I had originally planned to go to Cape Sounion yesterday (as I mentioned previously). Plans do change however and when I woke up yesterday morning I just did not have it in me to spend 4 hours on a bus again after I’d spent 6 on a bus the day before. I decided to take a “zero” day (as Eddie calls them) and make sure I had everything in order for my Paris departure today. Eddie convinced me to go and treat myself to lunch somewhere and so at noon I set out to find a restaurant that wasn’t too expensive.
I had looked up a few restaurants on letsgo.com and marked them on my map. I set out to find the closest one to my hostel only to discover that the address was an abandoned building. Hmm. I decided to walk down to the Acropolis where I knew there were a lot of restaurant options (probably not the cheapest, but easy to access none the less). I stopped to look at a menu at one restaurant and the maitre-d (or whatever you call the guy who stands by the menu and tries to bring business into the restaurant) talked me into eating there and having rooster with pasta.
I decided to have some wine with my meal since I hadn’t splurged on alcohol in several weeks and figured, why not, it’s my last meal in Greece. : -D Also, since I had nowhere to be I wanted to just sit and enjoy the scene around me. My meal was very delicious and very filling. I also ate all of the bread they gave me (because they charge you for it). The glass of wine was really more like two glasses of wine – which was fine by me, but just a surprise. All in all the meal was 13 Euro – which doesn’t seem like much until you realize that it’s about $21. I never spend that much on myself at a restaurant!
After my meal I decided to slowly walk back to my hostel and browse some of the market shops on my way. I passed a store that had items from the island of Lesvos – one of the places I had planned to go but it didn’t work out. My host in Thessaloniki had told me that they have good olive oil there so I thought I’d check it out. I was standing at the oil section comparing varieties when an older gentleman asked me a question (in Greek of course). I gave my usual blank stare and asked, “English?” He chuckled and explained that he did not have his glasses and could not read the price on the large tin of oil. I told him the various prices and then he asked where I was from.
I have learned to start with a broad answer to this question as Seattle is not as easily recognized as New York – but more often than not people have at least heard of it even if they don’t know where it is in the US. So I told this man I was from the US and he asked which state, so I told him. He asked where and I said the Seattle area. He seemed surprised by this but then said that we were neighbors. I first thought he was referring to the Olympia connection (as the jeweler from Olympia had done), but then he explained he was from Seattle and asked which neighborhood in lived in. I said Ballard and he responded “You may know my restaurant!” I asked which one and he said that his name was Costas and he owned Costas Opa in Fremont.
I wasn’t really sure what to say because Costas Opa is a restaurant that I enjoy and have been to many times. I didn’t tell him that I also enjoy Olive You in Greenwood because that just seemed mean. We started chatting about olive oil and Seattle and a few other things and he said that he would like to treat me to lunch. Unfortunately I was already stuffed from my rather large meal but told him that I’d be happy to go for a drink of some kind.
So after I bought my oil we set off and found a shabby looking little diner off of the main street. He ordered some Retsina (don’t worry Mom, it was actually quite good) and a souvlaki plate for himself. When it arrived he informed me that I was going to have to help him eat the food, which I did some, but man was I full! We sat and chatted for a little over an hour and then he said that he needed to continue his shopping and errands for the day, but that he’d like to meet up later for sweets. I gave him my hostel information and he said he’d come by after a few hours.
He made it to my hostel around 7:30 or so and we went off to Omonia square and found some dessert and chatted for a few more hours. He gave me a brief Greek history lesson as well as helped improve my Greek vocabulary by at least one more word. It was fun to talk with someone from Seattle and I can’t believe the random connection and that we even bumped into each other. I told him I’d come by the restaurant sometime and say hello. I told him I’d tell the waitress to let him know Ann from Athens was there. : )
Anyway, yesterday was a good day. I ate way too much, drank some good wine, and went into a sugar coma. Today the agenda consists of traveling to Paris. I am currently at the airport waiting for my flight to begin boarding (in about 45 minutes) and will soon be on my way to France. I look forward to coming back to Greece again. I am sure that it will happen and there are already things on my list that I want to do the next time around. I have learned a lot (especially about the bus and train system) and think that renting a car is definitely the way to go. It may be a little more expensive but it’s much less of a hassle.
So, avtío Greece and bonjour France!