Europe Trip 2012 Day 15 (July 6, 2012): Touring Athens With Our Driver Niko

Sometimes things happen for a reason. That was the thought that we all went to bed with knowing that our original plan had fallen apart. We received a note yesterday that our excursion which was to take us to the Athens City Center had been cancelled due to mechanical issues. Our original plan was to get dropped off, shop and eat. So we woke up this morning at around 9AM ordered some room service (cereal, fruit, pastries, and coffee) and got ready for the day.

My parents and Ally booked a Best of Athens tour that had them going to the Acropolis and a few other sights in Athens. Without a plan Jake, Amy, Jenn and I walked to through the cruise terminal and found a gentleman (later we found out his name was Niko) who approached me and asked if we were looking to see the sights. I said yes and he made an offer that we accepted to have him drive us around for the day. I think we were all a little hesitant given it was a third of the price we were planning on spending on the excursion.

We went with Niko who pulled up his Black Chevrolet Cruze and began to drive us into Athens. Out of nowhere he says he needs to stop at the bank so we went to the bank with him and waited ten minutes or so until he came back and we were back on our way. None of us were totally sold on Niko at first but the good news is he turned out to be a really nice old man who had broken english but some funny stories nonetheless.

We got to the Acropolis at around 11AM and the sun was shining and it had to be at least 90 degrees outside. We walked around took in all the amazing views of both the Acropolis and the surrounding area of Athens. For Jenn and I it was especially surreal being their four years ago and never expecting to come back especially this soon it was pretty incredible to be back. We spent around an hour at the Acropolis and took a ton of pictures and then went back to find Niko. We honestly weren't sure if he was still there but sure enough we found where he dropped us off and he pulled right up and picked us up. Talk about efficiency.

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On our way back to Piraeus (Athens Port) we talked to Niko about finding us a place to eat lunch. He took us to a beach front restaurant where they only spoke Greek. So Niko walked us into the restaurant and showed us all the fresh fish options and literally ordered for us. He ordered us fresh shrimp, calamari, and a fresh sea bass to share. We also got a bottle of white wine and a greek salad to start out with. The food was some of the best fish I have ever had and everyone at the table agreed. Both Amy and Jake are not big fish fans and even they found the food to be delicious. You couldn't beat the views nor the experience. It felt like an authentic Greek meal and I am so glad we got to experience it because it was one of the best meals on the trip.

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From the restaurant we walked about ten to fifteen minutes to get back to the cruise port and back onto the ship. We spent the few hours before dinner to rest and relax in our cabin and to get ready for dinner. We went down to dinner back in the main dining room and had a nice meal even with a menu that wasn't one of the best. Jenn got Pasta with Marinara Sauce and I had their Talapia. The desert was actually really good tonight as both Jenn and I got their Banana Crème Brule which was fantastic. After dinner we went to the show for the night which was Neal Austin who is a magician comedian and he was really entertaining. It was by far the best show we have seen so far on the cruise.

After the show Jake, Ally, and I went to the casino to play craps while Amy and Jenn went to go get drinks and watch the Karaoke Show that was going on. After that we all called it a day after what turned out to be a fantastic day in Athens