I didn't really think about going anywhere else. There were several reasons for this:
- I wanted to go to a Greek speaking part of the world.
- They speak a dialect of Greek in Cyprus, which I'm nowhere near as good at understanding.
- Melbourne is too far away.
- I went to Athens when I was 15 and decided that it was the best city in the world. I should add that the only other city I'd been to at that point was London.
- I'd read and seen more about Athens than Thessaloniki (Greece's second city), so it seemed more familiar somehow.
There were two trains there, and one of the train drivers seeing that I was looking lost asked me where I was going. I told him, and he directed me to the other train. My first ever verbal exchange in Greek was actually a success. Even if I did stumble over the words.
On my way to the hotel, I stopped at a kiosk to buy a copy of the paper. This was one of the things I had been looking forward to - having the newspaper in my hand instead of on a computer screen.
The kiosks are a great idea - they're outdoor newsagents, dotted around all over the place and sell papers, magazines, cold drinks, crisps and chocolate. And they're open all day until late. It can't be that much fun being cooped up in one for all that time, though.
I bought a real paper every day, of course, and some of them came with free CDs and DVDs. One of them was a CD of Greek music by Yiannis Poulopoulos. Here's one of the lighter tracks for your delight and delectation.
It's called "I have a boat with sails". Even though I've found the lyrics on the internet, this song is taking me ages to work out - I understand all the words, but getting the sense of it is much harder to fathom than most of the Greek I'm used to. Which means that I need to spend some time on songs, something I've not thought of doing until now.
Anyway, more about my holiday (and language issues) later...