Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Zero Hour!

And we're off! After weeks of preparation, a wedding and hosting my entire family this weekend, and a furious day of packing... we headed for the airport a little before 5:30 this morning.
Before we go, though, I thought I'd share a couple of the comments we had after the last post...

Having experienced Athens firsthand, I highly recommend you
forego the taxi. It's unregulated and they seriously rip you off, every chance
you get, especially if you give any indication that you speak English
and/or are American. Seriously, do not take a taxi in Athens! I talked to
many Americans staying there who were ripped off several dollars, including
myself. Lots of professional con artists who without regulation, make darn good

The metro subway system is very clean, very new, nice,
and fast, and signs and announcements are in Greek and English (it was
created just for the Olympics). It's very convenient and runs everywhere
you want to be as a tourist. Cameras and security everywhere. You can take
the Metro from the airport to Omonia Square (where your hotel is) with relative
ease in about 50 minutes. Omonia Square is where I stayed too, but in a
different hotel. It's still a sketchy area but it's improving. The square and
surrounding neighborhood used to be where all the homesless and drug dealers
congregated until the Olympics rolled back through Athens and the city
government pushed them out of the city limits. Some areas are still very rough
and I recommend you stay in the square (which is really a circle), avoiding side
streets, and take the Metro right there in Omonia Square south to the Parthenon,
Agora, and all of the village surrounding the ruins (called the Plaka, and very

This is a city that was only democratized in 1969, and
much destruction and urban decay is still prevalent from the Turkish occupation.
It's a culturally rich city and worth the stay, but the amount of decay was
surprising and disturbing at the same time. If you decide to walk from Omonia
Square to the Parthenon and surrounding Plaka, please stay on the main
artery boulevards that traject from the Omonia circle. The Stiri neighborhood,
situated between Omonia and Monastiraki, a safer area where all the
shopping is just north of Plaka, is very dangerous, especially for American

My travelling companion and I took a day trip to
Paros. It was such a beautiful visit. I recommend if you have the energy to take
a skipper boat trip to the island of Hydra, which has forbidden the use of cars
on the island and uses only mules for transportation. It's a lovely island and
the simplistic nature of their lifestyle is refreshing.


catholic, protestant, whatever I found the cemeteries and the churches -especially the ones with tombs in them- to be amazing when in Dublin. It was amazing to be in these holy places and to see dates in 1500 and earlier. And you may think I'm crazy, but if you love indian food the best I've ever had was in Ireland.


And so, here we are. We're headed for the Airport now; I'll try to post from Ireland soon!