Next day we set off to explore the Plaka by daylight and explored the narrow streets and laneways of the old town beneath the Acropolis. After sampling ouzo in an ouzo bar – yes at 11.00 a.m.! – we caught one of the tourist buses and did a tour that took us to the Acropolis (which we didn’t climb thinking we might come back) and down to the port Piraeus. Beautifully warm sunny weather and a good reintroduction to Athens, which reminded us of Buenos Aires with it’s broken footpaths, graffiti and abandoned building sites. We couldn’t leave Athens without finding a Lukumades bar. We loved these Greek sweets when we were here before and we found a modern take on the old bars in the Plaka. Two enterprising young guys are filling them with chocolate and banana cream as well as the traditional honey and cinnamon… we preferred the traditional…. of course they too are accompanied by Greek coffee!!
We boarded the Minerva that afternoon. Then after unpacking found a taxi to take us to the old port, and found a taverna on the water’s edge where we had a plate of really fresh seafood, a Greek salad, and a rice dessert with more mastika! And of course Greek coffee.
The ship left Piraeus the next day at lunchtime and we arrived at the beginning of the Dardanelles early this morning. We got up early to see the entrance and to enjoy the sunrise over the Turkish countryside.
Our excursion departed from Cannakle at 9.30 and we bussed to a ferry that took us across the straight and off to the battlefields. Unfortunately we missed the intended ferry and had to wait for the next short which cut our visit short by a museum visit… but we managed to visit Anzac Cove (the site of the ceremony a couple of days ago), the cemetery at Lone Pine and other sites of the Gallipoli battle. With a grandfather who landed at Anzac Cove at 4.a.m. on 25th April 1915, in the first Australian contingent, it was a special moment to stand on that very beach just over 100 years later.