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Athens and back to Delhi…..

Tuesday 20th May

Today saw me get up early, go for a morning stroll down to town, then wander back in time for check out at 12pm.

I sat in the courtyard for an hour in the sun whilst waiting for my lift to the port.

At 1pm the owner of the hotel dropped me over to the port in time for my 2pm ferry to Piraeus in Athens. The journey was just under 6 hours long on a cool ferry which was very much like a P&O ferry but without the duty-free shops! Lol

I found a comfy seat and sat and finished my book and listened to music until arrival at 8pm. I then wandered along the harbour and up to my hotel, which was about a 5 minute stroll.

The hotel was nice, basic but clean. Had a balcony which overlooked a church which I sat on for a while watching the sunset over Athens!

Ordered some room service for tea and attempted to chat to friends on the most rubbish wifi!

Wednesday 21st May

This morning I got up and wandered back down the harbour and located the hop on/hop off bus. Chilled on the bus for 35 minutes or so as we weaved around the outskirts of Athens before arriving at the Acropolis.

I hiked up the Acropolis and wandered around the Parthenon and other temples dotting the landscape. Unfortunately the Parthenon is still be stabilised and refurbished so I was unable to go inside or get pictures without cranes in!

From the Acropolis you can see all of Athens, all the street layouts, modern buildings creeping into the old ruins of temples. Amphitheatres and temples litter the landscape!

I wandered back down to the bus stop and boarded a bus on the second available route and circumnavigated the rest of Athens, listening to the audio guide which provided amazing insight and historical information about the many new and old buildings we passed.

I then boarded the bus back to the harbour, had lunch in a cafe and then wandered back to the hotel. At reception I bumped into a lovely, if slightly crazy lady called Sanna who is from Sweden. We agreed to meet in the evening for a drink, so about 8pm we met and went for a wander to a lovely restaurant for dinner where we had salad, saganaki and tzatiki. We had a brilliant dinner, ever if our conversation was drowned out by church bells and some kind of ceremony or concert kicking off right next door!

Anyway had a right laugh, wandered back to the hotel and chatted outside for a while.

Thursday 22nd May

Met Sanna at 10am and walked with her down to the bus stop where she was catching the express bus to the airport. I waved her off and then wandered round to the hop on/hop off bus stop for another trip out.

I got off the bus at the National Museum and spent a couple of hours wandering around looking at all the amazing statues of greek gods and stories played out in myths!

Some of the most amazing pieces were the statues of Zeus made out of bronze, the statue of a horse and jockey cast in bronze also and a special section dedicated to finds found on the seabed near Antikythera, apparently there was a ship that was laden with treasures which sunk just off of this small island! Divers have been recovering what they can, some of which is displayed in the museum for a short time only. All the beautiful marble statues have been reduced to malformed versions of their previous selves due to erosion by seawater but the some of the bronze statues have faired better. They are beautifully preserved with glass eyes that stare out from the display at you! I can only imagine what it must have been like to find these treasures staring up from the seabed!

I left the museum and walked for an hour back to the Acropolis, grabbed a Starbucks and sat outside under the Parthenon taking it all in!

I then wandered back to one of the hop on/hop off bus stops and headed back to the hotel. I had a nap, then headed out to a bakery to grab something for tea before coming back and packing ready for departure tomorrow.

Friday 23rd May

Today was primarily spent travelling, first on the express bus from Piraeus to Athens airport which took just over an hour. Then I flew from Athens to Amman which was only 2 hours and then after a quick stop over in Amman I flew to Delhi, a mere 6 hour flight!

Saturday 24th May

Arrived into Delhi airport at 4.30am, by the time I had got through passport control, got my bag and booked a taxi it was 5am.

I headed to a weird little homestay near the airport that was cheap but in the middle of nowhere!  I checked in, fended off a creepy man and then had a nap.

Woke up at 8am, showered and changed and hit a furniture sale with Ankur, very entertaining….one small room, loads of end of line products and a load of indian shoppers equals bedlam and that’s not even discussing the car parking! Lol

After that we headed to Khan market for a browse around for an illuminated shaving mirror, the most precise item! Luckily we found one and made the purchase, negotiating a reasonable discount!

I then went back to the hotel and had a nap before doing some washing and chilling out with Ankur later in the evening with some whiskey and a film!

Sunday 25th May

Woke late, checked out of the weird creepy homestay and headed in an electric rickshaw to a hotel in Sector 12 where I have stayed before. Usually a very nice and clean hotel!

Today unfortunately I felt like Goldilocks! The first room had no wifi, so I requested a change, the second room had brilliant wifi but the bed was full of dead fleas, requested a change of room and moved into the room opposite, again excellent wifi but a solo dead flea in the bed! So demanded they take me to another hotel only to be shown another 3 rooms! The first 2 had no wifi, the third one had reasonable wifi and was flea free! So after viewing half of the hotel I settled into my room, watched films, played scrabble on the ipad, ordered a curry and stayed in! Good job as that evening there was a storm accompanied by a Delhi Downpour!

Monday 26th May

Had a lie in, jumped in a taxi and headed over to Ambience Mall, a huge shopping mall nearby. I wandered around for 3 hours browsing the shops, managed to buy some new clothes in M & S and some socks in the sports shop. Stopped for some lunch and then jumped in a cab and headed back with my new purchases!

After a quick nap I spent the evening sorting my clothes and slinging out the old stuff with holes in, reading and watching films. Ankur came over about 11.30pm and we watched films and played cards before heading out at 2.30am to the 24/7 store for snacks!

After snacks, Ankur left and I hit the hay about 3am!

Tuesday 27th May

Total lazy day, one can even go so far as to call it a duvet day!  The evening was one of whiskey and films! Duvet day…whiskey night

Wednesday 28th May

Got up late, ordered a Mcdelivery for brunch!

Watched films and read until 6.45pm when Ankur swung by for a few hours before he headed out to a family meal at 9.45pm!  I had a whiskey free early night! Lol

Thursday 29th May

Another duvet day….well its 45 degrees outside and you sweat faster than you can replenish your fluid levels!

At 7.30pm Ankur picked me up and we headed to a mall in west Delhi for a quick bite to eat and the cinema. Saw X-men: Days of future past in 3D. Amazing film!

Got back to the hotel about 1.30am and watched another film until about 3.30am! Ankur left and I then lounged in bed until about 5am chatting to friends in UK and Oz!

Friday 30th May

Checked out of the hotel at 10am and headed back over to Karol Bagh to meet Krissy for a girly 2 days. We checked into a hotel we have stayed in a few times before, then walked around to the metro station and jumped on the metro to Hauz Khas, it’s a really hip tranquil area of Delhi with cool restaurants, shops and ethnic and artisan goods.

We met one of Krissy’s friends for lunch, before spending a couple of hours wandering around and stopping in a quaint coffee shop for a drink.

We then jumped in a tuktuk back to Green Park metro station and jumped on the metro….we were doing quite well considering it was rush hour and we were squashed into the carriage like we were in London on the Northern Line at 8.30am on a rainy Monday! Lol

We made it as far as Central Secretariat station before the train stopped due to a power cut at the station.

We stood like sardines on the stationary train for about 15 minutes before most people gave up and decided to exit the train and the station! The plan was to go up onto the road and hail a tuktuk back to the hotel but as we came up the escalators to street level we realised the reason behind the power cut was a thunderstorm supplemented by wind and rain.

Everyone had bunched up in the entrance of the station so as we were all coming up on the escalator we just ended up in the middle of a crowd, some pushing and shoving to get out and some trying to stand back out of the weather!

We managed to force our way out on the street but realised everyone had the same idea about the tuktuks! There were no empty tuktuks anywhere! So we started to walk in the storm towards Connaught Place and thought we could either get the metro from there, get a tuktuk from there or just go in Starbucks or Mcdonalds for half an hour and try again!

After 45 minutes walk we made it to Connaught Place, the metro was still down and everyone was still fighting over tuktuks! So we walked around the other side of the outer circle and basically gazumped an indian family out of their electric tuktuk! The driver was able to charge us more, so we jumped in and off he whizzed, leaving behind the bedraggled looking family! Well….when in India! No one queues here or insists you go first, it’s every one for themselves so I have now adopted this attitude! Lol

We finally got back to Karol Bagh, we popped into 24/7 grabbed some snacks for tea and sat watching films in bed for the rest of the evening!

Saturday 31st May

Today Krissy and I got up early and got out before it got too busy on the metro and too hot outside!

We headed down to Qutub Minar and the archaeological area surrounding it, it’s somewhere I have always wanted to go, but never had the chance!

After about 35 minutes on the metro we got off and walked for about 45 minutes along the side of a busy road to the Minaret. We firstly just sat on a bench under a tree and listened to the birds and took in the buildings, it would have been relaxing if it wasn’t for the hoards of indian families that kept coming up and asking for their photos to be taken with us!

So after pretending we were celebrities, we got up and wandered around the rest of the area taking in mosques, tombs and temples all the while being papped by more indian families!

After about an hour at the archaeological site we jumped in a tuktuk to the Garden of five senses….it sounded amazing!

We walked around the poorly signposted gardens, doing a small loop before arriving back at the start not having seem anything listed on the things to see list and having seen things that weren’t in the list! So very indian!

Anything water related was dry and had no water, every nook and cranny in the shade was occupied by young indian couples all fighting for some privacy in which to have a romantic saturday date in the park.

Krissy and I finally found a relatively shady seat and sat talking about travel plans for next year. This probably took us over an hour of intense discussion and brainstorming of ideas, so the trip to the park was not a total loss!

We then wandered back, grabbed a tuktuk to Saket metro station and headed back to the hotel, this time incident free! We grabbed some bits to snack on and had a nap and then later popped out to Subway and then McDs for tea.

Upon returning to the hotel we put on some dance music and had a small dance party in our room, which ended with Krissy dancing on the bed to Avicii!

Sunday 1st June

Today…..well Krissy and I took an early morning stroll to the ATM and then 24/7 to grab cash and stock up on food and drink for next couple of days.

We then went back to the hotel and had breakfast at which point Krissy’s friend Appy arrived, they left in a tuktuk and headed over to the backpacker district of Parharganj and I headed back over to Dwarka to the fleapit!

Checked into a room with reasonable wifi and no fleas and tried to drown out the racket made by the baby shower party happening downstairs! Lol

I have spent this afternoon napping, watching films and chatting to friends.

It has also been somewhat productive as I have booked Kirsty and my train tickets for Wednesday as we head up to Amritsar…the tickets cost a whole £1.50 each for a 7 hour train journey! Admittedly we are not in the air con carriages we are in the ropey local carriages that look like the trains from Auschwitz…bench seats, bars on windows and crappy fans mounted on the ceiling…still I am sure it will be an adventure!

Tonight I think will be a quiet one again, still all this downtime and these duvet days have enabled me to progress about 12 levels on Candy Crush! Rather productive I felt!

So after a few lazy weeks in Greece and a lazy whiskey week in Delhi…I have one final lazy day tomorrow before Kirsty arrives back in India and we hit the road/rail network again to see more of North India! We are heading to the mountains…away from the heat and rain! As to where we go, how long we go for and where we head after, I have no idea! Wherever the winds take us……

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