With my ferry not until 10:45 am, I made a leisurely start, saying goodbye to my hostess. She offered to meet me at the ferry when I arrived, offered to walk me to the doctor when I was sick, warned me of the sun, and kept checking on me to make sure I was OK.
Arriving in Piraeus, I decided to head slightly out of my way on a route that should take me to a cycle path into the heart of Athens. Sunday caused a lot less traffic. So much so that when I missed a turn traffic couldn’t decrease enough to notice I’d lost my main road. That cost me about 4 km and a fair amount of time rerouting back through smaller streets. All told I had a 20 km ride back into Athens from Piraeus.
The cycle path followed an old drainage canal, big enough to have few road crossings. Nearing city center, I passed a large archaeological site I noted for later.
I’d earlier marked the hostel location on the GPS, and tracked in with no further issues. The greeting was friendly, and she provided some information about taxis and bicycle shops as well. The hostel falls solidly into the average to slightly below average category: bike storage that requires me to have help to get to my bicycle, a kitchen where everything doesn’t work, a view of the Acropolis from the roof as a common area, but nowhere to actually sit, shared showers all on one floor of a multi-floor hostel (the floor I’m on at least), good Wi-Fi. It’s about what I expected; I picked this hostel because it’s 30 euro. Not per night, total for the three nights in Athens in a four-bedroom dorm.
I met my one roommate – Vasily – as I unpacked. He’s from elsewhere in Greece, currently working in the UK but back for a visit. I talked with Vasily for quite a while before venturing out, and then again until late in the night upon my return.
Puzzling out the location of the archaeological site several kilometers away, I picked up a multi-day metro pass and successfully navigated to near the Keremeikos site, which includes the old Athens wall and a cemetery, much from 500 BC. The site demonstrated how many of these sites have survived. Everything rests below the current ground level.
Picking up a Metro pass required only walking up to a machine, selecting English, and selecting how many trips or days the pass should be valid. Having been burned a bit by the pass for Rome, I tinkered a bit. A one-day pass cost twice a single pass, and a five-day pass cost twice the one-day pass. Even for only three days, that seemed like the deal (given the distance from the hostel to city center). The machine printed my receipt, and no ticket. I warned the person behind me. He helpfully identified a staff member, who came over and banged on the machine – the ticket popped out.
From that far side of Athens post-Metro I walked across the city. Along the way I visited the ruins of Hadrian’s Library, a nice connection – years ago I cycled the length of his wall in England.
Locating a Metro stop, I found my way back to the hostel. Now that I know the path to and from the Metro stop to the hostel, I can’t be truly lost; I can always find a metro stop and my way back.
The first estimate for transport to the airport requires a van – 70 euro. Vasily suggested carrying the box to the train station. I’ve considered that, but once the bicycle is boxed I still have luggage to carry. 600 meters to the station, plus two train changes. Ugg.
Tomorrow the focus is the box. Presuming that works out, the next focus is tape. After that I can relax and explore the city.