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More Souvlaki Than You Can Shake A Skewer At

I tell ya, I’ve just about had it up to here…

…with gyros! Yet no matter what we do, we just can’t stop eating them!

Maybe it’s something in the Greek beer Mythos…

…or just maybe it has something to do with all the awesome people we’ve met in Greece that always want to take us to their favorite pita palace.

Whatever it is, we just can’t stop eating them. They are so damn delicious! We’ve had souvlaki 4 times in the last 2 days. It’s making us crazy I tell ya!

And don’t even get me started on the tzatziki sauce. Oy vey!

It’s Friday, You Ain’t Got Nothing To Do… Let’s Go To High City

Just continuing with my tradition of naming blog posts after movie references. Of course when I say “High City” I mean The Acropolis of Athens. And don’t you dare call it “The Acropolis” as there are many other acropoleis in Greece.

This morning we met up with our tour guide Despina at The Parliament Building.

We arrived just in time to watch the goofy changing of the guards routine.

Or was it the changing of the goofy guards?

Either way, it was quite humorous to see just how serious they were, prancing around in kilts and stomping their pom-pom tipped shoes on the ground.

Despina talked a lot about some of the ancient history as well as modern history of the Greek civilizations, including how the newer subway lines that were put in place for the 2004 Olympics had to be diverted due to new archeological finds. Everywhere you look in the city you’ll find old artifacts from thousands of years ago.

In most cities these artifacts would be quickly scooped up and placed safely away in a museum where no humans could touch/ruin them. Here in Athens however it seems as if they have such an abundant supply of these artifacts that they are on every corner without any protection from people at all. They have more marble then they know what to do with.

Apparently the Christians found something to do with it all. According to Despina they would tear monuments down and use the marble to build their churches up. Yet another strike against organized religion. She went on to explain the fundamentals of the Pagan religion which actually seemed quite civilized. In paganism gods where regular people and there was no such thing as sinning or asking for forgiveness because the gods (again, regular people) would make the same mistakes as everyone else. None of this mystery man in the sky mumbo jumbo.

Anyways, enough of my preaching. Let’s get back to the tour…

Around the corner from the orthodox church was a sponsorship monument, The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates. That’s right, the ancient Greeks were the inventors of modern day advertising!

Moving further up along the ancient road we encountered The Theatre of Dionysus which was a major open air theater right at the foot of Acropolis.

The theater could seat as many as 17,000 people and included special VIP seating for some dignitaries with their names engraved in the seats!

Later on the Romans came along and ruined the theater and turned it into a fountain for their toy boats. Jerks!

Next up was the uber-cool Odeon of Herodes Atticus.

This amphitheater could only hold a paltry 5,000 people. Psht! It is actually still in use today (with rebuilt seating) for major concerts.

After fighting off the packs of wild sleeping dogs…

…and the packs of wild fat tourists coming in off of their cruise line, we reached the entrance to The Acropolis, and feasted our eyes on the Parthenon!

The great temple of the Greek goddess Athena…

…and the Dutch god Jasona!

Also on The Acropolis is The Erechtheum, an ancient Greek temple built in the honor of the legendary king Erechtheus, who is said to have been buried nearby.

In front of the temple is The Sacred Olive Tree of Athena…

…that sprouted when Athena struck a rock with her spear in her successful rivalry with Poseidon for the city.

Sacred Shamcred. We’re hungry! We want olives!

Ohh lookie here! A sacred olive.

Jay thinks it was spoiled but I’m sure it must have bestowed some magical powers upon him.

Before leaving The Acropolis, Despina pointed out Areopagus or the ‘Hill of Ares’

which is where democracy was first born when a radical politician named Cleisthenes took charge after an army from Sparta overthrew a dictatorship. Way cool!

Also off in the distance we could see some still standing ruins of ancient Angora.

Of course we just had to explore that too!

After all that walking we were beat…

…so on the way back to the hotel we swung by The Library of Hadrian…

…to check out a couple books to read while we rested up for tomorrows adventures.

Change Of Plans

We were originally supposed to leave Egypt tomorrow.
We were originally supposed to stowaway on a boat from Port Said to the Greek islands.
It’s a good thing we are nimble with a flexible schedule.

After further research online and talking to some locals about how to best catch a boat out of Cairo, our original plans turned out to be unfeasible. So instead we are leaving Cairo today via plane to Athens.

For all you keen eyed readers, you can probably already tell from the clues in this photo that it’s a travel day. Besides the more obvious clue that Jay is standing by a sign that says Cairo Airport, he’s also wearing his official travel day uniform.

Throughout the entire city of Cairo there is no shortage of uniformed armed guards. However they don’t exactly instill a feeling of safety. Many times they are passed out at their post in the hot sun. Other times they are standing around scratching themselves or picking their nose. You might expect the security teams at the airport to be a little more on their toes. That wasn’t the case at all. You see, we didn’t have any printed tickets or boarding passes (we booked online and don’t have a printer).  Like most airports, in order to get through the security check they want to see your tickets. The problem is the ticket counters at the airport are AFTER you walk through “security.” So what does the guard do? He lets us walk right through security without tickets. And we were each carrying giant 1.5 liter bottles of potentially explosive H2O! I’m pretty sure the guy monitoring the x-ray machine screen was using a braille keyboard too.

In defense of the Egyptian security forces, the Kuwaiti team didn’t look much more alert either. If you look closely, there is a guy sleeping in the back of this military vehicle.

Don’t ask me why they even have a presence at the Cairo airport.

This is the first time I’ve been in a high-winged plane that I wasn’t flying myself. The Avro RJ-100 is a pretty small plane, but it still offers some pretty cool views of Cairo and the surrounding desert.

And the best feature of all… it lands safely!

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