Mark & Linda's Tzatziki Tour of Greece, October 2017.
Athens & Sounion, Thursday, 2017.10.19.
In the morning we walked across Syntagma Square to the wonderful Bookstore Politeia S.A. on the border of the Exarcheia District — my kinda place. Another find of genius traveler Linda, Politeia is perhaps the most impressive bookstore I've happily gotten lost in since Powell's, or the late lamented Cody's. Half a city block of storefronts organized by theme: the literature store, the kids' store, the art store: wonderful. I was looking for books in Greek on Minoan and Mycenaean art to bring home as gifts; fortunately the staff all speak English. Brilliant.
I'd hoped to explore the Plaka on the way, seeking out landmarks remembered from my university trip in 1979-80. Turned out that without trying we blundered right into the main one: the Hotel Nefeli, where some of us escaped our unhappy student hostel for a couple of splurge days of blessed hot water. Linda and I had kicked around the idea of staying here until she found travelers' reviews emphasizing bedbugs. I don't remember those, but I do remember being dinged by the front desk for allowing one of our friends to use our shower! It hadn't occurred to me that that would be an issue, which to me seemed at the time typical of the nickel-and-dime-y attitude of the Greeks of 1980, a problem utterly not encountered with gray hair and a wallet full of platinum cards.
In the afternoon we took a bus tour to the gorgeous Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion. Our one and only organized tour of this trip, it was good to let someone else drive, but a little bit obnoxious having to politely listen to the tour guide yak when we wanted to break away. In 1980 there was no-one there but ourselves; the marble was strikingly white; and I found Lord Byron's Graffito in minutes. Today, as was common on this trip, the site was crawling with people like us: tourists arriving by bus; and the stones were strictly off-limits. Also the marble has turned brown, not an unattractive color but, sadly, we were told an artifact of pollution. I did learn that the crucial silver mines which financed Athenian resistance to Xerxes were located near here — although our guide dropped not a syllable about the thousands of slaves who died there.
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