Tag Archives: athens

The Great EU Quest: Greece – Last Day

Right, final day in Greece with a flight that was supposed to leave at 21:05 (it didn’t). Whilst this isn’t a complete final day, it did give me enough time to get in a few more things before heading back to the UK. But that couldn’t start until we’d had more xynotyro for breakfast and cleaned the apartment prior to checking out.

Having left our bags concealed under the stairs of the apartment building (don’t worry they were fine) we proceeded to the first stop of the day – the National Gardens. In a city like Athens that is surrounded by so many areas of green, any sort of park int he middle of the city is going to slightly pale in comparison – especially when they have such a substantial pigeon population.

You know what I’m being a bit overly critical here. I’ve seen it described int he literature that these gardens act as a bit of an oasis for Athenians in the centre of the city; something that I can really see. There are lovely areas lined with palm trees, a fairly picturesque pond for the local duck population and a pool that absolutely packed with turtles (or terrapins, I’m not entirely sure what these would have qualified as).

Then there is the animal and bird section, which is essentially a petting zoo where the flying bird enclosures don’t appear to be in use anymore and the main attraction is a large pen containing goats and a few rabbits. There was also a pen with a single sheep in it who, at least to me, looked a bit lonely. So, um, that was a bit of a weird section.

We took some time here to have some Coke Zero (because Eastern European Coke Zero is delicious and so much nicer than the UK equivalent) and polish off a pack of oregano crisps. All while enjoying the waning sunshine and the occasional sunshower.

It was here that I remembered that there were some nearby ruins on Amalia Street that we had passed on multiple occasions and never taken the time to check out. Well today was the day – turns out they were a section of a really well preserved bathhouse that were uncovered when they working out where to put a ventilation grate in for one of the Athens metro lines.

Just looking at this cannot help but make you wonder how many ruins there are under the city of Athens that may never be uncovered because of modern constructions. Bit of a weird thought that underneath some of the swankier Athenian hotels might be the remains of an ancient taverna, school or brothel. For obvious reasons I hope for the last one.

We bid a cursory hello to the statue of Byron and walked down some citrus tree lines streets (all still green and immature so was not able to work out what type of citrus fruit they would end up becoming) to the Museum of Cycladic Art. I’ve been wanting to go here anyway, but our trip to the National Archaeological Museum really put this visit to the top of pile.

The museum itself is in an old town house not too far away from the foot of Mount Lycabettus and is a lot bigger than it would first appear. With a 7€ ticket you get access to four floors of their permanent collection, with each floor being quite different.

The first of the four floors is the aforementioned Cycladic Art – i.e. artefacts from the Cyclades Islands of Greece. This was my favourite of the four exhibitions and featured so many of the human statues that I had fallen for a few days ago in the archaeological museum. What this museum did better, was explain a lot of the history of these statues and give greater context to how these started out and how they would develop.

The remaining floors dealt with Ancient Minoan and Mycenaen artefacts, Ancient Cypriot artefacts and the lives and rites of passage for an average Greek citizen. If you ever find yourself in Athens, I would really recommend this museum. They have so many interesting and different items on display, plus they have videos demonstrating how certain items were produced (the red figure vase one being especially illuminating) and how people used to live. Actually found this to be far more interesting, varied and educational than the Acropolis museum.

Now, with this museum done there was one thing that we hadn’t been able to find whilst in Greece – actual wrapped gyros. Since we hadn’t really eaten breakfast or lunch by this point, this would serve as perfect holdover until we reached the airport. Not kidding, we roamed a few streets before actually finding what we were looking for. They were 2.10€ each and exactly what we had hoped for.

So that’s it (apart from the McGreek we had at the airport, because dinner was needed and we won’t be getting home until gone midnight). That was my week in Athens. It took a lot of willpower to not call this series of posts “Peter’s Odyssey” because that would be way too cheesy even for me. As I write this I am on the flight home sat behind a baby hoping beyond hope that it neither begins to cry nor spits up on my like with Ben Stiller’s character in Meet the Parents (edit: it cried a lot, but at least I had a good set of ear buds to drown it out)

Just as an aside to end on. Every now and then an album or song somehow ends up becoming tied to a particular holiday, for example my trip to Australia became liked to Gemini by Wild Nothing. For this holiday I found myself having two songs by Andrew Bird acting as the backdrop: ‘Sovay’ and ‘Tables and Chairs’ so I’ve embedded the latter of these below. Enjoy.

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.

🎻♫♪ – Spartacus by Aram Khachaturian

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
Progress:
 50/501Title: Spartacus
Composer: Aram Khachaturian
Nationality: Russian
Year:
1954

I would be lying if I said that his is where I thought following the classical music list would lead me when I started on it two and a half years ago. I’ve gone from being inspired by a manga depicting talented musicians to sitting in a 18-1900 year old Greek theatre watching Khachaturian’s ballet adaptation of Spartacus. Kinda crazy where life can lead us sometimes – and what a way to finish off our third wedding anniversary.

The seating in the theatre is divided into two sections – we went for the cheaper upper section where it’s basically sit where you can. Even though we got there half an hour early already a large part of the upper section of the theatre was heaving. We managed to get some really good seats and waited for the ballet to start – half an hour late because it would appear that a lot of the attendees took 20:30 to be a suggested arrival time rather than a start time. Needless to say, it ran over quite a bit to the point that people started leaving during the third act.

Even though I have only seen three full length ballets (including this one) I have no qualms in saying that this production is the best I’ve seen. Hell, it might be one of the best things that I have seen on stage. We are so incredibly lucky that a production like this (where the principal dancers were from the Bolshoi ballet company) was in town and performing on our anniversary.

What helped to make this different from the other ballets that I’ve seen would appear to be age. Spartacus, being written in the fifties, has more of a modern flair to the competition whilst remaining classical. Also, the story is incredibly well edited so that it just keeps flowing along whilst giving the dancers plenty of time to show off the choreography and their skill.

It would appear, at least to me, that you can really tell how the style has moved on by the musical choices of the female characters. You have Spartacus’ wife Phrygia whose dances and music are far more in line with what you would expect from a classical ballet style, but with a few tumbles added in for good measure. The contrast is Aegina (who I kept calling Druscilla in my head as I watched) whose music and choreography was far more sensual and, at times, was taking on elements of jazz.

Whilst all the principals truly shone the ones who always took my attention and could leave me breathless were those playing Spartacus and Aegina. Nothing against the other two, especially not the man playing Crassus whose characterisation was on point at all times, but Spartacus and Aegina were just outstanding.

It was a truly fantastic evening in what feels like a once in a lifetime setting.

The Great EU Quest: Greece – An Athenian Anniversary

Well it’s a happy anniversary to myself and the hub as today marks three years since we got married. How it’s already been three years just boggles the mind. Similarly, I can’t believe that it’s already been two years since I was last in New York. Anyway.

Our anniversary got off to a bit of a sketchy start as we ventured across the city to purchase our bus tickets to Delphi. The coach station is in an interesting part of the city full of auto mechanics and a lot of graffiti (more so than the rest of the city which, to be frank, has a massive graffiti problem). Early start tomorrow, we must need our heads examined.

It was a hasty exit from this area of town so that we could get on with our day proper – which really began with breakfast from a bakery near Monastiraki station. As you can see from the picture, looks very much like that Georgian cheese bread boat that I made a few months ago, but with fresh olives, feta and mixed bell peppers. This was exactly what we needed. Very delicious. Also, we got an interesting bit of street theatre as we ate, the arrest and escorting away of a couple of drug dealers from the square. A bit different from the Saturday morning cartoons of my childhood.

Now the main point of day was to mop up the rest of the sites form the bumper Athens archaeological sites ticket that we began using a few days ago – starting with Hadrian’s Library. Much like the TARDIS, this site is a lot bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside.

There are parts of this site that are remarkably well preserved, to the point that with the guidance form the signs you can actually see what this was – with a bit of imagination that is. Some of the original mosaics still remain as do the outlines for the reading rooms and the actual steps. This visit also marked the unofficial restarting of Tortoisewatch with one of them making a hell of a racket as he speedily made his way across a corrugated iron roof.

From here we walked through the Athens flea market in order to get to Keramikos – one of two sites on the ticket that has an accompanying museum. This huge area is pretty much the remnants of part of a giant cemetery. It formed part of the Sacred Way – a kilometre long stretch of statues and tombs dedicated to those that could afford them. There is still so much of this left to be discovered, but that’s underneath already built on parts of Athens – so who knows if we’ll ever see some of these original sections ever again.

This area is pretty expansive (with two more tortoise residents), but all of the interesting ornamentation have been placed in the museum for protections, with copies now populating the outside. The centrepiece of the museum is an incredibly impressive marble bulk that would have once adorned the top of someone’s tomb. It also contains some other remarkably well preserved grave decorations that are worth checking out.

Our final destination from the ticket was the Ancient Agora which, with two notable exceptions, has been completely levelled. The first exception to this rule are three large statues of Tritons (think large male water spirits) that greet you as you enter.

These, however, pale in comparison to the Ancient Agora’s crowing glory: the temple of Hephaestus. This is the best preserved Greek style in Greece and really does give you pause as to what the Parthenon could have looked like had it not been partially blown up. Sadly you cannot walk through the temple, but all of the original insides were removed when it was converted to a Christian church to St George.

We made a stop by the Agora’s museum, which explained how successive invasions and cultures lead to the growth and the eventual destruction of the Ancient Agora. It’s also at this pint where I learned that Geometric isn’t just a type of pattern, but also a period of history where these types of patterns were first being exploited. Feels like I really am learning a lot this week.

Due to our late breakfast, we skipped lunch in order to visit the National Archaeological Museum. I know this doesn’t appear to be the prevailing opinion on Trip Advisor, but I found this to be far more interesting and varied than the Acropolis museum. Sure it isn’t as swanky, but they sure do cram a lot in here.

In total we probably spent about three hours in here. We might have been able to spend a bit longer, but our feet really started to hurt and our concentration was beginning to lapse after looking at ancient sites all day.

I think more than anything else on his trip, the time scales involved with some of the exhibits were truly sobering. Just to give two examples, you have a large bronze statue of a boy on a horse that’s two millennia old… and a wooden statue of woman at work that is four millennia old. These are just two of the many notable things here.

The prehistoric areas provided an insight into the various cultures in the area that started to emerge before what we now know as Greek culture started. Because of the interesting style of their statues, I really took a shining towards the Cycladic stuff.

Of course, being a Greek archaeological museum, there was a wealth of vases and statues – most of the museums being devoted to those two things – the huge bronze statue of Zeus (or Poseidon, it’s disputed) being a real highlight. So was the temporary exhibition on the depiction of beauty through the ages, where they made a recreation of perfume based on ancient instructions (it smelt like rosewater).

 

As we had plans this evening we went for an early dinner at a place around the corner called The Black Sheep. To start there was a dish of some par of breaded and fried cheese served with honey, sesame and nigella seeds. We also had kataffi pastry nests filled with smoked aubergine and walnuts – a real highlight.

For the main was pork kleftiko – think chunks of pork, sweet onion, bell pepper and feta wrapped in parchment paper and cooked to the point that the pork is so tender that it can be difficult to get a whole piece on the fork. It was so good, especially as the leftover juices made for something good to dip the fries in.

That rounds off most of the day, except for what we got up to in the evening. However, this post is becoming incredibly long and this provides me with a good spot to stop for now and pick up the rest later. As of writing this I am about an hour into a coach ride to Delphi having gotten 5 and a half hours sleep. I think it’s time for a nap.

The Great EU Quest: Greece – Mount Hymettus

Right so I’m going to start off today’s post with a bit of a lessons learned from today: do not go for a big hike up a mountain without having breakfast or bringing along some sort of snack. We were fine, but it’s a pretty dumb thing to do.

Anyway, let’s get started with day three of my time in Athens.

—-

After yesterday’s early start I think we both felt that a lie in was in order – or at least waking up with the alarm at 9:30. Since we had nothing in the fridge at the apartment we talked about how we would need to breakfast and some sort of packed lunch as today was get day that we were going to do a big hike up Mount Hymettus (as you can gather, this didn’t happen as the end of the bus line was a cemetery with marry a bakery in sight).

Mount Hymettus is more like a small range or giant ridge than an actual mountain. It’s one of those things that you can see from most places in Athens, crowned with a mass of transmitters and radio antennae. Since we’re here in Athens for quite a long time, and there are a lot of mountains in the area, we set aside a day for hiking – this mountain being picked because of its relationship with a remaining food list item.

Before making for the mountain proper, we were going to pay a visit to Kaisariani Monastery – another Orthodox monastery but, unlike those we saw at Meteora, this is no longer occupied by anyone other than cats. To get to the monastery itself you need to make a 30 minute mini-hike from the cemetery at the end of the bus line and make a partial beeline through the Kaisariani Aesthetic Forest.

The build is in a similar style to those we saw yesterday, just on a smaller and less gravity-defying scale. From the outside the church is beautiful to look at; in the inside it is even better.

The frescos inside, like those at Meteora, are so well preserved. However, since this is no longer occupied, there were no restrictions on the number of photos I could take… so I may have gone a little bit barmy. Then again, I took many pictures of the church from numerous angles so it might have just been Kaisariani affecting me.

After this began, what would end up being about 4-5 hours on the mountain itself. The aim was for us to follow a trail known as the Botanical Trail which was meant to take us up the mountain at a leisurely-medium pace whilst seeing some monuments and a lot of cute signs telling you what the different plants were. Let’s just say that we lost that trail after about 45 minutes, cut to us clambering up steep sections on all fours.

The hike up was, although tiring, such great fun. The variation in plant life was so interesting, especially how it changed as we got further and further up. The coolest part however were the number of hissing tortoises that we came across – seven in total and each time I heard them hiss it made me think I’d come across an angry snake.

The big win from this hike, other than the knowledge that we climbed up 700m of a mountain, was the sheer wealth of views that we got of Athens from way up high. Every time we got a new view, we played a game of ‘find the Acropolis’ – even as the view widened to the point that we could see the sea.

We decided to make our descent at this point because it felt like we were reaching the point of diminishing returns. We hiked to know that we could and to get an awesome view. Now, little did we know that we would get kinda lost on the descent. On the way up we spied a less steep route that would’ve taken us ages, so we thought that would make for the perfect path for the way down – turns out this path was the victim of some sort of landslide and we ended up having to find a safe route down ourselves (luckily previous hikers had sprayed paint on safe trails so we managed to find our way down).

The moment we got off the mountain we realised that we’d basically ended up at nearly the other end of the ridge… so we needed to cross a freeway (which was scarier than all the times I nearly slipped and fell down that mountain) and find a bus stop that would take us back into central Athens where we would finally get food.

FOOD! Turns out pie can make you happy, especially when you have it with some peach iced tea and the pie is chock-full of feta cheese. It really helped us to feel human, as did resting in the apartment for an hour before heading out for dinner.

Being the wonderful husband that he is, I was led to a speciality food store that my husband was sure would do the Greek honey that I needed for my food list. Sadly they did not. A bit of googling and a short ride on the metro helped us reach another specially store called Yolani’s that not only did my honey, but also the Corinthian vinegar that I needed. So watch this space for future posts about those when I get back from Greece.

To finish the day we had dinner at The Greco’s Project where our eyes were a lot larger than our stomach. We shared starters of zucchini fries and a Greek sausage (like the one we’d had on Day 1), had a Greek salad to share and then a souvlaki plate. As nice as the food was, I was thankful of the 20 minute walk home so that I would be less bloated when I got back in to write about my day.

So that’s it for Day 3. Tomorrow we will be mopping up some ancient sites that we missed out on and celebrating our 3 year wedding anniversary by seeing a ballet! Not bad if I say so myself.

The Great EU Quest: Greece – The Acropolis!

List Item: Visit all EU countries
Progress: 20/28

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I am finally crossing off Greece from the list of EU countries to visit. This really feels like the last truly major country to tick off the list and what a better way to cross it off officially than by visiting one of the major ancient wonders… more on that later.

Country: Greece
Year first visited: 2018

Getting to the apartment last night was a bit of a misadventure as a mixture of plane delays and broken ticket machines meant that we didn’t get in until gone 11. Thankfully the bed was comfortable and our temporary digs are exactly what we hoped for. It’s also cool that each apartment takes a name from a Greek god, ours being Dionysus.

Due to our late arrival, we didn’t get up until about 9 (which for me on a holiday is rather late) and we made the decision to skip breakfast in order to get a start on the day. Of course the hundreds of local Athenians we came across doing a cancer run got a better start on the day than us. Oh well.

Since our apartment is about 30 minutes walk from the Acropolis we opted to walk there so that we could start to get to know Athens just that bit better. On the way we passed an interesting landmark: the stadium that hosted the visit modern Olympic Games in 1896. Pretty cool to come across this just as an extra site! I had to photograph it later in the evening due to the sun being right overhead.

A short hop from there was the first (of many) ancient sites of the day: the Olympieion. Back in the day this was a tall temple to Zeus, but now all that remains is 15 standing columns and 1 collapsed one. It really worked to see this first thing as we could still marvel at the height and not be spoilt by what is to come.

The Olympieion area also features Hadrian’s Gate which marks the then boundary between Ancient Greek Athens and Roman Athens. It’s amazing just how intact this particular gate. Also, if you stand in the right place, it provides a perfect frame for the Acropolis in the distance – our next destination.

We got a tip online that if you want shorter queues to get into the Acropolis area not only should you pre-buy your tickets online, but go to the South-Eastern entrance. Most people tend to go to the western entrance as it is the more direct route to the Acropolis itself, but with the entrance we chose there was plenty of shrines and other ruins to see on our way up.

The big one to see is the theatre of Dionysus, whose area spans a lot more than you would first think. The ruins of the theatre is a real mixed bag. Some of it is amazingly preserved whereas others are completely missing. Still, it gave us a cool chance to take a seat in a proper Ancient Greek theatre – something that we will be doing again in a few days time… where I hopefully won’t regret not packing a cushion.

After weaving in and around a number of ruins it was time for us to hit the big ticket item itself: the Acropolis itself.

 List item: Visit 100 of the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist
Progress: 81/100Sight: Acropolis
Location: Athens, Greece
Position: #28

It’s worth mentioning at this point that the Acropolis is the whole area at the top of rocky outcrop. The major part of this is the Parthenon, but other ruins (including the incredibly well preserved ‘Old Temple’ to Athena) can be found up here. Also feral cats, but those really are everywhere in Athens.

The weird thing about seeing the Parthenon for the first time is just how hard it is to process what you are being confronted with. Most of the times you see it in pictures you are seeing a zoom in from a nearby hill or the picture is being taken at a distance from a helicopter. Up close, it’s just difficult to parse the scale of the whole thing.

To allow the brain it’s time to process (and to get out of the way of some big tour groups) we went down to the ‘Old Temple’ to Athena (so-called because it predates he Parthenon as a place to worship Athena). It’s a bit of a marvel that is incredibly well preserved and has some interesting building quirks. This is a place that had to be built around a crack in the floor said to be where Poseidon struck the ground with his trident, the original olive tree as planted by Athena, the burial place of a mythic king and a substantial slope.

After this we still couldn’t quite process the Parthenon… so we climbed up a platform on the eastern edge of the Acropolis to take in some great views of the city (including a bird’s eye view of the Olympieion). I think it was the point where we turned around to face the Parthenon once again that it really hit us that we were here.

The Parthenon itself is truly vast. I can only imagine how it would have been to see this before most of it was devoured by the explosion in the 1600s. It will also be interesting to see how it will end up looking after the restoration work has been completed – although this really does feel like a project that will never be truly finished.

We ended up walking around the Parthenon itself two times to try and soaking he ambience as well as we could. It also afforded me the perfect opportunity to take a bunch of photos before we made our way back down the slope. I cannot over emphasise the number of great views that you get from up in the Acropolis – I can only imagine what it must be like to be there when it’s all lit up at night.

After finishing our descent it really was time for some lunch, and what could be more Greek than gyros! I feel that there is this big list of Greek food that I want it try authentic versions of whilst I am here – gyros being the top of that list equal to some proper feta cheese. We appeared to be the only people eating a meal of this size, but then again we had missed breakfast and (more importantly) who cares.

Next to the Acropolis’ slopes is the Acropolis museum – a newly built museum that houses all the findings from the Acropolis area as well as a lot of the original sculptures. However, before getting into that, we went around a temporary exhibition about Emperor Qianlong from China. This did serve as a bit of a palate cleanser for what was to come.

Sadly there is no camera policy in the vast majority of the Acropolis museum, so I’ll be brief. The sheer number of recovered statues and relics is truly overwhelming. There is so much that it makes you wonder just how much did not survive. Some of the best pieces are actually pre-Parthenon pieces that survived a massive act of arson by the Persian army. Some of these pieces still have visible paint on them!

The elephant in the room if the Acropolis museum are the missing marble pieces that are currently sat in the British museum. Being a Brit, it’s interesting to hear the Greek side of the story – especially as they characterise Elgin as essentially being an upper class pirate. Who knows if this will ever be fully resolved to the satisfaction of both sides.

It was pretty late in the afternoon when we left the museum, so we had to prioritise some sites from our Archaeological Sites of Athens ticket (with the rest to be done in a few days). We made our way down a lovely promenade and some really touristy ships to the Roman Agora.

There isn’t too much to this as most of the area compared to everything we’d seen previously, but it still had some columns and a gate intact. Also, and most interesting of all, the old observatory is nearly perfectly preserved. It really does help if a building has been buried for a long time.

List Item: Try as many of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die as possibleFood item: Salep Ice Cream
Progress: 753/1001

We had a bit of a walk between the Roman Agora and our final site of the day. A walk which took us down some busy shopping streets and gave us the chance to cross off some ice cream. Salep ice cream has a number of names, which has made the hunt confusing. The Turks call it dondurma and the Greeks call it kaimaki. If I did not know this piece of information, I would never have found it today. The key feature of this ice cream is texture, which is like regular ice cream infused with an almost marshmallow-like stretch and chew. I really did like this ice cream and it makes me want to see if they have different flavours elsewhere.

So we ended the day at the Lykeion, which was the most far flung of the sites on our ticket. It is also the flattest as pretty much nothing behind the foundations have survived to this day. We didn’t get a whole lot of time here as it was 20 minutes before closing, but we probably got as much out of it as we could. Still interesting to beamong history, even if it wasn’t entirely visible.

List Item: Try as many of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die as possibleFood item: Loukanika
Progress: 754/1001

For dinner, I found a place just around the corner from the apartment called Katsourbos. It was pretty high on Tripadvisor and apparently specialised in Cretan food. I guess that this sausage, which is meant to found all over Greece, can also be found there. Now, I have had a lot of different sausages for this food list, but this Greek sausage (smoked and flavoured with honey, herbs and citrus) is truly something else. Sure is nicer than both of the sausages from the French box and it gives the Cumberland sausage a run for its money. Something tells me this will not be the only time I eat this before I leave Greece.

My main was liver with skin-on fries and a honey-balsamic sauce. I didn’t get this for the liver, I got this because the sauce sounded really interesting. Man, this really was a great sauce. I hope that I’ll find a recipe to replicate this as it feels like of those that could go well with a lot of different foods.

I probably should have finished writing up hours ago as it is an early start tomorrow. How early, well we need to incorporate a 5 hour train ride. Wish me luck!