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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

10/14: Market Day & Getting Robbed in Athens

As there was only one area of Athens we still wanted to see on our last day, we had a lazy morning in the hostel. Steven took a couple bags of souvenirs we had accumulated along the way since leaving home two months ago to the nearby post office to mail home while I worked feverishly trying to get a post done to send out as I was so far behind. (Pretty sad state of affairs when the parcel, that was theoretically shipped by sea, arrived home safe and sound in Denver a week ago and I am only now getting around to write about that day!)

Belated pictures of our hostel accommodations; our abode for four days was called the Master Suite: A little on the cosy side to be labeled a suite but it was all our own.
Our room was so tiny I had to store my bag in the bathroom hallway!
This was the hostel's little-used communal living room and where I spent a lot of time early each morning and late into the night writing the blog, catching up with emails and working on HOA matters from afar, when we weren't out seeing the sights all day, that is!
We had brekafast here every morning that was included in our room rate.
A little after noon, we headed out to the Athens Flea Market but there was nothing that appealed to us there and the prices were outrageous.

Surprisingly, we hadn't seen many men play backgammon in the hundreds of cafes we passed as I had thought it was a very popular game in Athens. I used to while away many a hour playing it with my mother but haven't played the game in umpteen years. 

Next, we hit the Varvakeios Agora or the Central Market located close to Syntagma Square which we had already seen. Those familiar with our travels these last few years know how much we enjoy discovering the markets in towns we visit. There were open-air stalls selling fruits and vegetables – we stocked up on apples as the first one I bought was delicious and cheap. We almost always have apples as a ready snack to munch on while we go about our days so we have come to appreciate a good golden delicious or granny smith apple.

This obviously was the best place to buy olives – we had never seen so many vats and so many varieties of olives in our lives before! Olives aren’t my thing but I sure appreciated their visual beauty if not their taste.

Not sure what this unusual looking vegetable was. I should have known too as, eons ago, I worked in a fruit and vegetable store while in university.

From its very pungent odors, we could finally determine where the meat and fish market was! In this neoclassical covered market built between 1870 and 1844 and then renovated in 1996, there were suspended carcasses and shimmering fish on marble countertops.
Market photos:

The woman was smart to stand back as the butcher wielded his meat cleaver at a furious pace.

I could figure out why the fishmongers wore galoshes as we sloshed through puddles of water! I wished I had my own pair of galoshes then rather than river shoes that would absorb the stench. Oh well, at least I could try and wash them out later.

Paper was used to wrap fish in once it was purchased.

Even though we weren’t shopping for food, the lively, loud and bustling central market was a picturesque place to spend some time.
We entered a small church right by the market and it had one of the darkest interiors of any church we have ever seen. 
The frescoes had been made almost entirely black because of centuries of lighting candles to loved ones. Some may have thought the interior gloomy but I thought it added to the air of mystery. I think the church was called Paraskeous but am unsure.

Our flight to the island of Santorini in southern Greece wasn’t leaving for several hours still but we decided to collect our bags from the hostel and head to the airport and wait there rather than sitting in one of the parks. We thought that would be more relaxing as we wouldn’t be worrying getting to the airport in time, checking in our bags, etc. However, our trip on the Metro to the airport was anything but relaxing in the end. 

We have traveled though much of the world and like to consider ourselves to be pretty savvy and aware travelers. We had read of every trick used by thieves and pickpockets but thought we had taken all the necessary precautions. It was just like in the movies: we were in a very crowded metro compartment; there had to have been a group of at least six or seven men and women of all ages that effortlessly, in hindsight of course, separated both of us as soon as we entered the compartment; they boxed both of us in toward the back away from the door and each other, while making sure they were 'helping' with our bags and trying to distract us asking us where we were from and going. We didn't even realize until later what was going on. We just thought a few people were rude about not moving to give us space but one or more of them went right through the zipper pull in Steven's fanny pack and took a couple of hundred dollars he had stashed in an inside zippered pocket in his fanny pack. He didn't even notice a thing until later - the thieves were that good.

In the end, we knew how lucky we had been that his credit and debit cards and passport were also not stolen as that would have left us in an awful pickle. Yes, he lost money but that was all, luckily. It made him reconsider moving his fanny pack to his front from the side and to carry less cash in the easier accessible zippered pockets. It was only a day later that he realized one of the thieves had tried to also cut the fanny pack off but was unable to because it had steel cables in the straps. That was why I had bought his fanny pack and my purse, even though I rarely use it on the trips, from Daymaker Bags of Santa Barbara as they were slash proof.

Our flight on to the island of Santorini was luckily uneventful and we were met at the airport by the owner who had kindly offered to pick us up. Look for more carefree posts ahead.

Posted from Luxor, Egypt on October 25th, 2016.


  1. They are Rosa Blanca and Black Beauty Eggplants. I have seen both of them growing in Denver. What a wonderful and interesting market place. Lil Red

  2. Yikes! Scary being robbed. Thank goodness that is all they got.

  3. That sucks about the robbery! I hate going on the trains especially in Rome. I have developed a persona for that. I put on my killer face and shove right back and hold on to my purse like there is no tomorrow. I also start speaking my language as if to myself..sends a she's once crazy chick..even while l am dying laughing inside. Thank god they didn't slash the pack. Tomorrow we have to take the metro in Rome..I'm ready :-) . You'll be ready for them next time.

  4. Oh no, so sorry to hear about the pickpockets, glad they they only got some cash rather than passports.


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