Today I’m getting a taste of summer…96 degrees was the high, and it was sweltering. Driving around, I could barely see the mountains in the distance from all the smog. Traffic seemed worse than usual, and people drove even more erratically. I was told it was best to leave the city in the summer. I plan to.
In the meantime, the kids and I are trying to get in as much Athens sight-seeing while the weather is still bearable. Sunday found us riding the train downtown. (With Liam, riding the Metro is a must). I indulged my little railroad obsessive by taking us all the way to the end of the blue line. He sat glued to the window, counting how many platforms and which side the doors opened on to each station. Violet wasn’t too interested in sitting in her stroller. Hmmm…these little outings on the train are getting more challenging with her. But soon enough she zeroed in on some willing stranger to smile at. I bade my time laughing at the NEW AMAZING FLAVOR of chips being advertised.
Anyway, we finally made it to the end of the line, and after we disembarked, we watched the train go down the tunnel a ways, switch to the other track, and come back on the other side. This made Liam Very Happy.
Next on our itinerary, the National Gardens! As we exited the elevator at Syntagma Square, Liam tripped over a stray dog, and next thing I know he starts wailing that the dog bit him. I didn’t actually witness it — he had shoved his way to the front of the elevator without me so he could get off first. After inspecting his leg and barely finding a nick, I gave him a little lecture about waiting for me when he gets off the elevator. Then we had to sit on a bench while he wailed about the mean old dog. I explained that he probably just scared the dog, and that’s why it nipped at him. I told him my story about getting bit by a dog when I was a kid, a story he’s heard numerous times, and how scared it made me. Hearing my misfortune dried up his tears. Funny how that works.
We had to circumvent a demonstration to get the gardens…annoying. A man at the entrance trying to entice tourists to feed the pigeons approached us, and as I grimaced and motioned for him to go the other way, my poor little kiddo started wailing about the scary pigeons. Mom, protect me from the pigeons! Actually, I’m kind of with him there…rats with wings, I call them. Bleh.
Fifty paces in we stopped at this bench. And that’s as far as we made it. Note to self: Next time, wear close-toed shoes. Our feet got positively filthy, and Liam kept having to stop to empty his sandals. We decided to try the National Gardens some other day and move on to our next stop, Union Station. Oh boy, oh boy!
Ok, why am I not surprised? This very underwhelming building is the hub for all of the trains in Greece leaving Athens. A far cry from the beloved Union Station we visit in Kansas City. To be fair, the Greeks don’t call it Union Station, and they never claimed it was grand. But when a seven-year-old studies the subway map and sees a picture of a big train, he’s going to want to check it out. Or at least my seven-year-old does.