Friday, 31 October 2014

Greece: Athens and Meteora

From nearly the beginning of our trip we knew that Athens was going to be a 'working' stop meaning we had lots to do in there apart from sightseeing. I was planning to have the baby growth scan there, Aaron was ordering lots of spare parts for the car that were delivered to my friend's who's been living in Athens for over two years now and whom I obviously wanted to see. And on top of that we were trying to get ready for the Albanian part of our trip i.e. deciding on the routes we were going to do in there.

 Aaron and his new apprentice 

With some help from an obstetrician from Nafplio I finally had my growth scan arranged. As always we were all ready to go in to see the baby on 'TV' and Marcel couldn't wait for it. To our disappointment the hospital didn't allow any children anywhere near pregnant women! It obviously meant that I was the only one who got to see the baby as Aaron had to look after our children. The most disappointed one was Marcel. He attended all scans we had in London and was looking forward to seeing the baby. 


Waiting by the school gate where my friend works. We did get to go inside and have a wee look. It was a lovely school. A kind of place I could imagine working myself. No wonder that my friend enjoys herself a lot in Athens: the workplace is very nice, the weather pretty good and on top of that the food is amazing. We went to a little cafe/patisserie not far from the school to have a chat over a cup of coffee and a piece of cake. If only choosing the cake was easy! The dessert display was amazing! Mouthwatering whichever way you looked there. We did eventually picked some cakes and did a bit of sharing to taste as much as possible. 

A little explanation: my friend is Polish and she used to work as a teacher in London. As most of us, teachers, she found the workload overwhelming and stressful. She only came to Athens for holiday and somehow found two job offers: one in an international school teaching British curriculum and the other one in an American school. She applied and got both jobs. She settled for the British one. Who knows, if Christchurch doesn't work out, there seems to be jobs in Athens for teachers with experience from London.




                              
A Sunday afternoon walk in Athens


My first impression of Athens: What an ugly city! The second impression: Hot, hot, hot! Even in late October! And finally:  Wow! The Acropolis is absolutely amazing! You just need to forget the sun that basically burns your skin when you try to focus on enjoying the Parthenon and ... It's worth it, though. And it was so nice to walk around with Marcel who always shows lots of interest in the sites we have been visiting and asks  relevant questions. Although he did have enough of the heat by the time we got to the Parthenon. A little ice cream afterwards cooled him down. 



Waiting for a train to the Acropolis

And here we are: walking up to the southern side of Acropolis.

Theatre of Dionysus


Odeon of Herodes Atticus - beautiful theatre in the background

Odeon of Herodes Atticus



Nearly at the top



                                 View from the Acropolis


Parthenon


Erechteum - a temple dedicated to Athena and Poseidon



On the way out                                    

The entrance to Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Meteora - our last stop in Greece

Campsite near Meteora
From hot Athens we moved to Meteroa which was pretty warm when we arrived there late in the evening. However, a storm came over at night and along with the rain the temperature dropped significantly. We put our summer clothes away and dressed warmly for the first time in a few weeks. We didn't expect the weather to get worse but unfortunately it did! Although after the storm we had a cold but clear day, more rain came at night. A lot more rain! And it rained and rained and rained... And if that wasn't enough it got cold. Really cold! So the kids and me were stuck in the tent when Aaron was out in town doing whatever Aaron does with his car. After a whole morning of being locked in our little tent, the kids had clearly enough. Marcel eventually started practising his Spiderman moves bouncing off the walls of the tent, Anastazja insisted on putting her shoes on and there was no way of explaining to her we couldn't go outside. It was a big relief when Aaron came back and we went for a drive with stops for lunch and coffees which gave the kids a chance to run around a little bit. It wasn't enough for Anastazja, though and eventually I had to brave the rain and take her for a little walk around the town square we ended up at. 




Little town close to our campsite. The rocks were simply spectacular, like from a fantasy movie.
Meteora is a complex of Greek Orthodox monasteries set on top of those rocks. The architecture is very similar whichever one you look at so we visited only one. I think it's the location that we really loved more than the monasteries themselves.
We were very concerned that the rain would stop us from getting any views when visiting Meteora monasteries. Fortunately, despite it being still a cold day at least it cleared so we could enjoy the amazing location of the monasteries.







 

And here's our photographer in action










By Polka

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