I went to bed last night with terrible body aches and chills, and my hope for being better by morning was slim. In the middle of the night I woke up and I seriously thought the room was on fire. I was SO hot! I took it as a good sign, meaning my fever had broken. When I woke up for the day I was feeling much better! BHW kept saying we can sleep longer or take another day off but I felt like I could handle the day.
After eating a light breakfast we got out of the house quickly, to make up for lost time yesterday! We had a long list of things to do and were determined to get it all done! Our first stop was Kerameikos Cemetery. It was essentially a bunch of ruins (like everything else in Athens) but we did make a friend there, a stray pup! He showed us around for a bit and led us to the exit when we were ready to leave.
Our next stop was The Temple of Zeus! We got stuck behind a tour group of about 40 people in line but thankfully we got to scoot around them and get our tickets stamped. Nearby was Hadrian's Library and Ancient Agora. They were more or less like the other ruins we visited so we didn't stay long. It will be nice to go back home and research these places a bit more in depth than the pamphlets we were given did.
BHW really wanted to take the subway to Port of Piraeus, the largest Greek Seaport, and we needed to grab lunch at some point.. so we decided to go and grab lunch near the water! The port was filled with cruise ships of all shapes and sizes. We saw one that was cut out in the bottom, to make it go extra fast! We didn't see it moving so we can't vouch for the technology behind it, but it sure looked cool! We got lunch at a little place near the port where we had Gyros and Souvlaki. Since I had just gotten over the stomach flu I didn't eat much but what I had was delicious! After seeing Piraues we headed back to the apartment to pack our bag and head to the thermal lake I've been dying to go to!
The directions I had for the thermal lake were in Greek, no English translations, so we were off to a really grand start. The subway trip was simple.. we just matched up the words (basically symbols) on the directions to the signs at the platforms. The bus trip was another story. First off there was no map in the bus or announcements, secondly, the bus didn't stop at every stop, and thirdly, 3/4's of the bus stop signs were missing. All we knew was the name of the stop and that it was 10 stops away. But if the bus stops don't have signs and the bus doesn't stop at every stop.. how were we know when to get off?! BHW is pretty fantastic with directions, most of the time, and he knew the lake would be on the left side. I was frantically counting the bus stops, while we kept his eyes peeled for a lake. I got to 10 stops, which he thought was 9, when he saw a sign that said 'Vouliagmeni Lake'.. but the bus stop sign didn't match what my directions said. We took the risk and hopped off anyways, and we were correct!
Vouliagmeni Lake is literally across the street from the Aegean Sea.. about 30 minutes outside of Athens, but is it's own private paradise. It was sunny, around 55 degrees, but quite breezy. Not the best weather for swimming, but I had to take a dip in Greece, no matter what! Although the lake is 'thermal' that doesn't mean the water is warm. It was warm-er than the air outside.. but it wasn't anything close to bathtub temperatures or anything. I took the plunge and just jumped in, hoping the shock of the temperature wouldn't make me get sick again. It was pretty dang cold at first but I got used to it. I stood still for a moment, letting my body adjust, and immediately little doctor fish came swimming up to my feet and eating the dead skin off. You heard me correctly, eating my skin. No, it didn't hurt, and yes, it tickled! I could see all this happening because the water was crystal clear! I've never see water so clear in my life! They even had signs around the Lake/Spa saying 'No suntan oil' because the chemicals in sunscreen etc would mess with the minerals of the lake. Thankfully it was late in the afternoon and the sun wasn't harsh at all. We swam around for a while and then decided to get out and watch the sunset.
While waiting for the sun to set we ordered some Cappuccino Freddo and chocolate souffle. We had been waiting the whole trip in Greece to order these drinks that literally everyone was drinking, and we finally both felt well enough to have one! It was tasty, but cold, probably not the best idea for a breezy evening while we were still wet from swimming. While relaxing by the lake we saw some people way up on the cliffs above the lake. We thought that would be a much better place to watch the sunset so we packed up and headed up the cliffs.
The walk/climb was a little steep but the view was unbelievable. I don't think I've seen anything so gorgeous in my life! We were surrounded by water on 3 sides and had a view of Athens on the other. There were mountains and islands, it was one for the books, I swear! We stood around basically drooling for a good 30 minutes and then decided to climb down to the bus stop.. hoping they weren't done running for the evening. A bus did come to get us and we made it to the apartment safe and sound! After a long day of adventures, it's time to pack for our 9AM flight to Crete tomorrow! Sad that this is the halfway point of our trip, but it has been a beyond amazing time (minus getting lost, losing money, and obtaining the flu) !! Now, who wants to witness BHW driving a car in Crete? Anyone else as nervous as I am?!
At our wedding we had the guests vote on where they thought we should go for our honeymoon, and they voted Greece! So, 11 months later, we are finally making the journey! Turkey and Greece, here we come!