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Arriving in Athens

by Tara

We arrived bright and early in Piraeus, exited the ship with ease and head out for a morning ride to Athens. Thankfully it was Sunday, and early enough so that traffic hadn't picked up.

Piraeus Port Ferry View

We rode past markets of gypsies selling various and sundry items, and made our way to Sergei and Miwa's (members of the cycle touring hospitality club, www.warmshowers.org) apartment. When we arrived at their door, it was not yet 8:00 so we milled around for a bit, bought some pastries as a gift for them, and finally rang the doorbell.

We were treated with a very kind, very funny welcome from our hosts, and settled into the guest room. Miwa and Sergei are private, home-based language teachers and they worked much of the day while encouraging us to explore the city. And so we did.

Athens Window

We walked around, intending to visit the Acropolis (free on Mondays) before it closed at 2:30, but decided against it because we felt rushed. We hate feeling rushed. Instead, we wandered around taking photos and people-watching.

Ambling along, we turned a corner and saw a line of police blocking off the street, decked out in full riot gear. Thankfully there was no riot and they weren't using any of their equipment, but simply watching a rally about Islam. We weren't sure what was going on, but we stopped a friendly marcher from Pakistan and he explained that they were commemorating the death of Mohammed.

Islam Rally in Athens

We still didn't really understand what it was all about since the signs were in Greek, but my favorite was a small, hand-written poster on a piece of cardboard that read simply, "Islam is a religion of loving kindness". Cool! Unfortunately we didn't get a photo of it.

Islam Protest in Athens Islam Protest in Athens

After the excitement of the rally, we opted for more relaxing pastimes, like listening to music and enjoying the colorful murals and graffiti decorating walls around the city before heading back "home."

Buskers Graffiti

Tomorrow, we mail our passports to the US (yikes) to finalize our Russian visas!