Monday, June 17, 2013

The unexpected tour guide in Athens -Cruise part8

For all my cursing facebook for being so addictive and stealing my hours... there are sometimes when it really does prove its worth. Our first day in Athens was just such an occasion!

I had decided that since I had enjoyed just wandering about in Crete that when we arrived in Athens I would do the same there. However, we docked at Piraeus. Which is a half hour drive from Athens so I took my first ever hop on hop off bus. I enjoyed the experience (if not the cost!). 

It was great to pass by the orange trees laiden with fruit... 

My first stop, the Parthenon? No.

The temple of Zeus? No.

The botanical gardens? Yes! 

 (I cannot describe to you the scent of the lilac trees while walking down this street in the gardens... I really felt drunk from it!)

Not your typical tourist sight perhaps but you have to remember I live in Cairo and I love plants! I don’t get enough green in my life and wandering around these gardens was like inhaling valium! I mean- just look at this cheesy grin!

 I took lots of photos... and facebooked a couple... and while there I found a reply to the shout out I had placed the day before to see if I knew any bellydancers in Athens!

Georgina studied in Edinburgh. While there she was interested in Salsa and in Bellydance. She never made it to my classes there, because I had already moved to Egypt by the time she went there, however thanks to facebook being all it is, she and I share many common friends and when I asked if there was anyone who wanted to meet up in Athens she replied and came to meet me Outside the parliament building. 

There was a small protest there which of course made me think of Egypt. However it was so small and contained and calm that it really wasn’t anything like protests I have witnessed in Cairo!

Georgina and her friend wandered around downtown Athens with me.

 It was lovely to chat with locals and see the place through their eyes and hear their stories.

 In the Plaka, the main town centre, there were some boys doing streetdance.

 I wish I had videoed it. They were dancing to Greek hip hop. What a fun sound! It was also ironic because I hadn’t been able to sleep the night before and had sat up watching street dance 2 on the TV in my cabin! Sometimes I really do feel like my life is scripted.

 (I was amazed at how much graffiti there was everywhere we went around Greece.... and a lot of it, like in Egypt, political too)
(another poor man destined to be forever more a pigeon perch)

We went for some food and I tasted my first gyros. (Which I imagined to be what I had handed out all those years ago when I worked in the benefit agency in UK!) This was a much tastier version! Basically a shawerma, wrapped in a cone of pita bread. We had sakanaki too.

 A fried cheese which is salty and very tasty. More Greek yogurt to finish. This time with candied quince as a topping, which is seemingly the local delicacy!

It was also very interesting to discuss the similarities between our three cultures. Scotland (since she had studied there for 3 years), Greece and Egypt. Some simalarities were so strong it made us both question which culture greek or arabic, had started the trends....... 

( Backgammon - Arabic or Greek? )

(far right.... does look a LOT like an OUD doesnt it?!!!) 

(a 'toot' tree in Athens. Mulberry. Seemingly silk worms in Egypt are given Toot leaves to munch on to produce the silk- something I found out much later but I love it as a fact so had to throw it in!) 

I enjoyed my day so much and felt really blessed to have met such a lovely person and taken around her beautiful city.

Thank you so much Georgina and friends!

 I love that dance has brought me into contact with so many phenomenal women (and men) from all around the world. I miss my days of having my own ‘Hotel BellyLorna’ where I would welcome people to Cairo, however, being able to go to new places and meet new people there too is a gift too! I Love that dance and music transcends language and culture and country. I am so very thankful that I have dance in my life. That it is my life. 

1 comment:

C said...

I have enjoyed reading all your posts about the cruise. thanks so much for taking the time to write and post photos.