Friday, November 16, 2007

13th October, 2007

We discovered last night while booking our wakeup call that we have nowhere to stay on the night of Michael's birthday. Our travel agent stuffs it up again. Next time we must check her stuff very carefully. This is twice she has us with no accommodation. We will try to extend the booking today.

My tallons screppolati (cracked heels, according to the label on the foot cream I bought) are dong much better on assiduous application of both the screpper and the crema. My feet are bearing up under the strain.

It was an early start for us, 6 am. Tony was coming to get us at 8 am for our half day trip to Marathon.

We breakfasted (plain yoghurt, honey, banana, grapes - yum!). Tony appeared on the dot of 8 (so much for the myths of Greeks being late for appointments - he was on time every time) and it was rather nice to be driven around! Our first stop was the funeral tumulus of the 192 slain at the Battle of Marathon, and a commemorative white marble pylon. We walked around the mound.

It was quiet, butterflies flitted, and the air smelled damp and resinous and rich and loamy. A glorious early morning. The Plain of Marathon is fertile and we saw crops such as eggplant and cabbage.

From there we drove down little country roads, and drew up at a big shed, or hangar, sheltering a site of some 3,000 BC graves. Bones still visible.

Next stop was the small but lovely Museum of Marathon, which had a very nice range of antiquities, from Neanderthal on. There were two very engaging puppies very pleased to have some pats and attention. There were also some ancient graves. Tony offered to take us on to Ramnous where the Temple of Nemesis stood. Again, it was down country roads through small villages, and when we got there it was so quiet and peaceful. There was no noise except the buzz of flies, us, and chirping birds. We looked out over the sea, and it must have looked like this centuries ago.

Here are Tony and Kate

Time to return to Athens, through the suburbs. Tony stopped briefly at one of his favourite Macedonian bakeries and shouted us a pastry. Delicious. It appeased the ravening pangs of hunger (briefly). We returned to the hotel very briefly then set out on foot to search for a tie shop Michael had spied. The search for a Greek tie continues. We found the shop but it was one we'd seen before, full of It6alian ties. We pressed on to find the fruit and veg market. Noisy, bustling. Not a huge amount of variety - we feel lucky in our choice and quality. It is romantic to see this kind of market but it would wear thin every week. The tomatoes looked divine, though. Getting hungry. Bought a Herald Tribune and opted for the Hermion taverna for our main meal of the day. Lamb chops and grilled veg for me, whole silver dory for M. It was a lot of food, and hit all spots. After lunch we decided to add more steps and walked around past the New Acropolis Museum to the Theatre of Dionysius. Alas, the part Michael wanted to visit was closed, as the big cranes are in place there for the moving of treasures from the old museum to the new. We did clamber over stones and took photos.

Ah, I should say that Michael was able to book us to another hotel - the Jason Prime in Omonia, for our Sunday night here before our very early start off to Milos on Monday morning. His birthday hotel! We discussed all this with Tony.

Returned to the Hotel Adrian for a bit of a lie down. Managed a respectable 14,000 + steps despite having been driven around all day. A brief snooze does help. We need to pack to leave some stuff here and take some to Milos. Tomorrow is our day trip to Delphi and Monday morning our ferry departs at 7.30 am. It is all go around here! 14,898 steps. I recalibrated weight and stride length this morning so this now represents 7.59 kms and 592 calories. I think we had been overestimating the kms and underestimating the cals.

Pretty amazing to use the cell phone to call the reservation desk of the hotel company from the front of the Marathon Museum while Katester patted the puppies. I took snaps here and there. Plan is to check out of the ADrian Hotel tomorrow morning and leave two bags here for our return. When Tony collects us tomorrow we take our island bags with us. Then at the end he drops us at the Jason Prime, not the Adrian, and he collects us Monday morning from the Jason Prime (which I should call - got to get the number - to double check the reservation and tell them we won't be there until 6 pm, say.) In addition Tony also pointed out the burial tumulus of the Plataeans, the Athenian allies, near the museum. It is behind a fence but utherwise unmarked or unremarked. I decided to replace the Tokyo owl dangly on my camera with something more durable. The wear and tear of going in and out of my pocket pulled one of the owl's ears out. I packed the owl away with the Kyklades head. (we saw some of these figures in the Marathon Museum.) I got one of the Greek blue eyes to string onto my camera.

I am amused when Tony the Taxi Driver talks about going to see the Tubes. I think that is Greek for Tombs!

We got organised for the day trip tomorrow, the shift to the Jason Prime Hotel, and thne on Monday morning to head to Milos via ferry.

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