A Pint of Guiness and a Bucket of Prawns – Athens part one
Some days are like a firework display, nothing much happens for a long time then all at once the spectacular occurs. The day we arrived in Athens from Samos was such a day.
Leaving the tranquil lifestyle of the island to return to a more frenetic one is always difficult, but even more so when catching a night ferry to Athens, full of barking, defecating dogs and verbose Athenians. Docking at 2.00am there is a good 10 hour wait before check in . More than enough time to reflect on just why you have left and consider jumping on the next ferry back.
After drinking copious cups of coffee wrapped up in a blanket and waiting the night out we headed off at the earliest respectable time for the hotel to drop our luggage. Although staff were kind enough to let us check in earlier ie 10.30am, we still had 3 hours to kill and after another coffee plus donut we made for the nearest free park bench to crash out.
Now this is when day, which began on such a downer, started to get interesting. As the minutes ticked by a number of men entered the park individually and sat down. Most were shabbily dressed, old and walked with an aid. They appeared to know each other. The first sign that this could be the local meeting place for the homeless, was when one of them walked past us, picked up a half cut plastic bottle container on the ground filled with water for dogs, stripped off to the waist, fished out some soap from a small plastic bag he’d hung on a tree and proceeded to have a wash. I turned away to give him some privacy which, on reflection, was ridiculous considering there was a queue of people waiting for a bus not 5 meters away from him with a bird’s eye view.
“If he takes his trousers off” I said to Mitch gathering my stuff together “I’m out of here”.
Luckily he didn’t so I slumped back down and assumed the position of one who hasn’t slept for 24 hours. Just as I was about to doze off along comes another gentleman, a bit more nattily dressed than the rest. He poked around in the trimmed tree in front of me, pulling apart branches and peering into its depths. Finally he put in his hand and pulled out a folded brown bag which he took and then sat down with his compatriots. Ten minutes later, after I had conjured up all sorts of wild notions about drugs and drop points, he was at it again with his posse. All three of them started to hunt in the small bush and finally just as he said “ Its not here” from the inner depths of the bush his friend pulled out a white plastic bag then dipped his hand back in and produced a pair of yellow trainers. Kris Kringle Tree or a lucky dip I thought to myself in delight.
Kris Kringle bush – spot the yellow trainers 🙂
Once checked in and after a good sleep we headed into the old part of Athens to seek out the Jessie James pub for a cold pint of Guinness and a bucket of prawns before walking around the ruins of the Parthenon and this is when the finale of the fire works began but that is a story for my next post .