After almost 6 weeks of traveling, the 2 of us were like a well-oiled machine and proved to be quite the team in Athens. Having only 2 hours to find a room and see the Acropolis before sunset would not have been possible otherwise. We found the metro within minutes from the ferry as well as the stop for the Acropolis, which conveniently, was also a direct line to the airport in the morning, and within a half hour walk, situated in a sweet little room with a wrap around balcony and proud of our accomplishment. Athens seemed similar to Rhodes but way more agreeable and we probably could have done with a night or 2 more if we didn’t have an 8AM flight for Prague. Unfortunately, we had just missed the cut off time for The Acropolis and had to scurry for hilltop vantage points to get a better view. To our utter amazement, what did we find but yet another ridiculous, romantic setting! To think I had planned on making this trip solo. I would have spent all of these moments whining, wishing I had that special someone by my side to share it all with. Lucky us. We watched the full moon make a grand entrance and the acropolis slowly light up and then we strolled right up to another adorable romantic restaurant and laughed about how easy this trip has gone for us. Given the circumstances, it could definitely have gone horribly wrong! Starving and wanting to get the most out of our last Greek meal, we were once again told by the waiter that we couldn’t order any more food because what we had ordered would be more than enough. LOL! Would you EVER have a waiter telling you that in the US? I think not!
Prague was a sweet surprise. For as big a city as it is it lives more like a little village and coming from weeks of island life, made for an easy transition. We had fun navigating our way through the spotless Prague subways and were greeted with a very warm welcome halfway down the street by my dear friend Oury. We first met in Sipidan, Borneo where we spent time scuba diving and teaching the local fisherman to snorkel and respect the coral and then a few years later met up with my friend Ewan in Mexico to swim with whale sharks. Now we’re standing in his beautiful apartment in Prague, windows wide open overlooking the city where you can hear a pin drop, getting to know his gorgeous little girl, and watching Simon take charge in the kitchen to make us all traditional Greek coffee! As I’m thoroughly enjoying this moment, Oury looks over at me, giving me the nod of ‘well done’ approval look. Insert big smile here. We spent the day sightseeing on the river with a boat cruise drinking delicious dark beer on an empty stomach which made us all very sleepy, then stuffed our bellies with ghoulash and heavy, rich Chech dishes that were SO GOOD and took lots of filter crazy pictures with Simon’s camera. Our evening felt like old times when I was going to school and living in Rotterdam. Friends dropped by, we sat around and watched the sunset cozy on his couch, nibbled on snacks of cheese and olives and crackers and wine and filled the night with great conversation. Simon and I made tentative plans, like we had made on numerous occasions on this trip, to get up early and go for a run, but we never did. At 7am I look over and Simon is out of bed ready to make it finally happen! We did it! We ran around Prague for a good 45 minutes and found ourselves right in front of the castle and cathedral with not a soul around! It was almost like we were trespassing, a guilty feeling for having it all to ourselves. It was magnificent and made seeing it later with Simon’s brother Jason and his wife Vivien and all the hundreds of other tourists that much more rewarding. It’s like we had a little Prague secret. We came to a fast halt when we hit a farmers market and cooled down with fresh strawberries and a hot cup of coffee, gloating a bit about how great that run just was! Oury had a busy day of sightseeing with his little girl so Simon and I set off to maybe get a hairdo. Five minutes out we found a salon that could dye my hair and cut his right then and there. We committed, and I guess we must have looked pretty ratty since she wouldn’t let me leave the chair without a cut myself. Now we had to make a little haste to get our stuff and meet up with his brother and wife at the Mosaic Hotel and we found them just as they were checking in. Thinking they might want to grab a quick nap or something before hitting the town, nope, they were keen on making the most of it and off we went, ravaging the streets with the Potter’s! The next 2 days were filled with lots of eating and drinking everything, walking to every viewpoint, checking out photography exhibits and making use of Jason’s makeshift extension arm for his camera so we could document everything. It was a lot of fun and we finished on our balcony overlooking the corner liquor store with a table full of yummy snacks and empty bottles of wine. We somehow turned going down for more wine into a speed competition and Jason lead the way with his camera as we video taped from up above. I think the fastest time may have been under 3 minutes? It made for good times, tons of laughs and a superb finish to our incredible journey that started with a complete leap of faith! To all those who thought it was a crazy idea, we made it!
Picture credits: Simon and Alice