Saturday, March 19, 2011

Holiday to UK and Athens

Hello everyone, I know I know, it's been ages since I posted. I haven't been able to get organised since my return from holiday - mainly because the weather's been good and I've been gardening most days. Plus I had another rag doll to make for my son in law's Goddaughter! Now it's finished. I'll try not to make this too long...


First up was a trip to Worthing, Sussex, where we stayed until we flew out to Athens. I did take a few Sonny photos! Here are just a couple. He is such a charmer but mum Jenny says he has turned into a toddler overnight with his behaviour!

He is such a character. He now does a 'smile' on demand for photos - it's very funny:

I spent quite a time taking photos around Worthing as the sun set. Here's a couple of them.

Worthing Beach and Pier in the warming evening sun

Beach huts and the promenade. Joggers going home.

The trip to Athens, as I've mentioned previously, was to celebrate Jim's 65th birthday. Jim has been twice before and it was his choice, whereas I have never been there. On the whole the weather was OK - a cold wind sometimes blew in exposed places and on the last day it tried to snow! But we had our fare share of sunshine and wrapped up warm.

The Acropolis from our hotel balcony. What a view! The hotel was quite central and just what we wanted. I'd recommend it. It has a roof garden, where I took the same view at night:

The streets around our hotel were really busy and bustling with life. Street sellers were on every corner. There were the newspaper and sweet stalls, the ones selling gloves, hats and scarves (they did a good trade) and the fabulous ones selling bread and huge iced doughnuts and Danish pastry type things. They were really cheap too.

This stand was in the square near us every day, selling strong Greek coffee. You can just see the brass urn in front of the bald chap walking past.

We saw colourful market stalls:

And a horrid smelly fish market full of my most hated food! Also a huge meat market with lots of 'heads' for sale. I did take a photo but won't post it here!

Lots of lovely Churches:

(this was taken from our hotel window).

This one was actually a mini church where ladies sold 'God' things, statues, etc.

Many many ruins!

The huge amphitheatre below the Acropolis.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus

And a close up of the pillars:

The weekend we were there was carnival time so we saw lots of people dressed in strange garb. At one point we met a whole group of cyclists all dressed up and holding up all the bad tempered car drivers!

We had a meal in a different taverna each night. The first one (recommended in Jim's super Athens book) was amazing. It was run by a young couple and the meat was cooked in traditional large metal containers. The menu was all in Greek so the couple took us to see all the food and made recommendations. It was all delicious. A group of mostly men was on the other side and one of them played an instrument like a dulcimer and also sang. He was very good. The owners suggested we move over to sit by them, which we did. Another 2 chaps fetched guitar type instruments and we were royally entertained for a long, lovely evening. We did get a bit smoked out - even though smoking is officially banned in public places - many Greeks don't take any notice.

The star player.

Jim's Birthday

On the eve of Jim's birthday we tried a restaurant off the main square. It was fast, full and great fun and decorated for the carnival. We sat for a long while and a large party of Greeks came in but couldn't all fit around the table. We moved so that they could all squash together and received a bottle of wine for our trouble. At just gone midnight I went to the head of the large gathering and asked if they could sing 'Happy Birthday' in English. I started it and everyone joined in. Jim was chuffed to pieces! The waiter then brought us a couple of shorts - and the bottle (40% proof). A few minutes later the waiter again appeared with a cake and a candle (purchased from Starbucks down the road) and we had the whole 'Happy Birthday' again! It was excellent - a perfect birthday celebration for Jim.

The waiter with cake and candle! The table behind joined in our celebrations!

Jim and me on his birthday.

One of the things we noticed about Athens was the amount of graffiti. It was everywhere and a real eyesore. Also the lack of money with many houses in a very bad state of repair.

Now I have picked some of my favourites! I loved the stuff by 'Sonya', the black and white but as you can see, most of it was just the usual rubbish. It's a problem they really need to solve. Even some of the statues had it on them.

I'm going to make a Facebook album of all my photos a there are many many more! Do pop over if you have time. I'll pop a link on later.

All in all it was a great holiday and I loved Athens. Jim had a super time too, which was the most important thing.