A Travellerspoint blog

Souvlaki & Raki

Onwards to Athens

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After driving from Bansko into Greece past goat herders and dusty olive groves, dreaming of sunny villages we were dropped in the hazy, bustling Thessaloniki to find a massive city with huge apartment buildings bearing over each other, competing for the sunlight. We stayed overnight to recharge our batteries and a have a quick look around. Dinner was at a charming little tavern down the road from our hostel, which our bubbly receptionist gave us a translation of a few of the items on the menu, as no one spoke english down there. The atmosphere with brilliant, charged with Greeks toasting over carafes of raki. We picked out a few dishes of feta, mushrooms and meatballs, everything was delicious for our first taste of Greek food, washed down with the obligatory raki.

We then caught the sleeper train to Athens which we both thought was going to be a nice spacious affair until we realised that seats were allocated, we were in the wrong seats in the wrong cabin, and we were to squeeze in side by side touching knees with the person across from you, AND had to leave our bag in the hallway cos there wasn't enough room. AAAArrrrRggGHhHH!!, worst ride ever!!.

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Arriving just before the sun was coming up we headed for the Acropolis, as we had a bit of time on our hands (two HOURS) before it opened, and wondered around the vicinity, making friends with the local stray dogs. By the time we got to the front gate, we had six dogs following; two scouts, three private guards, and one bringing up the rear. As we approached the Acropolis we saw the no dogs sign, and after a weak effort of gesticulating that they were not ours we waved on through, realising the Greek translation was probably more along the lines of "only local stray dogs, that befriend strangers and chase motorbikes and cars are allowed admittance." Though the dogs were more interested in sunbathing than sightseeing.

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The parthenon was pretty impressive, but almost as impressive was the view of Athens sprawling in every direction and the feeling that you're standing in the very heart of it all. It ran as far as the eye could see in a geometric mess that weaved the city together.

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We spent much of our time in Athens exploring the ruins and snacking on souvlaki, a kebab like snack, filled with fatty meat, chips and a smudge of salad for good measure. As a cheap meal they're brilliant, but we got sick of them pretty quickly.

It gets a little hard to appreciate the ruins after a while as they're absolutely everywhere, and some require a lot of imagination to picture what they used to look like, but there are probably a few archaeologists out there who go crazy for the stuff.

The days were starting to get pretty hot, so we were looking forward to exploring the islands on our return from Egypt. And maybe some more souvlaki & raki.

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Posted by two_pukeko 13:58 Archived in Greece Tagged athens acropolis Comments (0)

Bansko

Hitting the slopes

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View Our trip on two_pukeko's travel map.

After a whirlwind farewell to London, trying to pack as many good times as we could all weather gear into our back packs, we were headed for Bulgaria to unwind with a week on the slopes. We had a bit of a shaky start, me with remembering how to snowboard from last years efforts and Taui taking a couple of days out crook. We also didn't have any heating in our apartment for the first couple of nights, so we were absolutely freezing!

Admittedly, we knew nothing about Bulgaria, its history, culture or language as we were fixated on the snow, so we were both devouring Sofia with our eyes when we flew in, taking in the Soviet-esque landscape and constructivist style monuments. We weren't planning on being entrenched in culture in a ski resort so we didn't feel too bad. We found ourselves fitting in by fixating on the speed skiing that played on just about every TV from the top of the mountain to the cafes and bars at the foot. For some reason everyone we met was called George, so that made it simple to remember names.

We had a lot of fun over the week, Bansko is a great wee resort with plenty of snow to yourself, although it was just starting to turn a little slushy. We caught up with one of the George's in Greece, almost a month later, who let us know there was still plenty of snow up there with the season continuing til the end of April.

Taui disappearing down the slopes

Taui disappearing down the slopes

Me leaving a snail's trail

Me leaving a snail's trail

Snow Ninja

Snow Ninja

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Posted by two_pukeko 02:29 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged mountains snow bansko Comments (0)

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