Piraeus is our penultimate port; after today we have a sea day before arriving in Venice for an overnight stop. We have booked a transfer to Athens for independent sightseeing and we're dropped by the Temple of Zeus. We decide to see that when we return for the pick-up and Simon navigates us to the Acropolis.
We approach via the theatres, one small and in poor repair bur with stone seats complete with backrests, the other large and intact and clearly still in use. It's a long, hot climb to the top and the higher we get the more people we encounter as the routes converge.
For me, the Parthenon is a big disappointment; it's too crowded and the restoration is too intrusive. Inside the Parthenon there's a crane and a two-storey portakabin. it's also incredibly hot and Alex complains incessantly - at least until we bump anto his friends Ander and Julen when he perks up.
Simon navigates through the narrow streets of the old city and I feel like we're in Mykonos again. I had not seen this side of Athens on previous trips and I prefer it. We encounter more ruins on the way but don't have time to go in. We reach the Temple of Zeus at 2.50 to find it closes at 3 and last entry was 5 minutes ago. Oh well. We've had our fill of ruins by now and we have a pretty good view through the railings. Alex buys a couple of weird balls from a street vendor that flaten when they land and then coalesce again, and we head for the pick-up point.
Back on board we all swim then Simon and I sunbathe while Alex swims with his friends. He wants to eat with them in the buffet tonight so Simon and I have a date. We explore the options for a pre-dinner drink but our favourte bar, Maharini's has been taken over by a scheduled gathering of Dorothy's friends and we don't fancy the sports bar or the 'English pub' so we go to Champagne Charlie's.
We manage to get a window seat in the Garden restaurant but the food's not great; Simon's chicken comes with cheese-filled tortellini and cubes of undercooked vegetables. To be honest, the food hasn't been the best, but the itinerary has more than made up for it.