothing much happened before that time. Our guide took us to the Olympic stadium where the buses will pick us up the next day to take us to the start of the marathon. The next stop was Syntagma square, which is the main square in Athens, then back past the Placa to the entrance of the Acropolis. Entry was not included so that was another 12 euro each. A good 2 hours were spent walking around the ruins and taking every variety of photo possible. Unfortunately most of the Parthenon was covered in scaffolding so all those great photos you see won’t be possible today. Luckily the rain that was promised did not come. Athens_105.jpg

Directly outside the Acropolis is the Plaka where the rest of the day was spent shopping. The Plaka is a neighborhood filled with shops and tavernas. One of the first stores Curt and I got a vase that is an exact replica of a vase made in 500 BC. I also got a sugar bowl for my tea, a tile for our kitchen collection, a couple of Greek key bracelets and that stand for eternity, a ring for Curt and an Acropolis charm for my marathon bracelet. By 1400 we hit the gyro stand and I got chicken while Curt had pork. They really were really tasty and cheap!

Catherine and I love all the animals in Athens but it is a rather sad story. People get these animals then realize they can’t keep them and just “release” them into the city. There are tons of stray dogs and cats everywhere – the good news is they are all a big chunky! :)Athens_074.jpgAthens_111.jpg

Curt got a frappe drink which is like a cold coffee and I got tea but ended up drinking it in the room. Apparently cafes charge a sort of “rental fee” for a chair in their seating area so separate prices and menus apply for take away versus a sit down cup.

Dinner was a pasta dinner at the hotel so we could get info for the race and our packets. The pasta was salad with spaghetti noodles and either marinara, Bolognese or carbonara sauce. Our goodie bags were given out with a great assortment of magazines, a towel, a mouse pad and pen with the Athens logo. It was one of the best we have seen in our previous four. Organizing all our running gear took the rest of the night.Athens_005.jpgAthens_072.jpgDSC04470.jpgDSC04476.jpg

Posted by ErinDriver 23:24 Archived in Greece Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Athens, Greece

Day 1

sunny 65 °F

The running team (Catherine, Curt and I) got off to a bit of a rocky start with our drive to the nurnberg airport. The easy regular route was blocked off by a road sign so the drive around town took slightly longer than expected. There was still enough time to grab and pretzel with cheese and what seemed like tuna baked in. A short hop found us in Zurich for an hour and then on to Athens via Swiss International. I received the best plane food ever in a little pita pocket with Italian chicken…and of course the Swiss chocolate.
The plane set down around 1700 and there was really no lines or waiting at the airport. Immediately thru the gates we were picked up by the Apostolos Greek Tours and escorted to our hotel in a taxi. The hotel is gorgeous and rightly so as a five star – The Royal Olympic. One of the Apostolos workers recommended a dinner at the plaka and watching the changing of the guard at the Syntagma Station.
Our route to the Plaka led us past the marathon expo so we did a quick detour. There was nothing much of mention there.
The Plaka is basically an area filled with shops and restaurants where we located a place for dinner. Trepina had some nice outdoor seating with a heating lamp and gardens. I had mousaka and Curt had chicken slovaki with rice. Catherine ordered us some ouzo which tastes like black licorice. For some reason ours was very cloudy white – not sure why all the others you see looks clear???
After dinner we strolled back to Parliament to watch the changing of the guards. It appears like there are two guards at their tomb of the unknown soldier. The soldiers are chosen because they are the same height/weight and are willing to wear the pom-pom shoes :)DSC04329.jpgDSC04325.jpg

Posted by ErinDriver 22:44 Archived in Greece Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

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