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Partytime!

Last night, I met some people who read this blog regularly.  It always cracks me up when I run into people in the Stuttgart area who have read my rag.  They usually notice Bill first, because I make a point of putting a picture of him in all of my posts.  I put Bill’s pictures in the blog because it’s a running joke that started a few years ago.  Bill and I share a lot of inside jokes.  It’s part of our collective charm, I guess.  The truth is, Bill is low key and not overly fond of being photographed.  He’s become more tolerant because I often manage to get decent shots.

We met the readers at a party Bill and I attended last night.  Our host was one of Bill’s former co-workers, from the time when Bill was here as an Army officer working for EUCOM.  Bill’s former co-worker is retired, like Bill is, and works as a contractor, also like Bill.  I don’t know the guy that well, although we did attend the same Lyle Lovett concert back in March 2009 at the Liederhalle.  His parties are apparently legendary, though, and now that I’ve attended one, I can see why.

We arrived late in the afternoon.  A crowd had already gathered around the grill, where an impressive spread of a variety of meats were being cooked.  We had salmon, chicken, pork, lamb, and beef, as well as an array of sausages made of venison and elk.  There were lots of side dishes, too.  I wish I had gotten the recipe for the corn casserole.  That was delicious!

I sat down and started chatting with people.  There were only a few there that I knew.  After we’d been there for a little while, a couple walked in.  One guy, who hasn’t worked with Bill, took one look at him and said, “The Overeducated Housewife!”  And Bill smiled and pointed at me, which made me laugh.  The guy’s wife came over and gave me a big hug.  I have to admit, Bill is the face of my travel blog… despite the fact that he usually blinks when people take his picture.

Could my Bill’s head be turning like Spongebob’s after he was on a commercial?  Not likely.

We really had a good time last night.  I don’t always do well at parties because I either get carried away and run my mouth too much or I feel shy and uncomfortable.  But we were hanging out with a couple I knew from prior events hosted by Bill’s soon to be former company.  We just sat around and chatted about life in the United States.  The couple we spent the most time talking to last night will be heading back to the States after a long stint in Germany.  I am a little sad to see them go now.

A few of my friends who arrived in 2014 have already PCS’d out.  We thought we might have to move ourselves; but it seems we have a new lease on life here… for the time being, anyway.  I’m not complaining, even though I will miss my friends.  The truth is, I’d miss them anyway, since we wouldn’t be going where they are going.  I am very happy that we don’t have to move, although it’s now become clear that even if we had moved, it would not have been back to America.

One thing I noticed while sitting on our host’s balcony was that his neighborhood is a bit densely populated.  Consequently, we noticed quite a few locals passing the party and looking over at us with curiosity.  I saw more than a few expressions of what appeared to be disdain or disapproval.  Granted, our group was large and perhaps noisier than what they’re used to.  But then Bill went to fetch our car and noticed that one of our host’s neighbors was also hosting a gathering and they were as noisy as we were.  In a couple of weeks, we’re supposed to attend a BBQ thrown by our neighbors.  I wonder if people will be giving us the stinkeye if we’re partying with locals.

Speaking of stinkeyes.  I keep meaning to write about this.  Our house sits next to a very large field.  We have a wall of windows and the rolladens are usually up.  Sometimes, when we’re eating dinner, people will pass by.  Many times, they have dogs with them, which make my dogs go berserk.  I notice that as they pass and my dogs go nuts, these looky lous will stop and gawk at us.  I’m usually standing there in my nightgown, trying to wrestle the dogs away from the window so they aren’t too disruptive to our neighbors.  The passers by will just stand there and stare, causing the dogs to bark more and me to give them one of my trademark death ray glares.  It’s probably funny for them to see that.  Maybe that’s why they stare.  Or maybe they wonder why our dogs aren’t trained or I’m not dressed.  I wonder what they’d do if I mooned them…  We might get a visit from the authorities.

I wasn’t actually planning to write about last night.  I didn’t take any pictures.  Someone asked if I would write about the party and I said, “Why would I do that?”  I figure what goes on at a party should stay at a party.  I also figured most people wouldn’t be interested.  But since I know I do have a few regular readers who were partying with us last night, I decided I might as well write.  Besides, nothing salacious happened, other than being on the receiving end of a few disapproving looks from the host’s neighbors.  You can get those anywhere at any time going about your regular business, right?  The food and company were great and we had a fantastic time.  Bill is now picking up a used freezer from his soon to be former colleague.  Maybe later today, we’ll have a new culinary experience or something.  Or… maybe not.

Thanks again to everyone who reads my blog.  I mainly write it to stay productive and pass time.  It is gratifying to know that some people like it and find it useful and/or entertaining.  I’m not doing this for fame or recognition, but I have to admit it does tickle me when we get recognized.  😀

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Welcome to Athens… now get lost!

After our cab dropped us off and we dropped our bags, Bill and I wandered around Athens for a few hours.  Our hotel happened to be very close to the Acropolis.  Even better, it was close to the Acropolis metro station, which turned out to be a very lucky thing.  We started walking into the shopping district near our hotel and bumped into a few SeaDream folks who were no doubt killing time in Athens.

We stopped for lunch at a nice looking restaurant.  When we sat down, the outside area was practically deserted.  We had our pick of tables.  I ordered souvlaki again, because I can’t get enough of it as well as some water and Mythos beer.  We were waiting for our food and listening to cheesy Greek pop when suddenly an enormous swarm of people descended on the cafe like locusts.

It turned out another huge cruise ship was in town and these folks were part of a large tour group led there by a guide.  They all had little numbers stuck to their chests, identifying them as Costa cruisers.

I also noticed a small group sitting two tables away.  An older lady was with them; we’d seen her in the port.  I think she was a tour guide.  So obviously, I have a knack for picking restaurants where tour guides frequent.

When our food arrived, I noticed the vegetables that came with mine had mushrooms in it.  I passed the veggies to Bill and watched with amusement as the hardworking waitstaff handled the sudden crowd.

Bill just before the big crowd hit…

 

I would have expected to see a tampon machine or a condom dispenser in the restaurant’s bathroom… but this place was selling Flashdent, which is supposed to be used on your teeth.

After lunch, Bill and I wandered around some more and somehow got way off the beaten path.  It was hot outside and I needed a WC.  I looked around, but didn’t see the Acropolis anywhere.  Suddenly, I was very nervous.  I have a really good sense of direction and rarely get lost, but I was feeling a little lost in Athens on that first afternoon.

Rugs!

We were starting to get lost at this point…

We finally passed Syntagma and I spotted a metro station.  I suggested to Bill that we go inside and find the Acropolis station.  It turned out we were only two stops away, though we did have to change trains after the first stop.  I was very impressed by Athens’ metro.  It only has two lines, but it was very clean and easy to figure out, unlike the metros I’ve used in Milan and Paris.

Once we got off at the Acropolis station, we easily found the hotel and went up to our room, which was a comfortable standard room.  I immediately took a great shower.  Seriously, the best thing about our hotel room in Greece was the shower, which heated up quickly and had excellent water pressure.  I was in a much better mood after freshening up.

 

The bed.

 
 

Got to love a disinfected toilet.


Nice view? 

After resting for awhile, we ventured back out in the Athens sunshine and eventually stopped for dinner at an outdoor cafe, where there was a trio of musicians entertaining everyone with jazz.

Bill was looking for a good dinner, but I was craving orange juice…  This place had it freshly squeezed!  I bet that’s heavenly in the dead of summer.

Once the musicians moved on, a bunch of motorcyclists drove past with black balloons tied to their bikes.  We found out they were protesting something.

The waiter asked where we were from.  I said, “America.”  He gave me a funny look that said, “No kidding…”  We clarified for him, even though in a couple of months, we won’t be North Carolinians anymore.  I enjoyed a very nice fish dish…

I think it’s hard to go hungry in Athens.

Hadrian’s Arch…

I was wearing shorts, so I didn’t feel right about entering the holy place…

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