Sunday, October 25, 2009

Where have I been?

...traveling back to America (via Paris) with little opportunity to blog. The internet is down at my house (grrrr...) so I'll do my best to get up to date early this week.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Greece - Day 3 - Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I worked in the morning and then went with Molly, Tom and Lisa to lunch. I had lamb (again, so good) and we all had bites of Tom's spanakopita - it was the  best I've had so far.

There are street vendors all over Athens selling a variety of food - these baked goods seemed quite popular so Molly got one. They're not nearly as good as they look...

Molly, Mary, Lisa and I spent the afternoon at the Temple of Poseidon. The weather was perfect and we had a great tour guide - I took a lot of pictures but great sunlight makes me do it.

On our way back to the hotel we stopped to watch the changing of the guards at the parliament building. I had heard that it was a very goofing looking process and didn't really believe it. When I watched it I couldn't help but laugh inside! They shuffle with one leg, keep the other straight and have pom poms on their shoes.

We met before dinner for drinks in the GB restaurant on the 8th floor of the hotel. It was sunset and the view was breathtaking.

It was Tom's birthday so he got to choose the restaurant. We went to a popular neighborhood called Gazi. On one side of the street there are clubs and loud restaurants, on the other side are quiet cafes; it's quite the juxtaposition. We had dinner at a little restaurant that served all kinds of good food. I had spaghetti carbonara (I gave up turning over a new leaf for this week) and it was delicious but very heavy. There is a heavy Italian influence in the food here and while I held off for a while eventually the carbs called my name.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Greece - Day 2 - Monday, October 19, 2009

Spent the majority of the day working in meetings like this:

I like industry conferences because they open my eyes and mind in many ways. This one is especially that way.

Monday night we went to a Byzantine castle for dinner and entertainment. I have to steal pictures of the AMAZING building from Lisa, but here's what we ate.

After dinner we went with Tom and Lisa to the Garden Roof, a restaurant on the eigth floor of the Hotel Grande Bretagne.

We had dessert, which was good, but not amazing like the gelato from day 1.

The views of the Acropolis from the restaurant are breathtaking. Athens is interesting in that most of it is incredibly unattractive (think grafitti, dirt and garbage covering almost everything) but there are parts of it that literally make me gasp at their beauty. The Acropolis at night is one of those things.

My life as a musical

I wish real life was a musical - it would make day to day tasks a lot more fun. When I came across this on Color Me Katie I couldn't help but smile.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Greece - Day 1 - Sunday, October 18, 2009

After checking into our hotel we checked out all of its goodies - including the great view from the balcony. The Hotel Grande Bretagne is the nicest hotel in Athens and is set in the center of the business district. The city is alive at all hours of the night so there's never a lack of entertainment.

From our balcony we can see the parliament building. It's beautiful at night and during the day we can (barely) see the changing of the guards.

Our room is very nice but also very small. Thinking the beds could accomodate 2 people each we only asked for a 2 bed room - when we checked in we found out a rollaway would be necessary.

After freshening up we went for a walk through the plaka in search of dinner. In the older parts of the city the streets are cobblestone, narrow and lined with shops and restaurants. The people are very friendly and many speak English which was incredibly helpful as we tried to find something to eat.

We went up a cute section of street that seemed to have a restaurant on every "level." The Acropolis was (way) above us and the atmosphere was amazing. The weather has been in the low 70s and clear so our first night was the perfect introduction to Athens.

A blurry picture but proof that we were all there.

I have no idea of the name of the restaurant where we ate but to be honest I'm not sure I could find it again if I had to given the crazy street structure in Athens. We started with a tomato salad...

and cheese pies.

Molly had spaghetti and meatballs. Italian, yes, but done Greek style and quite tasty.

I had lamb - and it was AMAZING. No seriously. I picked every bit of it off the bone.

Mary had chicken souvlaki.

After dinner we explored more of the plaka. The Greek people eat dinner quite late and so they were still out and about.

We found a gelato shop and Molly and I both got chocolate. Molly was especially excited about hers.

On our path from the hotel to the plaka there is a cathedral in the middle of the intersection of 2 roads. It's quite old and beautiful. When we went down to the plaka there was a huge crowd watching what seemed to be an opera being performed.

This is one of the roads that forms the intersection where the cathedral is. In this picture the cathedral is behind me. Athens is full of very modern buildings directly next to historical sites. It's fascinating and makes exploring the city more exciting.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Greece - the trip over - October 17-18, 2009

Saturday morning was spent running errands, packing and generally stressing about the trip. I visited Liv and she joined me for a couple of errands before Mary and I headed to the airport.We met up with Alex and Molly and then started our adventure.

The flight to Paris was not nearly as bad as I had anticipated. It was 9 and a half hours but between eating 2 meals and trying to sleep time passed quickly. I sat next to a nice man that seems to be an archaeologist and an accountant (I didn't ask). He lives in Athens 5 months out of the year so he had a lot of helpful information about where to eat, the culture, etc.

Dinner started with warm nuts and a ginger ale (my travel beverage of choice)...

which were followed by a spinach salad, curry soup and veggies with something that might have been hummus but my stomach didn't want me to try it.

Main course was beef and chicken with some veggies. The chicken was ok but again, my stomach wasn't having the beef.

Dessert was a fruit and cheese plate - something my stomach welcomed.

After dinner I took a sleeping pill and made it my business to sleep as much as possible. I wasn't exactly successful thanks to general discomfort, the snoring man next to me and my seatmate who was laughing hysterically at The Proposal but before I knew it we were eating breakfast.

dark picture due to dark plane

Just after breakfast we landed in Paris. Our layover was short so we hurried through the airport, I spoke French to a guy at the Air France desk, and then we waited in line to board our flight to Athens. On this flight we also had a meal but the food was foreign and definitely not tasty.

The flight was just over 2 hours and the scenery was beautiful. It was easy to see the Greek islands, beautiful  blue water, and cute little towns.