Roman Around – Day Five

Today is our last full day in Rome.

img_2649.jpgIt’s taken me a while to realise that the letters on the taps here are different.
In Australia, there’s either a colour marker, or a “c” and “h” to let you know if that is a cold or hot water tap.

I kept turning towards the “c” one here and was wondering why it wasn’t getting any colder and then I realised “c” is for caldo – which means hot. The other tap has an “f” on there for freddo – cold.  Argh!

The beggars can be quite aggressive here. I don’t like walking around at night on my own. Most try to “do” something for your money. For example, one guy was sweeping the footpath yesterday. As we walked past he said “Could you spare some change for me. I’ve been making these footpaths nice and clear for you”. Something like that. We said we had no money. Which is actually true because we’ve been using credit cards, so we don’t have a lot of spare cash on hand.
The guy countered “yes you do” right away! Hubby then said “no, we only use credit card, we don’t have cash”
The guy said again “yes you do, you do have cash!” He wanted an argument!!

Twice I’ve seen little, very old, bent over ladies in black walking with a hand held out in front of them, asking for money then lashing out if you don’t give.
One asked hubby yesterday and he said “non ho moneta” or something like that and she started swearing!!

I took a few snaps of the streets as we walked. I’m going to miss this. Could you ever get used to it? So much history!! Old buildings, old roads… we just walk in amazement!

 

 

We walked back to Fontana di Trevi this morning because we STILL hadn’t thrown a coin over our shoulder into it. Tradition says, throwing a coin into the fountain over your shoulder means you will return. We will be back!

 

We stopped into a shopping centre that doesn’t have much in the way of shops. Well, nothing out of the ordinary that is, but it is a very interesting building.

 

Soon we were starting to get hungry and decided to go over the bridge into Trevestere again.
It’s so pretty to walk along the river.

 

 


The place we chose seemed to have cheap meals but the serves were pretty small and believe it or not, this selection of food we chose to share, cost us more than probably anything else we’ve eaten here.

 


That food plus a can of coke was 28 Euro. About $47 AUD. Although the food was good, I can’t say it was worth it.

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I’ve been drinking a lot of Monster Energy cans while I’ve been here and just today noticed the writing in Italian on the can.

 

 

When I’m back in Australia I’m going to have to check the cans there to see if they have the same message.

 


We were back at the Vatican again because we found out that you can enter the church for free so we thought that would be worth a look. What we didn’t realise is that there was a line for that too! That’s because they have to do a security check on you…. So we didn’t go inside. What a shame. I can’t remember it being this busy last time I was here. You can see from the pics how many people there are around. It’s just crazy!!! And everywhere you turn someone is trying to sell you something.

We walked back to our apartment late afternoon for a little siesta. There was NO Limoncello drunk, I can assure you of that!

Later this evening we took a walk to the Termini to check where the bus was going to come and get us to take us to the airport tomorrow. We’re going to have a very early start!
That area near the Termini is not good to say the least. So many unfortunate people. I couldn’t take photos because it’s just too sad.

Tomorrow a new adventure awaits.

Arriverderci Roma!

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Greece is the Word – Day Thirteen

Today was out last full day in Greece. Though I’m sad about that, we have seen and done a lot of things in a short time here. I loved seeing all the historic sites and I loved shopping for trinkets. Today was mostly about that.

Something I’ve noticed here is that often we’ll hear loud shouting. We look around anxiously thinking people may be fighting or something may be going down but it’s usually just a couple of people being very passionate  in their conversation.

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We headed back into the centre of Athens. The traffic was just horrendous! I’d hate to drive here. In fact, I’m almost certain I wouldn’t

We were so looking forward to shopping but before we did that, we stopped to see the Greek Parliament which is housed in an imposing building situated at the east side of Syntagma Square.
At one point the guards started doing something. It may have been part of the “changing of the guards” ritual but I’m not sure. I didn’t ask but I did take some video and if you’re interested, you can see it here. I didn’t video the whole thing.

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I also took a few pics of that area… including of the people who actually allow these rats of the air to land and eat seed off of them!!!!!

Gross!!!

 

We stopped for a quick bite to eat. I can’t believe how cheap some of this food is here.

We got a couple of “wraps”.
That’s how they were described on the menu. I had chicken meat in mine.
They also come with fries in them. I realised too late that I didn’t take a photo of the one I was eating but it was pita bread, wrapped cone like, with the meat, chips IMG_7248(fries), tzatziki and some salad stuff in it.

It was only 2.8 Euro!

So cheap and so filling!

I did take a picture of the display in the shop window though.

You like?

We headed into the flea markets in Plaka after that.

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I must admit, I was a little nervous.

There are all sorts of people there trying to get money off of you one way or another.
Either they are just begging for it or trying to deceive you by offering “free” gifts.

There’s also sad cases.

We saw a couple of people afflicted by some condition and it just broke my heart to see them out on the street begging. It just doesn’t seem right.

All these people throwing away money at touristy junk while other people are fighting  for another 24 hours to live.


We had some lunch. We were told the pizza at this place we went to was amazingly different to anywhere else. It was traditional Greek pizza. I would have to agree it was different. I don’t know that I’d go out of my way for it but I did like it.
Hubby and I don’t eat seafood but I took a pic of the seafood platter that came out for those who are into that sort of thing (see above)
I ordered grilled vegetables and just absolutely loved them!!! Eggplant is fast becoming one of my favourite vegetables.

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Oh and I’ll just leave this here. Make of it what you will but these “items” are sold all over the place in tourist shops.

There must be some meaning, I’d imagine to do with fertility, but I haven’t looked into it.

Who are buying these things????

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We had had a leisurely lunch so it was quite late when we headed back.

Hubby and googled and found there was an outlet mall very close to where we’re staying.

We asked to be dropped off there but once our ride had left, we discovered it was NOT an outlet mall at all. It may have been once upon a time, but it was now very much deserted!!!

Lots of closed up shops. The only thing that was open was a Marks and Spencer Store.

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We walked home but not before heading into a supermarket for a few supplies to last us these next 12 hours.

You will not believe what I found…. If only I had seen this 12 days ago!!!!!!!!

Diet Lemonade I have missed you so much!

We headed into Glyfada for our last night. I’m going to miss this. Late Summer nights. The coast, the company, the atmosphere. Greece you have been good to us.

Tomorrow we are having a change of pace and it will be interesting to see how different it will be…. I’m not sure how reliable our internet is going to be but I hope to have the next post up within twenty four hours.

Where will we be this time tomorrow? Stay tuned!

Greece is the Word – Day Eleven

I feel we are staying at the perfect location. Not in the centre of Naxos city but close enough and with enough restaurants and stores to keep us fed and occupied. The rest of our party is just loving the sea which is just metres from our rooms.

Hubby and I went for an early stroll along the water. It’s so peaceful and calm at that time.

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We stopped to get some coffee and pastries.

The ordering system sometimes confuses me a bit.
In any case we got a spinach pie and what we thought was a sausage and cheese pie. When we bit into it, we realised the “sausage” was a hot dog type sausage.
It was still ok, just not what we were expecting.

After checkout we headed into Naxos. We were wanting to see the older part of the city and of course, Apollo’s temple which are doorlike ruins of an ancient temple standing on a scenic point looking over the city and sea.
Here are a few pics I took on the way to and at the Temple ruins.

 

 

 

It was a very warm day and the walk up to the top of the older part/castle was challenging at times but it was really interesting to see the white buildings and the stairs going up and up and up, draped by colourful bougainvillea.

 


View from the top was breathtaking

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We started to wonder about the population here and if most of the homes are holiday homes or if there is a resident population. It would be interesting to see what it’s like in the off season.

We haven’t had pizza since we’ve been here and today was as good a day as any. I really enjoyed what we had. It was pretty cheesy!! But apparently it was not “Greek” style. We’ve got that to look forward to yet..

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Before we got back on the ferry for Athens, we stocked up on snacks like the smart people do. Next time we’ll try to remember to bring a deck of cards too!! It’s a long trip back. I was eating some of the spanokopita we’d bought, mostly out of boredom, and said to hubby “eat some too!” and he replied “why? because if I don’t eat it now there won’t be any left for me?”
He knows me well.

Oh, and both on this trip, and the trip over, I was surprised to find children begging on the boat. How do they even get on there? Do adults sneak them on to do the begging? Has someone bought them a ticket so they can beg? It’s sad to see and hard to resist. That’s probably why they do it. Who can say no to a kid saying “do you have any money so I can have something to eat?” or something similar.

The bathrooms on the ferry had an sea view by the way! I was going to take a photo but unfortunately, I fell asleep and by the time I went back there, it was already dark.

I was dreading this long trip back but actually it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Sleeping through most of it probably helped.
Sadly, our time is almost to an end here in this gorgeous historical country but there may be a surprise coming up…. stay tuned!

Greece is the Word – Day Three

Our adventures continued on during the night where hubby and I broke the bed we were sleeping in.

Before your imaginations run wild, the bed broke as he shifted position in his sleep at 3am.
Thank you Ikea.

We managed to put it together in a way that allowed us to continue sleeping but I’m sure one of us is going to fall through it again at some point during this vacation.

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Hubby and I found a supermarket around the corner from where we’re staying and bought a few more things. It feels really comfortable shopping here, unlike Japan, where everything is a mystery! At least we pretty much know what we’re buying every time.
We enjoyed the beautiful streets along the way.
That building on the right is typical of dwellings you’ll see here.

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There are plenty of people begging for money here but they are usually prepared to do something for it.

For example, this guy was playing his instrument as we were on the subway, for coins.

Speaking of the subway, I took a photo of this ad we saw on there.
(pictured below)

Maybe not as funny as the ones we saw in Japan but even so, I think it’s some kind of Metro ad, but why are there mops on their heads???

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IMG_6183We gathered our party and headed to the Acropolis! That was first stop on the agenda today. It was pretty warm! But we were excited and as soon as we started to see it we got even more excited. So much history! To think of the people who had walked the very streets we were now walking!

Everybody we passed had an accent. Tourists everywhere!
It got quite congested up the top where the Parthenon is and the path becomes quite slippery in places. Such an amazing sight.
Not like in the movies though. In the movies when people go to the Parthenon, there’s no one around and they normally can go quite close to it. Today there were millions of people and we couldn’t get close. Well, not as close as I would have liked. There are ropes everywhere and even though we know Greeks can be a little cheeky when it comes to rules, no one dares to cross any of the ropes because if you do, alarms will sound like you wouldn’t believe.

We took lots of pictures on the way up, everyone better than the last one.
Here are a few from my collection.

I don’t know how much time we spent there but it was over two hours and the time really just flew by! There’s tons of information about the restoration project for those interested.

IMG_6240Something I’ve noticed is that there are stray cats everywhere here!!

A lot of them looking sickly.
It’s pretty sad.

You’ll see them going up and down the streets and even into some of the stores.
There’s also people who try to “gift” you things that they then expect you to pay for. Things like wrist bracelets and little gifts. We were told to refuse anything these people tried to give you as they actually do expect money, no matter how friendly they seem and they get angry if you eventually don’t give them any. We were approached by a couple of guys and no matter how much we said “no, I don’t want it” they actually came and put something on my wrist. They want you to feel obligated. He kept saying “don’t worry, it’s in friendship” as if he didn’t want me to give him anything but as more of our party came up to us and I said “thank you for your friendship but I really don’t have anything to give you”. He then huffed, refused eye contact and took that thing off my wrist without saying a further word to me. A complete 180 degree change in attitude!!!

It’s all part of the experience. We spent HOURS walking into the different stores here. The area I’m told is Plaka. A lot of the stores had similar items but they were of things I hadn’t seen before and a lot of it just looked so good!!! I know I’m going home with a suitcase full of junk but it’s Greek junk!!! Like you know, from Greece!!
Because we’re going with a group I know there will be tons more shopping opportunities. It’s not something hubby normally likes to do so when it’s just he and I shopping always feels rushed.

Oh, and almost as great as seeing the Acropolis today was finding an amazing Moussaka!! Yes, it was on the menu and YES I ordered it and it was just DIVINE!!!!


We also ordered a Greek salad which came almost identical as the one we had yesterday.
The nice restaurant also gave us some complimentary drinks at the end of our meal! How nice was that!


We are warned continually about pick pockets. Hubby and I are the most careful people when it comes to being aware of our belongings and yet…
After a few hours of shopping we were back on the subway going to our car. The subway was packed. Hubby had his wallet in his shorts pocket. The pocket was buttoned up. The pocket was on the side of his leg and at hand length.
When we got back to our apartment, we realised that his wallet was gone. We had JUST been talking about we can’t understand how people don’t feel it when pick pockets take things off of them and yet, it happened to one of the most careful people I know.

We cancelled his cards right away and it seems that whoever took them, hadn’t tried to use it but what a hassle!! Not to mention the feeling of knowing that someone did this to you.
Yes, it could have been worse, things could always be worse, but it’s still an awful thing to have happened.

Putting that behind us, we continued on with our plans and traveled up to Mount Lycabettus.
The drive up there I would rather soon forget.
It’s not that people are bad drivers here, it’s just that there are NO RULES! And driving up that narrow windy road with cars parked on both sides… oh my god. I wasn’t even driving yet I thought I was going to go into cardiac arrest.
And Google, you should be ashamed of yourself! I always thought it was more to do with the person, than Google Maps when people followed Google maps into lakes and off non existent bridges but tonight it happened to us!
We were driving down the steep road with sharp turns and cars parked either side of the road when Google drove us right to a dead end street where it was simply not possible to turn in any way, shape or form.
Luckily we had a “professional” driver on board who reversed us 300 meters to get to a “T” junction. I had to put that in quotes because I’m sure you’re imagining something that is a lot simpler than what really happened.
But no sooner had we reversed and gone the other way, we found we were in the same predicament. How do those people live!! So hubby had to reverse us 300 or so meters again and this time up around the “T” junction and… well the rest is a blur as I passed out mentally at that point.

In any case,  I’m so glad we went as the views were spectacular! I tried to get photos but my iphone wouldn’t do it justice so I stole one from Google Images.

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There’s amazing views of the city of Athens from the top and you can see the Parthenon lit up. It’s just so magical.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. I really loved today and can’t wait to explore more tomorrow!