Last of Athens

Today I said goodbye to Jolie. It will be an entire three days before I join her in London, and then after that we go to Kansas City within 24 hours of each other. It’s funny how that works out.

Her flight was in the early afternoon, so we took the morning to pack. The flight was late enough that we didn’t have to worry at all about time, Jolie even got to visit the pool one last time, but it early enough for her to get back to London at a decent hour.

We had a quick lunch at Commerce so we could have that famous Greek salad one last time. Commerce has been quite an important part of our enjoyment of the city, I think. Both the food and the people have been really important. It was meeting Meg there, eating salads, and goofing around with Marios and the sweet waitress. It’s nice to find places like that.

It reminds me of one of the few things I’ve missed about Kansas City. I haven’t had the time or means to really develop a relationship with a restaurant since I left. I miss my hometown restaurants, my favorite servers, and being familiar with a staff.

After I saw Jolie off, I headed out to walk around a bit on my own. I found this a little awkward alone, and besides it was in the heat of the afternoon. I bought a nice wide brimmed hat that I’d had my eye on and headed straight back to the hotel. They gave me an English newspaper, which entertained me for a while, and I was able to kill time on my iPad til I was hungry enough for dinner.

I went back to Quick Pitta, since I knew I could depend on it to be delicious and cheap. So it was. I had my last tzatziki and filled up on pork skewers. I thought I might spend the rest of my evening loitering at Commerce and hanging out with Marios, so that was my next destination. I was strangely in the mood to have a hot chocolate, so that was my dessert.

Marios got off work at 9:00 and invited me to come out with him and some of his friends afterwards. We met them, two beautiful Greek girls, at a nearby beer bar. Don’t worry, there were other things besides beer as well. Even though I’ve restocked on my migraine medication, I’m not taking that risk. 

It was a really cool place and felt like a nice way to end my time. Marios and I talked about all kinds of things. We apparently share a love for animated movies and he made me attempt a British accent. He’s a very talented singer, and promised to send me some tracks. I’m going to hold him to that.

The girls left early. They spoke mostly to each other and not in English, but I have the impression that they were really nice. Marios and I were only there for a while longer ourselves. I did have to eventually make my way to the airport, after all.

We went first to Syntagma Square to check the bus schedule. It left every 20 minutes. From Syntagma, I had almost no idea how to get back to the hotel where they were keeping my luggage. I felt so bad dragging Marios in circles. He eventually had to take me back to the restaurant because I knew I could find my way from there. When we did make it, it seemed like we’d never really been more than a few blocks away. That’s what I get for not paying attention to streets all week. It’s just been so nice to let someone else take charge!

Marios saw me safely back to the bus stop and carried my luggage. It’s heavier than it looks, even after Jolie lightened the load a bit. She took a few small items back to London for me. My bag, though, was as hard to zip as ever. I noticed this in Florence, when I threw out that ripped dress, and in Venice when I bought souvenirs: no matter what I add or remove from my bag, it always seems to be exactly as full as it could possibly be. It’s always a struggle to zip it, but it shuts in the end.

The bus driver was a little odd from the beginning. He couldn’t understand that Marios and I weren’t a couple and sang the praises of Greek men. When I got on the bus and realized it would be just the two of us, I tried to find a seat away from him. Unfortunately, I had to buy a ticket from him, and he was very very insistent that I moved nearer. 

He talked very very loudly at me for the first part of the ride. I was tired and didn’t feel like talking about whether Kansas was north or south of New York. I was so relieved when another passenger came on board, and his chatter ceased. Not a word til we arrived at the Athens airport. 

I have been getting better at finding the good places to sleep in airports. I made my way towards the food court, because sometimes there are very nice cushioned benches. This was no exception, but there was obnoxious music playing. I had earplugs, but decided to follow up on another option instead. I’d seen a sign for a chapel, which I followed. It was carpeted, very quiet, and very out of the way. There would be no foot traffic or cleaning crews. One other person had gotten there before me, but it was a large enough space for the both of us. This is where I camped out for the night.

Tomorrow I’ll hop on a plane and arrive in cologne, where I hope to have a chance to see the cathedral before hopping on a train to Belgium. I’m sad to leave the blue skies and free tap water, but Jolie checked the weather and it should be warm and sunny in all my remaining destinations. As a Kansas City girl, I’m skeptical of weather forecasts, but here’s hoping!

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