I am packing up now and getting ready to head home to Dubai.
I have a few things to say about Athens that I previously haven't mentioned. Overall, the people here are great, but there was the occasional person that was put off by me asking directions. I had a map, but most of the streets don't have street signs, so in the nicest way I could, a few times, I had to ask someone who looked local for directions. The reaction to the question ranged from pure disgust while shooing me away to a really nice smile and pointing me in the correct direction.
I spoke with an American family staying the same hotel and they told me they were kicked out of a cab for asking the cab driver to take a different route than he was taking.
The Riots really put a quash on me going out at night. I didn't want to get caught in the middle of one and didn't dare take any pictures as I had already been taken to the police station for questioning because I was walking around during the day with my camera taking pictures. I did see a bit of it from the hotel at about 10 pm last night and it is mad that these people would destroy their own city like this, but at least they have some sort of gripe and they aren't doing it because the Broncos won the Superbowl.
The Hotel was great. The front desk people were very helpful. Same thing with the taxi company that I used. They admit they are a bit more expensive than the other taxi companies, but they all speak English and they give you the rate before hand, so it doesn't matter what route they take, it costs the same. They also took me on a route to point this out to me and to tell me how to get there from the hotel.
To anyone who might plan a trip to Athens, if you are coming by yourself, just come in for 2 or 3 days. It is more than enough time to hike around the city and see what you would want to see. If you are with someone, I guess you could plan an extra day or two. I would tell you to eat at the local restaurants, but that seems inevitable since in all of my hiking around, I only saw one McDonalds and the Hard Rock Cafe. Both of which were right in the major rioting area.
If you have an unlocked phone, buy a SIM card and a few Euros of talk time. This came in handy when I wanted to talk to the people at the hotel desk or call the taxi company. I spent 11 dollars and got enough talk time to last me.
They have really maintained their culture here and I would say the majority of people do not speak English, I wish I had learned a little bit of the language so I could have gotten my point across for certain things, like "where is the toilet?" "thank you" "hello" "goodbye" "where can I get a beer", etc. . .
Overall it was a good trip and I look forward to doing more quick trips like this as I have the opportunity. Next up Perth Australia, Singapore, and Jakarta Indonesia for work.