We had another 11am ferry this morning, although the boat was much larger than the one we took to Paros. As we made our way to Athens on the four-hour ferry, I took advantage of the opportunity to catch up on some more reading.
About half-way through the trip, my seat mates, Gretchen and Morgan, taught me how to play Hearts, so we played cards for a little while to pass some time. I haven’t played cards since I was maybe eight or nine, when I’d play Rummy with my cousins and always lose. But, thanks to Gretchen and Morgan’s fantastic lessons, I have come to realize that I might not be as terrible at cards as I originally thought.
I don’t get motion sickness, but this ferry left me feeling a little dizzy, so I was very happy to reach our port, despite the forty-five minute drive back to our hotel.
When we checked back into the President Hotel, Carolina, Kristen, and I took the opportunity to check in to our flights online so we wouldn’t have to worry about it the next day. From there, Carolina and I headed back into the Athen’s city center. Although Kristen was starting to feel better (her fever had broke), she didn’t think she’d be able to make it through our 2.5 hour farewell dinner, so she opted to stay at the hotel, repack, and order room service for dinner.
In town, Carolina had a few stores she wanted to return to, one of which was a customized sandal shop. While she was having sandals customized for herself, I strolled along the surrounding Plaka streets to fin a few last-minute souvineers for people.
At 7:45pm, our tour group met in Monostiraki Square to walk to our dinner location. I didn’t catch the name of the restaurant, but it served traditional Greek cuisine, much like the food I’ve been eating this past week.
For appetizers, there was salad, fried zucchini, tzatziki sauce, stuffed grape leaves (which were surprisingly not bad), and some kind of beans. We had a choice for our main course, and I went, once again, with chicken souvlaki–not only because it is delicious, but also because I cannot think of a more appropriate final dinner in Greece. Finally, people had the choice of baklava or icecream for dessert, so I ended my night with a small piece of baklava. As I’ve come to expect from Greek food, it was all delicious–made even better by the unending caraffes of wine on each table. Yamas!
While we ate, musicians performed traditional tunes, and there were three dancers who kept popping in and out of the restaurant to entertain us. At one point, Alexandra started leading our group members (and other restaurant patrons) through group dances as well. Because I had so much fun learning some of these dances the other night, I would have loved to join. Unfortunately, we were squeezed into the corner table, and in the small restaurant, that left very little room for moving about onto the dance floor. It was still fun to listen to the live musicians and watch the dancing taking place.
Toward the end of our dinner, Alexandra said a few words into the mic, and presented each of us with a gift–a small bracelet from a local jewelry shop in Athens.
From there, the waterworks started. Many people were hugging and crying as they took their final pictures with friends. Because it was getting late and we were afraid of the metro closing for the night, we didn’t stay too much longer at the restaurant–just enough time to take a few photos with friends and our tour director.
We made it back to the hotel around 11:40, and I spent a little time in the lobby in order to use their wi-fi. Carolina and I chatted a little while downstairs, since she was not planning on sleeping at the hotel that night. She had a 2:45am transfer to the airport the next morning, and worried that she wouldn’t get up if she laid down at midnight. So we talked about the evening and our trip in general before I finally made my way upstairs to get a few hours of sleep. Afterall, tomorrow will involve a long day of traveling back home.