It was late morning when I arrived at the Enattica Suites, a lovely new boutique block of holiday apartments hidden down a cobbled back street just a few minutes stroll from the lively Monastiraki Square. To my delight, directly opposite the hotel were a row of needlecraft stores, lace makers and bead shops – my heaven! If it weren’t for the aircraft baggage limit on my suitcase and the knowledge that I still had 56 days of lugging said suitcase around, I could have spent all my spending money right there!
The sun was blazing and the 32 degree heat was dry with very little breeze. While the weather was a little intense to be out exploring ruins, it was ideal for aimlessness wandering around the bougainvillea draped streets and alleyways so I took immense pleasure in doing that. I walked for hours, enjoying the sun on my skin and absorbing the sights, sounds and sensations, taking note of where the key landmarks were, memorising the restaurants that I wanted to dine during my stay and trying to make friends with every street cat that crossed my path!
By late afternoon the 30+ hours of flying and transit with minimal sleep, combined with the heat, the walking, and that celebratory cocktail I had indulged in at lunch were all too much for me, so I returned to the apartment for an afternoon nap. I had intended to rest for 30 mins but 3 hours had passed when I finally lifted my head from the pillow. I was quite disappointed in myself for sleeping the evening away -until I opened the curtains to see the sun still shining brightly in the sky – I hadn’t even missed sunset!
I dressed and dashed over to Monastiraki Square which was pulsing with energy and excitement – people were everywhere, my senses were overwhelmed by the wonderful aromas drifting and swirling together from sweet scent of waffle cones and gelato to the meaty tang of gyros and souvlaki. In the hills beyond the square, the Acropolis was lit up and as the sun dropped lower in the sky and the moon began to rise the sky turned from blues and pinks to a rich, velvety indigo that was simply breathtaking.
I made my way towards the restaurant strip that I had spotted in my early wanderings and sat down at a little table right on the streetfront where I chatted with the wait staff and enjoyed a traditional dinner of Gemista (stuffed peppers) accompanied with Ouzo and Orange juice (yum!). I finished my meal at around 11pm, the city was still pumping with people and part of me desperately wanted to stay out and explore some of the rooftop clubs and laneway bars I had spotted, but that super long flight was still getting the better of me, so I decided to rain check my night on the town to day 2 and get a good night’s rest.