Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Greek flyswatter and peace in our cabin…

As beautiful as Athens is and as wonderful as was the weather, my primary need want was to get my camera replaced. And, of course, to get the credit card that had been stolen!

The credit card was sent from the US to Athens, then transferred to Mykonos, then sent back to Athens (it has almost as many miles as we do!) because the ship was unable to stop in Mykonos due to the winds. We cancelled our tour of Athens because we weren’t sure we could get the credit card, call the US to activate it, and meet our tour, all by 0625. We were right.

So Marie and Mal, Randy and I met at 0700 to tackle finding the Adorama camera store in Kanigos Square in Athens. I had an address, so how hard could it be? Oh boy! That was a thought we should never have had.

Athens won’t let the tourists walk to the gateway (five minute walk, max) from the ship, we had to take a shuttlebus. I think the rule is the Full-employment-for-bus-drivers rule! Once out of  the terminal we walked about a mile to find the Metro. An interesting walk along the street surrounding what has to be one of the biggest ports in the world—it just goes on and on and on! There are ferries and ferries and ferries, cruise ships (I think there were five cruise ships in port when we were), tankers, tugs, boats of all shapes and sizes scurrying (can a ship scurry?) back and forth. Fascinating to watch so it made the walk quite pleasant. The Metro is easy and cheap (but quite hot) transportation; one way, a 15-minute journey from Piraeus to the Plakka near the Acropolis in Athens was €1.40. Compare that to the $8.00 BART fare from the airport to downtown San Francisco!

We walked and walked. We asked and asked. We wandered. We begged passersby for help—which they always gave, it just wasn’t correct help. We asked at an information kiosk. Actually two kiosks connected by a little window like you see in the confessional in church. The two people conferred in rapid Greek through the little window for a few minutes and we had great hopes. Then she just said, “We don’t know.” We looked on our map, we pondered. Finally we figured we needed sustenance and stopped for coffee. They had internet so I actually got a picture of the store front (we found out later it bore absolutely no resemblance to the actual store front) and the people there told us exactly where to go. But they were wrong. The chemist told us where to go. Wrong. We had started from the Plakka at about 0815. At 1030 we finally found A camera store, a little hole-in-the-wall shop. Not the BIG camera store we (well, I) were looking for, but it had my D300s and at a great price, less than in B&H in NY. But we (I) wanted to find Adorama. We found a few more camera stores, finally (!) including Adorama. By the way, in Athens a BIG camera store does not look like Best Buy, it looks more like a small coffee shop.

Anyway, none of the others we found had my D300s and if they had had it, it would have been much more than the small, first shop we found. So back we went and I was able to negotiate a few euros off the price, so, after Randy recovered from his shock at the price, bought it and an even better lens than I had before. Mission accomplished, thanks to Marie and Mal’s infinite patience in staying with us through all that.

Since it had been a few hours since we had eaten, a small lunch was in order. Randy and Mal trooped off to take photos of the Acropolis (from a distance, we didn’t have time to climb the hill and brave the throngs of people; we’ll have to return for that) while Marie and I looked for a restaurant with comfortable seats and an interesting menu in the shade. Which we found and proceded to have a delicious lunch of kebabs (not what you think, they are actually gyros) with beer—total price, including tip, for four? €20. Amazing!

We used the Metro back to Piraeus and started walking to the ship when Marie, who has to have the best shopping eyes ever, shreiked that she had found a shop down a side street where Randy could buy a flyswatter! We have been bedeviled by flies ever since we left the doors open the whole day while sailing up the Suez Canal. We’ve tried to kill them by swatting with a newspaper but that’s an exercise in futility and anyway we’re sure they’re breeding in the closet when we’re not looking. Ever since, Randy has been asking tour guides, anybody!, where he can buy a flyswatter. We even looked in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. No luck. Finally! Randy has his trophy flyswatter!

So back to the ship, some premeditated murder of flies, and off to the regular 1900 drink-fest at the Rendevous Bar where we could show off our purchases. Life is good.
A really good local beer.

Street market in the Plakka.

Street scene with the Acropolis in the background.

Randy and his trophy flyswatter.

Our sister ship, the Crown Princess, in the Athens harbor.

Part of the Acropolis


  1. man forgot about those flies in the Suez.... you would shoo them away and they would look at you with a face that said "get real ... you go" LOL

  2. I can just picture Dad stalking flies for the next couple days, and you each squeezing through the door to the deck being sure to not let in any flies.