We set out the next morning with a limited agenda, having pretty much exhausted the sightseeing opportunities we were interested in during our last stay in Athens. We decided head out from our neighborhood towards Filopappou Hill (which overlooks the Acropolis) to see if we could find the Prison of Socrates, where that famous Philosopher was purportedly jailed after his trial when he was found guilty in 399 BC of two charges: asebeia (impiety) against the pantheon of Athens, and corruption of the youth of the city-state and subsequently condemned to death.
The death sentence was the legal consequence of asking politico-philosophic questions of his students, resulting in the two charges of moral corruption and of impiety. Found guilty and consistent with then common legal practice, he was to be executed by drinking a poisonous beverage of hemlock.
We walked uphill for some distance, traversing neighborhoods that bordered the parklike setting of Filopappou Hill and after some time and distance, came upon an entrance to the park with a weathered map of the vicinity which soon informed us that we were hopelessly off course.
It would have been nice to view the caves, even if Socrates may not have actually spent time in them but deciding to cut our losses we circled back around in the direction we’d come from and eventually found some non-Socratic ruins and a modern stage like structure in a clearing at the base of a steep cliff.
Careful not to disturb the woman who was sleeping there peacefully (she didn’t appear to be homeless and we couldn’t for the life of us figure out why she chose that spot to nap) we continued on, reaching the eastern slopes where we encountered a couple doing yoga in sight of the Acropolis, an inspiring location if there ever was one.
Finally, we descended to Dionnysiou Areopagitou, the main pedestrian walkway that comprises the southern border of the Acropolis and walked down to that part of the Plaka that we had become so familiar with during out prior visits.
Feeling a bit peckish, we stopped in at the gyro/souvlaki stand we’d eaten at before to get our last taste of that bit of Greek goodness before we left for France. We ordered one souvlaki and one gyro and a drink apiece, the total tab coming to 7.6 euros, a bargain for food as good as this.
Having exhausted our sightseeing options and knowing we had a big travel day ahead of us, we opted to just return to the apartment and spend the rest of the afternoon achieving a vegetative state that we may not soon again emulate.
With plenty of wine left over from the day before, some English-speaking channels on the flat panel, and our books to get lost in, the afternoon passed in a pleasant haze.
Dinner presented a minor challenge; it being Sunday that very good restaurant we visited the day before was closed as was the market. Also, it would be a shame to not have a last meal out and so we cast about for options. We’d walked past a place on Siggrou Blvd, the main drag a couple of blocks away when we walked from the metro station. It had decent reviews and best of all, was open and so off we went to Deliolanis Syggrou.
Open seven days a week and 24 hours a day, we’d also pick up something from here the following morning on the way to the airport. Essentially a bakery/cafeteria, they had rudimentary wait service and a robust take out option, which was the route we took. We picked up stuffed tomatoes, meatballs and rice and of course, another bottle of wine, all for the princely sum of 9 euros. With the food nicely boxed, we returned to the apartment for one last Greek feast.
A last thought on our food experience in Greece. Overall, we really enjoyed the quality and quantity of the offerings we encountered but as we have experienced in our travels here and in other countries, variety becomes a problem. Basically, you end up eating the same ten dishes throughout your stay (Souvlaki, Grilled Whole Fish, Moussaka in Greece, Wurst, Schnitzel, and Sauerbraten in Germany, etc.) and it gets a bit boring. One thing you don’t ever get tired of in Greece is the quality of the produce, almost always locally grown, fresh, and full of flavor.
Bedtime came before we knew it as we needed to be up early to catch the metro out to the airport for our flight to Marseille. We’d had to move the flight up a day to take advantage of a lower cost non-stop on Aegean Air (530 euros for the two of us) which was not available the next day. Our familiarity with the metro system made navigation easy, and the ride out went smoothly.
Our only hitch was a sighting of Jenny Manetta; at the last minute we decided to switch which bags we’d carry on and which ones we’d check. We proficiently managed the hasty re-packing of bags with one exception; we forgot to put into checked luggage the plastic bottle full of Permethrin bed bug solution to treat the sleeping bags with prior to hiking the Camino we’d purchased at REI before the trip.
Of course, they caught it during inspection and offered us one of two options, toss it in the trash or go back to check the bag and repeat the whole passport, security ordeal. We opted to cut our losses and toss it out, 25-dollars down the proverbial drain. We’d later find the same type of product at a pharmacy in Montpellier for half the price, but that is a story for another day. And more good days were on the horizon with Montpellier and Francois beckoning.