Leaving Athens for Marathonas

So, where was I before I felt the need to unburden myself after my abortive trip to visit the Temple of Artemis and the museum at Vravronas?

9 September

Slept in again after dinner out with Jennifer and Vince. Checked out of Hotel Attalos after breakfast of muesli, yoghurt and peaches, and a small piece of Halva with my third mug of tea, and went to Monastiraki Station to get the Metro to the airport to collect the car. Jenny and Vince had given me an unused ticket to the Airport. I checked with the ticket office if it was ok to use it – just in case, because I didn’t want to have a problem with the tourist police – and was surprised that the guy in the ticket office had to make a phone call to check. I couldn’t help thinking it wasn’t the way to empower your employees and help them feel trusted. Anyway, the ticket was fine and off I went.

I prefer to pick up and return the car to the airport, even though this time I’m not catching a plane. It saves having to drive in Athens. I headed off to Marathon to the Golden Coast resort where I had a timeshare booked for a week. I love the way with three days to organise this trip after making the decision and getting the time off work, everything just fell into place. This week amazingly was offered the day before I left home. The timeshare exchange company RCI called me to say that I was running out of time to use my week and I would lose it if I didn’t use it by November. I told the lovely lady that I was leaving for Greece tomorrow and unless she found me something there, and in the areas I wanted to visit, I would just have to lose it. She came up with a week in Marathon, so I was very happy to take it as I wanted to visit the tumulus of the Athenians who died in the battle of Marathon and the museum there, Vravronas, and the ancient site of Rhamnous. My sister and I had missed all that in 2008, because it was a Monday. (See my previous post “Don’t flip the bird at a Greek driver”).

Anyway, picked up the car, a cute little Suzuki Splash

20130915-120348.jpg and drove to Marathon. I missed the sign to the resort as it was covered in foliage, and took a turn to Marathon beach, passing the tumulus, so at least I’d be able to find that easily when I wanted to, but then wandered quite off the track, following signs that didn’t lead where I thought they would. Eventually I found the beach and parked the car near a few cafes and tavernas.

After a coffee to fortify myself, during which the waitress confirmed that she didn’t know where the resort was, I was leaving the cafe when I spotted a couple who were obviously tourists. “Excuse me,” says I, to which the man replied, “Pardon?” in plainly antipodean accents. “You’re Australian!” I said, somewhat excited and relieved. “New Zulland,” says he. “Close enough,” I replied. “You wouldn’t be staying at the Golden Coast, would you?” Well, they were, so I gave them a lift back and they showed me the way.

Later that evening, I took a walk to the beach, where there’s a paved walkway both north and south for a couple of kilometres in each direction, and went north to find a taverna for dinner. The faint smell of cat pee as I came toward it should have been a clue, but I was hungry and I didn’t know how much further the next taverna would be so I sat down. I didn’t want most of the meat dishes, because they tend to be very heavy on the meat, and not lots else, so I decided on the sausages, which looked in the picture on the menu like four or five tiny things the size of baby frankfurts. “Right, I think I can manage those,” I thought, and ordered them and a Greek salad. When the dishes were served, like many Greek meals, they were way too much for one person, and the “sausages” was one humongous one.

As foreboded by the aforementioned smell, four cats turned up and looked expectantly at me. Maybe that’s how the taverna owners feed them, by leaving it to the customers, but I didn’t want to encourage them, so I ignored them prowling around my table. The sausage was unexpectedly tasty, but I only ate about a quarter of it, so perhaps the cats got fed after all.