For the next few days, we continued to explore Athens on foot. We also managed to catch one of the guards at the Presidential Palace being checked out on his routine by a superior officer.

We also decided to take a day to find the Pireus ferry station, since we would be transferring to the island of Mykonos in a few days. We thought it would be helpful to know how long it takes to get there in a cab, and exactly where we would have to go, as we would be toting all of our luggage on the big day.

Turned out to be a fairly short ride, about $4 for the Uber, and things looked pretty straight-forward. After looking about a bit, we decided to go on up the coast a little and see if we could find a nice restaurant overlooking the water. A helpful cabbie was glad to show us one of his favorites.

Lunch with a view

Soaking up the Greek sunshine

With no other pressing concerns, we decide to continue walking along the seashore to get a better look at the coastal area.

Turns out the Pireus area is quite attractive, with several picturesque little coves like this one. We saw people boating and swimming, and just generally enjoying life. It looked like a pretty nice area to live in. Close to the city, but away from the tourist crowds.

I should say something about the food in Athens, since is was, in a word, sensational. It was also great that in that climate, everywhere we went had outdoor dining as an option.

I have zucchini pancakes and poached eggs for breakfast ...

... while Rita goes for Greek yogurt, granola, and fresh honey.

Just a few outside dining spots

Some of the selections at a tapas-style restaurant
Lamb kabobs

Suffice to say we never went hungry, and always enjoyed some beautiful surroundings.

The only other tour we booked for Athens was a trip out to see the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon. The story goes, there was a big fight over whether the new city was to be dedicated and named after the goddess Athena or the god of the sea, Poseidon. When Athena emerged victorious, it was decided to placate Poseidon by building him a big temple out on Cape Sounion, surrounded on three sides by the sea. They say this is why the Cape enjoys a fair amount of rain and is noticeably greener that Athens - Poseidon stills bears a bit of a grudge, I suppose.

The Cape is indeed quite beautiful.

Cape Sounion

And the what remains of the temple is also very impressive.

Temple of Poseidon

There's some more history/mythology associated with the Cape. It is believed that the King of Athens, Aegeus, killed himself here by jumping off the cliff.  In doing so, he gave his name to it, which is why it is known as the Aegean Sea. The story is that the King had waited at the cliff looking out to the sea for the return of his son, Theseus, and his army. Not wanting to wait until they docked, he had left instructions for Theseus to raise white sails rather than the black sails they set out to sea with if he had survived the battle.

Unfortunately, in all the excitement, he forgot to change the sails on his return. When he saw the black sails on the ship, Aegeus thought that Theseus had been killed by the Minotaur, and jumped to his death in a drama-queen-like fit of despair.

A cynical person may question whether Theseus "forgot", or just thought it a great opportunity to succeed to the throne if his father acted rashly.

Our tour was advertised as a sunset tour, which we were looking forward to because the sunsets on the Cape are supposed to be spectacular. We were disappointed when the guide told us the bus would be ready to leave about an hour before sunset, and seemed confused that we thought the "sunset tour" included actually seeing the sun set.

Our disappointment with the tour was soon swept aside by a bigger disappointment. I received an email from our ferry company informing us that the Speedrunner Jet we were booked on to leave in two days for Mykonos was cancelled, due to a strike called for that day by the Aegean Seamen's Association. In fact, there would be no ferry service at all that day from any company.

Since we were scheduled to check out of our AirBnB on that date, and had reservations to stay on the island, we were a little perturbed, to say the least.

I immediately started checking airfare to the island, which at the late date proved to be way too expensive for what was only going to be a two-night stay. Next, I tried to see if we could extend out stay in our current Athens apartment, but it was already booked. Fortunately, by the next morning we had found an apartment we could rent until it was time to go to Thessaloniki just about a half-mile from where we were staying. A pain, yes, but we wouldn't be homeless.

This was our first experience using our Trip Interruption/Cancellation Insurance, and it went very well. The ferry company refunded the full fare, but we were still out the cost of the AirBnB on Mykonos, plus we had to pay for the extra nights in Athens.

Much to our surprise, AMEX gave us no hassles at all. I called to open the claim, sent them the documentation they requested, and within ten days they had reimbursed us the full cost of the Mykonos room AND the rooms we had to book in Athens for our extended stay.

Oh well, extra days in an incredible city with loads of history and great food. We adjusted.

One of those extra days we spent walking around the Agora, and the Agora museum, which in some ways we actually enjoyed more than the Acropolis Museum. It was an open-air facility, with not as many exhibits and fewer people, so we were able to relax and take our time.

Airy, two-level museum

Who knew Voldemort was once in ancient Greece?

All in all, we really enjoyed our time in Athens. Even found time to track down one of Rita's favorite jewelers, Kouzoupis,and order a couple of handmade rings.

Well satisfied, we were ready to board the small plane that would take us to our next stop, the city of Thessaloniki in Northern Greece.

Our Chariot awaits.

Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece, in the Macedonia region, and named after Alexander the Great's half-sister. Find out more in the next post.

Follow the adventures of Jim and Rita in real time as they try out the roving retirement lifestyle on the podcast "Travels With Jim and Rita"