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Stevie P sails to the Americas
6th Sep 2009
The tale of the skipper, the cabin boy, and the prostitute

I arrived in Athens in the very early hours of Sunday morning, with a few hours to kill. I dropped my bag at the hotel where I would later meet the rest of the crew and started exploring the city. 

I had wandered round the main tourist attractions - the parthenon and the acropolis - on a previous visit, so I decided to check out the National Historical Museum instead. En route, I stumbled across a flea market, where the locals would dump anything they no longer wanted on the street for anyone else to forage through. Old shoes, cassette players, mobile phone chargers, all sorts of bric-a-brac. 

Cutting through the back streets to find this museum, I was surprised to be stopped in my tracks by a lady of the night (or in this case, early morning) who offered to "give me anything I wanted". And more, I bet. It being half past eight in the morning (a little bit too early for me), I politely declined and continued on. 

I find Athens is not a brilliant tourist destination, it is somewhat let down by pollution, graffiti, men pissing in the streets, and general lack of attractiveness, despite its historical significance and the cultural legacy of the ancient Greeks.  
The museum was pretty small, and had some interesting artefacts from Greece's more recent history, including civil wars and conflicts with Turkey. Still with a couple of hpurs to spare, I then headed for the acropolis museum, newly opened since my previous visit. Decent value for 1 euro, but I felt it was lacking in detail about ancient Greek mythology and way of life. Lots of statues though. Good for statues. 

I met Roger the skipper (obviously promoted from cabin boy since the days of Pugwash), his wife Estelle, and my fellow crew, Margaret and Rado, for lunch. After a sandwich, a beer and a get-to-know-eachother chat, we set off on a 4hr taxi ride to Roger's boat, Vittoria. 

Roger is in his 60s, a fellow west-country lad, who spends much of his time now sailing Vittoria around the world. He is pretty down-to-earth, easy going and good humoured. I could tell we'd get along fine on our passage to Tunisia and later across the Atlantic (touch wood).

I'd say Margaret is also in her 60s, a convent-educated spinster from Dublin and Rado is in his 50s, orinally from Slovenia, but lives in Wimbledon. I'm sure we'll learn a lot more about each other over the next two weeks.        

Next: Here, there be beasties (small, flying, bloodthirsty ones)
Previous: 10 things to do in Luton Airport departure lounge

Diary Photos
6th Sep 2009  Vittoria

6th Sep 2009  Athens taverna

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