The Great EU Quest: Greece – Lost Day Regained

Today’s post is a bit of a difficult one to start writing as, for this first section, I’m still in the middle of it.

I wanted to be able to recount a fascinating day at Delphi. How that, even with just over five hours sleep because of the ballet ending super late, we still mustered up the energy to see the sites in between a six hour round trip. What we were not to know, unless we googled something oddly specific, is that all the archaeological sites in Delphi were closed as part of a strike that was announced a few days ago.

Tour groups were there looking bewildered and a number of visitors, including us, opted to get an early bus back. I know there’s hiking here and that there’s probably a way we could have made the most out of being £60 out of pocket. But we came for the history and it’s sad that, because of the cost, this is a whole bunch of cool things that we are going to be missing out on.

A notice in the bus station desk selling tickets to Delphi would have been nice. We could have swapped some days around so we weren’t majorly out of pocket PLUS it would have  saved us the heartbreak. So it goes. I guess I’m still in shock.

— 12 Hours Later —

Right so it’s the end of the day and it feels like both myself and the hub have really run the gamut of emotions since we left Delphi early. Managed to get a few laughs from listening to an episode or two of The Big Ones before grabbing a quick nap on the way back.

We decided to head back to the apartment and regroup… after lunch at local burger chain Goody Burger. By this time it was gone two in the afternoon and my early morning sandwich (ham, burger and coleslaw – I literally grabbed this at random form a pile) was a distant memory. One thing I’ve learnt is that the Greeks do excellent fries and the burger wasn’t half bad either.

Now, whilst we were determined that this wasn’t going to turn into a “lost day” the strike by the department of culture staff meant that pretty much all our alternative activity ideas were potentially off-limits (yes, apparently this strike was nationwide… and still there was no hint that something as major as the Acropolis could be closed today).

With that in mind we decided to do something a bit more chill – take the funicular railway up Mount Lycabettus and have some drinks whilst waiting for the sun to set. A lot of uphill walking, too many flights of stairs and a railway ride later and we were at the top looking over Athens and taking a lot of panoramic shots.

We walked down from the main observation deck and took a seat next to the path in order to secure ourselves a dynamite view of the upcoming sunset. We must have been up there chatting and swigging our Coke Zeros for about two hours before the sun started making it’s descent.

It’s been years since I’ve actually done something with the end purpose to be there watching the sunset (it might even be as far back as when we were in Kyoto and visited Fushimi Inari Taisha), but today felt like the sort of day that could do with ending on a high.

Being an iPhone photographer who now relies one is husbands phone for decent quality, there was no way that I could take a picture that could do proper justice to what the view was like – especially as the lenses in my sunglasses really made it look like the sky was more on fire than it actually was. Still I did my best and took a whole lot of photos.

We decided to wait until both the sun had set and the evening lights of the Parthenon had come on before making our descent down the winding mountain path. This meant a whole lot more pictures needed to be taken to try and show the juxtaposing brightly lit Parthenon with the fading red of the sunset – again these pictures didn’t come out the best, but it’s something I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

As we were coming down the mountain we were met with the smell of grilled meat, so obviously dinner was on our mind. After pacing the streets trying to find the perfect place we ended up finding Kalamaki Kolonaki… which is near where the endless stairs up the the funicular railway began.

My husbands search for gyros has to go on for another day, but the food here was more than good enough to satisfy. We kept it simple with appetisers by having just some tzatziki and pita bread. For my main I order four skewers from the menu (two pork, one beef and one chicken) whilst the hub ordered himself a lamb kebab, which came with couscous, salad and some spiced yoghurt.

The last few hours of today really helped to lift the spirits after an incredibly crap beginning. Could we have done more with the trip to Delphi than just head back on the next bus? Maybe, but the time between the buses was 5 and a half hours… and I’m not sure what we’d have done to fill the time with all the historical stuff closed for the day. At least we ended the day on some sort of high – hopefully we’ll be able to carry this feeling into tomorrow, which is our final full day in Greece.

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