Success is waking up before the front desk calls you to make sure you don’t miss breakfast. Success might not be drinking an Amstel after breakfast because leaving it behind in your hotel room refrigerator would be wasteful.
We began our walking tour from the post office (an expensive adventure I’ve finally come to terms with), making our way to the furthest point where the Lonely Planet walking tour began.
“Don’t look to your right.” Andrew demanded, as he held up his hands to shield my view.
“Is it on the walking tour?” I asked, already trying to look.
“Yes! Don’t look!” He insisted.
We made our way up the hill to the Kastra, basically a fortification of the city in ancient times. It provided an exceptional view of the city, and the sea below. There were a few chambers inside that you could climb up and read about the history of the walls and entrances. One room featured a lock and pulley gate system that would trap unwanted visitors below. The same room also had a couple “murder holes” which they would pour boiling water on the captors below. Andrew declared he would like a few murder holes of his own just so he can be like “Yea, this is my murder hole.”
We walked to a monastery, and then to a couple of churches. One monastery had a huge cage of peacocks outside. I counted at least thirty. I recognized their wails before we knew what kind of bird they were. Andrew rolled his eyes, but I was proud of myself and told him of my Grandmother’s neighbors who had a few peacocks when I was growing up. Aside from the outdoor cage of peacocks, everything else was closed.
To be fair, Lonely Planet advised to start the tour at nine. We started it at two.
We were able to go into The Church of Hagios Demetrios and walk through the crypt that was surprisingly not creepy at all. It’s pretty impressive, but what struck me more was the idea of a time when Christianity was illegal and its followers worshipped underground (in the crypt) in secret. Every Friday you can partake in a mass in the crypt at the church to get a feel for what those times would have been like. I expected it to be dark and a little bit morbid, but it was well lit and comforting in a way. More comforting than what seemed cold in comparison upstairs.
Then, not on the tour, but along the way was an old building that was either a mosque or a building that accompanied the mosque. (The security guard didn’t speak English and our Greek isn’t exactly up to par.) It was rather beautiful nonetheless and somewhat surprising that it stood in pretty good condition, but not being used, or so it seemed to us.
By the time we made it down to the same point where Andrew previously insisted I couldn’t look, I was tired. Cobblestoned hills, flip-flops, and a bum ankle don’t exactly go together and I was ready to sit down. And so we did, first for a snack that ended up being one of the more epic salads (aside from another pretty great one in India) of this trip and then later for a Greek coffee. I saw them everywhere during our walking tour. Glasses of what I expected to be foamy coffee goodness. It was just as good as I expected it to be.
And with a seemingly amazing combination of sugar and caffeine, it has kept me awake until now, 2:53 am, typing away on our overnight train to Athens. I may as well stay up until we arrive in the Greek capital in two short hours. What is it with these overnight buses and trains keeping all of the lights on during the night though? Why hasn’t someone introduced night-lights to these overnighters? Is it so no one misses their stop? The Turkish buses had attendants with everyone’s departure written down and they seemed to personally warn you when it was your turn to jump ship, er, bus. I guess the trains are too big to deal with that, at least in our class it was.