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!

Barcelona

I changed my ships so many times this contract and while transhipping this particular time I found myself having a free day in beautiful Barcelona! I do remember coming here a while back so wasn’t too concerned about finding specific things to do. Instead I just jumped on a train and set off to see what I could find…

Didn’t take long to bump into this pretty amazing building called the Sagrada Familia. This was one huge temple designed by Gaudi. You would have thought an unfinished temple would have been disappointing at best but this thing was awesome to see.

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That’s part of it. I couldn’t fit it all in my lens (I think I got about 5% in… It’s pretty big!)

I did about 3 circuits of this building before I tried to purchase a ticket to go in… about a 5 hour wait so that idea was cancelled. So instead I trotted over to a market called St Josep La Boqueria and found a tasty stall called Alfonso Fruiteries where I picked up several smoothies… (they were super tasty so kept going back for more)

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After which I carried on walking until I was pretty much lost.

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Who’d have known… Barcelona’s bigger than I realised!

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Eventually I did come across a beach.

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Goodness knows what the temperature was at this point but I did stop to grab a burger and a drink, and then due to the excessive amounts of walking I had done I decided it was probably best to try and find my way back home.

I trekked back over to the train station and jumped on a train (I was a bit dubious about the direction but it turned out ok.)

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However, arriving at my home station, I discovered my ticket didn’t want to let me out. I had to shout over the gates to the attendant in the booth. He was Spanish (can you believe it) and so he decided to chat to me over the tannoy using his mic in his booth.

So the whole station could hear… which was nice.

However, it didn’t matter how loud he spoke, I still can’t understand Spanish. I was shouting back ‘English?’ (I also tried it in French too since I’d been getting good results earlier in the day by adding a dash of French into the Spanish conversations… This didn’t work.)

Eventually he came out and chatted… Me in French English… and him in Spanish.

We figured it out I think (or he was just bored) and he let me out….

… Where I was then accosted by the rest of the Spanish contingency in the station who had heard the commotion and about 5 people came over to offer me directions to wherever I was going.

I actually knew the way back but they were being quite insistent. So I politely took all their advice and wandered off back to my hotel in the wrong direction. I knew it was the wrong direction but was being polite.

I simply walked in a circle and back the correct way so they didn’t see…