First thing on the agenda today was to get the rental car back. Easier said then done. We got directions from the front desk at the hotel, with our map in hand it sounded pretty simple. Well people have been talking about the demonstrations going on in Greece and this time we were affected. Roads were blocked off so we took an hour to go maybe a mile, probably an hour and a half since it took us almost 2 hours to get the car back. They had roads closed down which we didn’t know, so we were fighting to go forward between busses, scooters and pedestrians. You know how people here don’t really know the road signs? Well scooters, don’t really care about roads or lack of them. They would drive between cars or up on sidewalks and in between all of that you had to keep an eye on pedestrians weaving in between cars. With one green light we would be lucky to go forward one car length, usually, we didn’t. Once we got out of the circle of hell we had to use the map to figure out where to go. First off, their traffic lights are on the side of the road, not overhead so Nancy wouldn’t notice them. The funniest part is when we were turning right and the cars started honking at us. Nancy pfft and said Greek drivers. I was like you ran the red light! Needless to say after that, I told her whenever the light was turning red. Secondly, the street names are written on the buildings and the writing is small. All of us have horrible vision. Not a good combo but we did eventually make it to the care rental place (after we stopped at a gas station for directions, we were close!).
We all breathed a sigh of release once we dropped the car off. Nancy most especially! Honestly, I would have never tried to drive in Greece, I give her major props for that.
We didn’t want to lug our bags to the metro stop so we took a cab back to our apartment. Luckily we have a good idea how to get there, none of the cab drivers knew where it was. Even the taxi’s GPS drove us in circles. We would just tell them the metro stop and direct them in from there. Since the day was rapidly flying by (2 hours going nowhere) we just took time to refresh ourselves and headed out. I really wanted to hit the Central Market. Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods went there for one of his shows. They have great fresh food. You know food motivates me but also, I thought it would be a great place to take photos.
So we hopped the metro and off we went to Monastiraki, the area where the market was and funnily enough, a couple of blocks away from where we had been trapped earlier in the day. If we’d known that we could have left our stuff in the car and walked over and missed the traffic nightmare. Oh well.
We walked around to get the lay of the land but we were hungry so decided to get some eats before we did some serious wandering. I picked where we were going to eat based on the fact that there were 4 cops eating in there. It’s not because of the fact that cops eat at the best local places, it’s because all of the cops in Athens are freaking GORGEOUS! Seriously, I would say 90% of the cops we saw, maybe 95% of them were just my type. And we saw a lot of cops while in Athens, I made sure to stop and ask them directions any chance I got, even if we knew where we were going. I’m bummed we didn’t get pics with some of them.
The food ended up being really great and only 2 euro for a gyro or souvlaki. Even better! In Europe not everything comes with ice so it’s a crap shoot when you order a soda whether you’re going to get some or not. I always ask for ice if they don’t bring it since I love my soda ice cold. They didn’t have ice but the waitress brought us frosted mugs. She got a great tip. She didn’t need to bring us the mugs and I always appreciate it when someone goes the extra mile, especially when they are busy.
Before we left the restaurant I had to go to the bathroom. Well this guy followed me up, he heard me ask where it was and was chatting me up while we were on our way. I’m a friendly sort, I’ll chat with you. Then he was there when I was washing my hands (separate restrooms but the sink was in the hallway) and chatting some more. He wanted to try to kiss me (last time some stranger tried that move I was in New Orleans) and I wouldn’t let him. Then he asked to take a photo with me. I agreed. Then he tried to lean in for a kiss then. I put my hand up to block his face. I should have remembered his move a half an hour later. I made it to the safety of our table unscathed, little did I know what was next.
From everything I’ve read the said the smell was pretty pungent in the Central Market. They did not lie. Pungent is an understatement. Because we got there so late in the day, they didn’t even have the seafood out but you could still smell it. Su practically ran thru the market, I think it might have had something to do from the bloody floors, lol.
As you can see, it wasn’t busy at all, so instead of pics of a bustling market, we were the center of attention. People asking where we were from. Trying to say hi to me in Chinese. Calling me over to say how beautiful I am (I shouldn’t have put lipstick on after lunch).
The store also had these gorgeous displays of fresh spices. I would go back to Athens just to shop here again.
There’s a coffee shop that is always packed right by our metro stop. We decided to stop there before we made the long trek back to our apartment. OK, the girls needed some caffeine. My favorite part was they brought us free food, cake slices, little sandwiches and a trail mix. The bad part is we were still pretty full from lunch so we didn’t get to appreciate it as much as we would normally have.