Clever me

Now Ive made the trip to Athens several times in the past. This includes a trip to visit the Acropolis as expected. I mean it’s one of those sights that you just have to visit. Climbing up all those stairs, in 40 degree plus heat, jostling with the other 10 million tourists that came up with the same plan as yourself. OK so I’m probably making it sound silly, when in actual fact it’s pretty amazing, however, after doing this once you don’t necessarily have the same urge to repeat the process.

This time I decided on a new way to sweat out a gallon of fluid, while getting to see the Acropolis from what I thought was a better angle. The port we docked at was only about 7 miles away from the site and so I grabbed one of the mountain bikes off the ship and set out on my trip.

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I’ve recently come to discover that riding a mountain bike on the road really is a waste of energy. I mean its called a mountain bike for a reason – and road bikes are called road bikes for a reason – but seeing as this was all that was available – I made do! Navigating round the Greek roads and hills was a bit of a game, but I did eventually find myself at the bottom of a hill that commenced with steps so I couldn’t ride any further. I forget the name of this hill, but it would soon become my vantage point.

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From the top I had what I decided was a much better view of the famous sight…

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I did feel it put the whole thing into a bit of perspective with the rest off the city, and then when you zoomed in a bit…

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… you get this lovely smug feeling while watching all the tourists crammed into 1 small holding when I have an entire hill top to myself! Maybe thats just me being antisocial?!

After spending a bit of time at the top, taking in the views and eating my lunch, I then had a quick whizz round a few other ruins in the city, before navigating my way back to the ship…

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… and arriving in a sweaty mess, ready for afternoon clinic!

A wedding

Nothing too unusual about this I guess. Apart from it wasn’t in England? So 2 of my lovely mates (one of whom was Argentinian) were getting married in Buenos Aires – Lydia and Pazi. Small issue of it taking place in the middle of my 4 month contract. However, a little sweet talking to the office managed to get me the time off to fly from Auckland to Argentina and back again to join another ship. Logistics sorted and off I went.

Never having been to Argentina before it was always going to be a little surprise when I arrived. The smells were all different, the place just looked busy, the people all looked happy, but most of all… I realised no-one could speak English. It was Spanish or charades. Take your pick.

My Spanish = zero. Charades… Thanks.

I did thankfully have a screenshot of the name of the hotel and a few Peso’s so jumped in a cab and got moving. Arriving at the hotel, I met the chap in charge who could speak English… phew!

After a bit of chat, with him explaining the bus routes, I was back out exploring the place. I had pretty much 24 hours alone before the rest of the gang started turning up, which would equate to the start of drinking alcohol and then little if any sight seeing. I jumped on the next bus and got moving…

1st Stop: La Boca.

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How do you even describe this place? It felt like a Carnival town with colours popping out at you everywhere you look. A short walk further on you find yourself facing the Bombonera – the football ground for the Juniors.

With not much time to spare I carried on moving. Back on a bus and found myself walking round some old cellars at El Zanjon. The guide was giving us a nice history of the place, explaining how all the immigrants turned up from Europe…

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As much as I wanted to stay and chat, I carried on walking…

I found myself walking to the Japanese gardens, which was where a lovely insect decided to bit down hard on my Achilles and make me bleed everywhere…

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Then onto the Museo Evita, and further still to the Floralis Generica:

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I’m sure I was over my recommended steps for the day, but carried on nevertheless… Onwards to the Hipodromo:

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There were actually several other touristy sightseeing places I visited, but the amount of photos is getting silly…

I popped out that night to see one of the brides for a drink over in Palermo. Taking a picture of the Obelisco on the way to the subway…

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The next day… and sightseeing stopped…

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Not to worry… the main event is the wedding! We had a couple more days to bum around Argentina before we arrived at the pre wedding party the day before the wedding, which took place in Tigre. We drank, we jumped in the pool, we decorated things, we drank a bit more and we ate food. We met the rest of the Argentinian wedding party, who could also speak no English… More charades.

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We had also purchased lodgings in the middle of the jungle about a 45min walk from the wedding house. Walking through a jungle, drunk, pitch black, with a bunch of other people who are in the same state at 2am is quite fun I have to admit…

The next day, feeling a little less than 100%, the wedding commenced.

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It really was a beautiful wedding. These people love their food, and drink, and a good party. There was more than enough of all the above to keep a small town happy for a month.

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The brides were loving it – as were all the grandma’s…

… and if you weren’t involved in the 1st dance… don’t you worry…

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The only problem was that it had to end.

I’ll leave you with the poster I created with the signatures of some of the wedding party…

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