This morning was a "Free Day" where we had nothing planned until 2pm when the next tour bus picked us up to take us from Athens to Thessoloniki. There we would spend the rest of our vacation.
We awoke again at 7am for breakfast and another quick trip to the bank. This time it didn't take as long considering most was handled the day before.
Todays plan "WAS" to go as a group, walking down through the markets and shops down towards Zues Temple ruins. I still wanted to get some Geocaching in but didn't want to detour away from our activities. If we came within close proximity to a cache, then we'd wait while I found it and signed the log. That plan didn't last long!
After breakfast at the hotel, we walk over to Monastiraki Square and the shops. Right there was the first Geocache on my target and now was the best time. We've been by here twice in the evening so far when it has been crowded. Now it is morning and few locals are out. The cache was located by the steps of the Church of Panaghia Kapnikarea. I find and grabbed the cache, then turned to see
the others who continued to walk down the street through the shops. And to make things worse, I forgot a pen to sign the log with.
Church of Panaghia Kapnikarea
So I quickly head to one of the street venders and buy a used pen. Nobody had any new ones. Whatever works! I signed the log and replaced the cache.
Now I go down one of the narrow streets searching for the rest of my family. Nowhere to be seen. So we pull out our map and head towards the Zues Temple ruins several blocks away. The problem is not many street signs, plus everything is in GREEK!
After a little while we stopped and asked for directions and was pointed in the right way. Several blocks later, there we were.
Seeing the Arch, crossing the busy street, and looking for the entrance, we finally make it within the compound. We approached the massive columns. These things were huge and must have weighed tons. It's amazing to think they were built so many years ago without todays modern equipment. Off to the side were some remains of homes, bath houses, and others structures from both Greek and Roman times.
Zues Temple Remains
Now it's time to head back so we pick a street and start walking down. Wouldn't you know just a couple blocks later and we see the family! In and out of the shops just strolling along. By then it was nearly noon and we all were getting hungry. A nearby cafe, a quick bite, and off we went.
Everybody still wanted to go see Zues Temple, but I had to remind them that time was running out and we needed to head back to the hotel to meet our bus at 2pm! So as it turned out, the two of us that got left behind at the beginning, were the only ones that made it to see Zues Temple.
Back at the hotel we waited for the bus to pick us up. While we waited we browsed through the produce market just outside the hotels front door as well as some of the nearby shops. The bus finally showed up about an hour late. Once we loaded and headed out on the road to Thessoloniki, it was about 3:30 pm.
Along the 9 hour drive up between Athens and Thessoloniki is a little place called Thermopylae. If you ever saw the movie "300", this is where King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans held off the Persian army of Xerxes back in 480 B.C. Near the actual battle site, is a roadside monument dedicated to the Spartans. And better yet, there's a Geocache there too! After several hours of driving, we stop, take some photos and grab the Geocache.
Statue of King Leonidas
We finally arrived at our hotel in Tessoloniki way too late. Somewhere around 1:00 am. A quick shower, then sleep.
The produce market just outside the hotel in Athens.
This is my sisters favorite view.
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