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Athens Trip – Day 1

I’m back from Athens! What a busy five days we had there-from one day cruising to going from Piraeus to Voula (both ends of Athens), meeting the chairman of Olympiacos FC, the football club of Athens at the home stadium of Georgios Karaiskakis and going on a one day cruise to the three islands: Hydra, Póros and Aegina. I’ll also be releasing a guide to Athens and its surroundings after finishing off the five days, telling you all about good restaurants or shops, places to see, how to organise your times efficiently to make the most of your stay and things to look out for, so stay tuned! (Or…reading?!)

Take off

After going through Fast Track at Heathrow Terminal 5 and buying an ‘Italiano baguette’ at the Expresso shop in the corner (they had basil monin, lovely) we got on a BA direct flight to Athens, taking around 3 hours. Lunch was macaroni with bacon and mushrooms as well as some bath ovals with cheese and a ginger cake that tasted foul. On the flight I didn’t too much, read a bit of Wheel of Time: Eye of the World-I’m reading it again, because the story is just so complex and drew some of the snow-peaked mountains below into my chocolate draw-pad (thanks Cecily for that lovely SS gift). When we arrived at Eleftherios Venizelos, Athens’ international airport, we got a taxi and drove through the winding regions of Attica to the central part of Athens, and got off at the Herodion Hotel, with stunning views of the Acropolis and being a five minute walk from the new Acropolis museum, as well as having train, tram and bus services all nearby. However we only had enough time to dump our bags in our shoddy-looking first floor rooms not overlooking the Acropolis, but instead the noisy and rather dilapidated street in the opposite direction before we got back in our taxi and travelled to the Karaiskakis Stadium, the home stadium for Olympiacos FC, which sports the red and white colours.

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Air New Zealands amazing Hobbit limited design as advertising for the final instalment, The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies, which I have already wrote about and thrown around a little

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Lews on the plane, watching some Brooklyn-Nine-Nine.

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Look at this little light distortion!

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Clockwise from top-left: Decantae water in the tea cup, Butler’s Secret fine mature cheddar with Fine English bath ovals, seeded bread with butter, a small ginger sponge cake and macaroni and cauliflower cheese with bacon and mushrooms as the main dish. It was pretty good actually.

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Inside the main dish.

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The Mountains which I used to draw as my first installation inside my chocolate draw-pad. My geography’s not great (I spent the majority of my life believing Greece was somewhere near Italy, because you know, Rome conquered Greece and all?…you know, I should just shut up.) so if anything could tell me/us all which mountain ranges these are I would be very, very thankful.

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I see Athens is getting themselves ready for the festive celebrations!

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I loved this mosaic pattern so much I decided to share the world with it. Sorry that it’s a little blurred, I was in a rush to make sure the officials didn’t think I was doing anything classified or prohibited.

Olympiacos FC

Arriving a little late we met up with the chairman of Olympiacos himself, organised by one of our special friends, and got a special VIP sea, not that it was much better than the regular seats-unlike the UK there were no boxes and thus there were more people around us. The boxes instead were used for the team managers etc. By the time we got there it was nearly half time, but luckily we managed to see Olympiacos score against Panionios, making the score 1-0. At half time we went to eat at the special VIP buffet, called V’ammos, and had our Greek styled dinner-beef patty, chicken, Caesar salad, a distasteful form of paella with spinach and cheese, literal cheeses, boiled and skinned potatoes and a chocolate cake with strawberries and kiwi as a dessert (Lews will be doing the food reviews, I will just be doing the trip itself and the guide to Athens). We then watched the second half of the match and scored another goal, making the final score 2-0. Celebrating and wearing a red and white Olympiacos scarf (I was never really part of a team, I always said Manchester United but who knows?) along with a heavy bag full of Olympiacos goodies-a heavy 2014 booklet all about Olympiacos FC and its history, another red and white scarf and a personally signed t-shirt by six of the teams members! (We could tell since the pen marker had gone through to the other side)

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The outside view of the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, decorated with illuminated Christmas tree.

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The extreme supporters after the first goal had been scored, waving flares around which caused the whole stadium to become some kind of smoke-sauna, and hanging paparazzi posters all over the rims of the playing field where the teams were matching against each other. They had also found a drummer from someplace who was starting up loud march-like tunes.

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The match from the VIP seats.

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The food we had at V’ammos. Charlie’s plate is opposite mine-sorry again for blurred image!

The Herodion Hotel

The Herodion Hotel has a beautiful surrounding-as long as you’re looking the right way, which we weren’t having booked online with a travel agency just a couple of days before the actual trip-so we got a shoddy first floor room where the bin didn’t work, the shower hose sprayed everywhere and made the toilet floor a bath, the door didn’t actually shut properly and your foot would be squashed if you were getting your shoes/coats/bags on since the door would just wham straight into it, not to mention the slightly distracting noise coming from outside the window and the street beyond, although this seemed to greatly annoy my brother a lot more than it did for me (I don’t really recall the noise-I was too busy watching The Day After Tomorrow. Freaky.) For those who are wondering, this is room 109. However it was far too late to change rooms so we instead went upstairs to the fifth floor, the rooftop gardens.

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Is it an apple? Is it a lime? No seriously-it’s a lime, just much much bigger than the ones we have back here in drizzly old England.

The quiet trickling of water fountains filled the air and there were large limes hanging abundantly on little trees beside the spouts, looking almost like apples in their size. Downstairs there was another garden, this time roofed with wooden frames and vines entangled all over it. There were more fountains at the end surrounded by olive, orange and lime trees. A small step-in shower which really just clouded you in water vapour for two minutes was placed inbetween the trees and fountains. Why? Because walking to the next room right next to it were two Jacuzzis, sheltered from rain by a hanging wooden bier on top each one. The lights inside flickered all colours of the spectrum, bubbling slightly. From the Jacuzzis one could have a lovely view of the looming Acropolis above, shining bright atop the night sky. The new Acropolis Museum could also be viewed from the rooftop garden, lights still on making it almost an eerie sight, but you’ll need an excellent camera that can work with almost no light whilst zooming quite far in.

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Olive trees and peonies (probably?) in a little copse after the small trickly fountains.

Eventually we called it a day and headed back to our deformed rooms, where I made some English Breakfast tea for myself and some Green tea for my brother Charlie. I drew up the sigil of Olympiacos FC for my second instalment into my chocolate draw-pad then went to sleep.

News and Announcements

Merry late Christmas everyone! Hope you all had a lovely time, wherever you were and whoever you were with! But before 2015 starts, let’s just all take a moment to remember the 250,000 killed in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that shocked the whole world. 14 countries were hit in just a few hours, destroying buildings, flooding the land and sweeping away thousands of people, many children on holiday with their parents, to their deaths. Drowning is probably one of the worst ways to die, and this was just a reminder of how fragile our lives really are, no matter how invincible we think we can be.

Moving away from that sad note, I’ll be posting a remembrance post of what big things happened in 2014. If I miss anything don’t be afraid to tell me when, where and what either on the comments below on with a private message at amy.r.jiang@gmail.com. Thanks!

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To never forget

That day.

Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami

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