Plovdiv - Athens (via overnight bus)
The remaining days in Plovdiv were spent enjoying its crazy sunsets and trying desperately not to pass out from the oppressive heat by imbibing as frequently as possible in Kapana - our neighbourhood of choice. We had a 16 hour bus ride lined up, that would bring us all the way down to Athens - leaving at 13:45 and arriving at 5:30AM. To say I was impressed by this bus (Arda Tur) would be an understatement - having to hunker in anywhere for 16 hours can be claustrophobic, but it makes a big difference when someone comes by with foods and snacks at regular intervals. They even had inflight (indrive?) entertainment with the same 3 Simon Pegg movies on loop or an assortment of Eastern European music videos, for which I have a penchant.
A day and a half in Athens
We ended up arriving a full half hour early in Athens at the ripe hour of 5AM. The sun had yet to rise, we were dropped off in what could basically be described as the middle of nowhere, as far as cities go, and fun fact: free and open wifi in Athens is, by my account, not even a rarity - it simply doesn't happen (not even at Starbucks! Blasphemy!) But, we managed to wander ourselves toward the right direction, passing a just-opening fish and meat market, until we could finally see the peak of the Acropolis to use as a guide. Not able to check-in to our Airbnb for another 5 hours, and having not really slept on the bus, we napped in shifts in the shadows of the Acropolis. Moments like that are what it's all about, no?
After checking in and getting a settled (re: unsweatified) we wandered about, catching the changing of the guards at the Parliament building, and taking in a few cold Mythos atop a mountain whilst watching the sun set over the city below.
The next morning, we headed up to the Acropolis around 10AM, which seemed like an ideal time weather and other visitor-wise. The scale and views alone were awe-inspiring.
Athens - Crete (via overnight ferry)
After the Acropolis, it was time to head over to Piraeus to buy tickets for the overnight ferry to Crete, where we will be making base for the next month. I am thankful to this boat trip for two reasons: 1) I love boats. 2) I now know what a muster point is (assembly points, for the plebs out there.)
It's an interesting thing, watching people try to entertain themselves on a 10 hour boat trip - some get excited when the onboard TVs are showing the live finale of Greek Survivor going so far as letting out an audible 'yelp' when it begins (this was my seat neighbour, by the by). Others spend longer than they normally do (I hope) getting that perfect selfie - I'm talking well over 30 minutes. Others find a quiet spot on the deck and watch the waves and stars pass by. Myself, I was a combination of the first and last - did you guys know there's some TV show (maybe movie) which stars very '90s people: Scott Wolf, Rachel Leigh Cook, and Eric McCormack? I do now.
But, by far the most entertaining part of the boat trip was watching the sun ascend at a dramatic rate over the sea horizon as we got closer and closer to the Cretan coast. Upon arrival in Heraklion, we hopped a bus to our beach-front apartment and settled in for a month of soothing wave sounds from our balcony.