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Day One: Athens, Greece

Posted on Saturday, May 5th, 2007

Dave!Oh look, I'm in Greece!

My vacation kind of snuck up on me, because I've been working like a maniac for the past four weeks trying to get all my work caught up before I go. I had a vague notion that the trip was somewhere on the horizon but, until I packed my suitcase for the drive over to Seattle, it wasn't really "real" to me. But after an hour at SeaTac International, a 3-1/2 hour flight to Chicago, a 1-1/2 hour layover, a 9-hour flight to Munich, a 1-hour layover, and a 2-hour flight to Athens, it started getting pretty real, and here I am 18 hours later...

Dave in Athens
Hello from Athens, Greece, y'all!

I've never been to Greece before, so this is kind of a nifty trip for me. I was heavy into Greek mythology as a kid, so finally being able to walk the grounds where it all started is pretty special.

This first day I was pretty wiped out, so I didn't have any ambitious plans. Just wanted to wander down to Syntagma Square to see the changing of the guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and take a look at the Temple of Olympian Zeus, which must have been a massive, massive structure back in the day...

Athens Temple of Zeus
The Temple of Zeus could use some spackle and a coat of paint.

After meandering through some shops on Ermou Street, I decided to call it a day and walk back to my hotel. Along the way, I ran across a billboard ad that I'm guessing is for the local news or something. I don't know about your TV news team, but I dare say that Athens pretty much has them beat on the total hotness scale...

Atrhens News Team

Athens News Team
We'll be back with more hotness at eleven...

All in all, a pretty good day! About the only downer was the local Hard Rock Cafe where I went for lunch...

Hard Rock Athens
Uhhhh... yeah, not the most exciting Hard Rock I've been to...

It saddens me very much to say that this was about the worst Hard Rock experience I've ever had. And it WASN'T for the following reasons:

  • The property is kind of boring.
  • The service is kind of slow.
  • They got my very simple food order wrong, twice.
  • They have a cover charge of €1.50 per person.
  • The atmosphere was pretty dead.

No, the thing that made this the worst HRC experience of the 113 Hard Rock properties I've visited is that THEY DIDN'T HAVE ANY PINS!! NO FUCKING COLLECTOR PINS!! What the bloody fuck? How can you call yourself a Hard Rock Cafe if you aren't selling any pins? This is about the most stupid thing I've ever seen at an HRC. Their famous collector pins are massively high-profit items that sell like mad. Most cafes have too many pins, because selling them is almost like being able to print your own money. I can only guess that the Athens location must not be interested in making money? Maybe they're just too profitable? Nothing quite like traveling 8,410 miles to have lunch at a Hard Rock and walking away empty-handed from the souvenir shop.

Ooog. I haven't slept in two days, so I had probably better at least take a nap or something before playing tourist all day tomorrow.

Categories: Hard Rock 2007, Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink


  1. Avitable says:

    My wife is going to be so jealous!

  2. ChillyWilly says:

    No pins?? did they have any other collector items?

    Does your hotel have decent WiFi?

    Enjoy your vacation, Mr. World Traveler.

  3. Dave2 says:

    Avitable… Just tell her that the Hard Rock here has no pins, and watch the jealousy melt away! Greece totally sucks! πŸ˜€

    ChillyWilly… They had shirts, but the city shirt was kind of lame (which is mostly the case now-a-days) so I just bought a classic logo-T. This has got to be the cheapest I’ve ever gotten away from a Hard Rock! No $200 in pin purchases this time. The wireless in my hotel is great. Expensive, but great.

  4. claire says:

    Wow, there’s just no telling where you’re going to be on any given day. Sweet.

    I’m looking forward to more vicarious travel in Greece.

    Sorry HRC-Athens didn’t come through for ya though.

  5. Laurence says:

    Greece ! That’s wonderful !

    The concept of Hard Rock CafΓ© in Greece is out there ! πŸ™ Try a restaurant with greek food ! πŸ˜‰

  6. Hilly says:

    Ahhh, so you ARE on your vacation…How fun! You know, I have this freakish knowledge of Persephone and her whole “clique” after doing a paper on her in college. It fascinates me.

    Sucks about HRC but keep those pics coming :).

  7. Avitable says:

    Yeah, you and she would get along amazingly in every way except she has no interest in Hard Rock Cafes, at all. I don’t know if we’ve ever even eaten in one.

  8. Lewis says:

    First of all, I didn’t know you were leaving the fucking country (if you can use the word, so can I). And, it’s not like you’re just going to Omak or Moses Lake or Prosser….you’re on the next planet! Now, these are the newscasters? You’re kidding. I can almost see a pole somewhere nearby for dancing purposes. Have a great time….wish I was there with you!
    (PS, I like it when you cuss… that so wrong???)

  9. ajooja says:

    Damn, Dave. That’s so cool. Have a wonderful trip.

    You just know your news team has wild Greek orgies after every show too.

    “live and late-breaking”

    … at least that’s how I picture it. πŸ™‚

  10. GΓΆran says:

    Athens is a GREAT city. If you have the time, go visit Aegina, a nice island close by. You can even do a daytrip there.

  11. Shut up! I’m trying to decide on my next vacation destination and Greece is at the top of the list. I’ve been researching it all week. I’ll be interested to hear about the rest of the trip!

  12. Oh how fun! I’ve not been to Greece either. It may be one of those places that I won’t want to visit though. I cannot stand Greek food. It has always been too salty for me. (And here is me generalizing that it must be ALL Greek food because of the maybe 10 Greek dishes I’ve had.) The food stings my eyes with the saltiness. LOL

    It is beautiful though from what I hear. Doug visited with his ex-girlfriend and her family who are all very, very, very Greek. Their churches here are pretty. The Greek Orthodox churches are always a floor show. (Yes, there is me using religion as entertainment. Sue me.)

    Hope you have a wonderful time and I’m looking forward to reading on your adventure!

  13. Dan says:

    I love how google tells you to swim across the ocean. (see step 24)

    I had a different experience in Athens, but that was years ago.

  14. sizzle says:

    those people are newscasters?! they look like they are all soap opera stars. πŸ™‚


  15. bogup says:

    So when you asked them why they had no pins was the response all Greek to you?

  16. ChicagoDave says:

    What better way to follow a successful Blogiversary, than with a May “sweeps month” stunt: Where in the world is Dave Simmer?

    Matt Lauer has nothing on you, Dave.

  17. Iron Fist says:

    Holy crap, what a guess! You really are in Greece!

    On a side note, I think it’s hysterical that Google maps gives you driving directions to the end of a pier in Boston and then directs you to “Swim across the Atlantic Ocean 3,463 mi”.

  18. Karl says:

    Crazy that they don’t have any pins. Enjoying the photos. Have a great time.

  19. Michael says:

    Haha. I was just in Greece this January, and visited that Hard Rock. I was expecting some semblance of Greece (seeing as how I was in another country) Instead, I found it probably the most American place outside of America. Don’t know what your plans are for the next few days, but if you’re staying in Athens, make sure you take a cablecar to the top of the hill. Awesome view of Athens, especially at night. If it’s good food you’re looking for, there’s a nice place right by Syntagma. God, I wish I remembered the name.

    Have a great trip.

  20. Bre says:

    I think everything about Greece is overly fabulous. My dear friend Olympia shows me pictures from her parents house there and it is just over the top outrageous! Enjoy it!

  21. RW says:

    That’s a Bad Monkey shirt in picture #1 isn’t it?

  22. Janet says:

    You lucky bastard. Dare I ask who snapped the picture? The weather looks like it really delivered for you even if The Hard Rock didn’t.

  23. bigwilley says:

    I am so jealous! I was there in college, so long ago, and I fell in love. If you have a chance, hit the islands, Santorini and Mykinos are the best. Do not walk all the way around the Acropolis and get lost in the weird neighborhoods trying to find a cool bar downtown, that was a bad idea, and hot, and was fret with doggie doo the whole way, but an old lady will offer you some refreshing uzo on the way, do take it, she is a witch, she knows things. So jealous…

    On an unrelated note, the smoking monkey shirt didn’t make the cut? What gives, that was so totally my first choice for my free one….

  24. Anonymous says:

    have a great time Dave. I went to Crete once. Fabulous island.. went to see the cave they’ve named as the birth place of Zeus. Why not drop by the emerald isle as you’re at it, I’ll have a guinness called for ya. πŸ™‚

  25. Dustin says:

    Please tell me you’ve had like 5 servings of bacclava already.

    P.S. About that blogroll thing

  26. karla says:

    dude! Stealth travel much?

    and people think I’M bad?

  27. Timothy says:

    Photos are amazing. I really want to go to Greece. Enjoy!

  28. Miss Britt says:

    Holy crap, the news!!! It’s not just that their hot, but they’re like… wet and stuff. Or something. They’re like – hot, on purpose!

  29. tobi says:

    Holy crap, you’re in Greece? That’s just really cool. Have a great trip.

  30. Lisa says:

    Color me green!

    How was the swim across the Atlantic! πŸ˜‰

  31. sandra says:

    SO jealous; I’ve been wanting to get to Greece for ages.

  32. Patty says:

    I would live to go to Greece! Besides the sites i would like to dive around crete. I’d also love to see the pyramid and the wall of china….so many places, so little time and money. Most of my money used to go to warm tropical places so at least that’s something. Nice pictures, thanks for sharing.

  33. Dave2 says:

    Claire… At least this time I was in on the travel plans… sometimes even I don’t know where I am going to be at a given time!

    Laurence… I love Greek food, and have eaten it since I got here. The only thing I had at the Hard Rock was a milkshake and an appetizer. πŸ™‚

    Hilly… Wasn’t Persephone a character in one of the awful Matrix sequels? She was totally hot, and played by Monica Bellucci. I’d sure like to do a research paper on her!

    Avitable… Never eaten at a Hard Rock? Now that’s just sad. Orlando has a pretty good one…

    Lewis… It’s not wrong at all. Sometimes I think people are at their best when cussing. πŸ™‚

    Ajooja… Beautiful people having beautiful sex isn’t that hard to imagine at all, is it? πŸ™‚

    GΓΆran… Would love to, because there’s incredible history there, but am afraid that I’ll have to wait for another trip. πŸ™

    LSL… Greece is wonderful, but I think you have to get out into the islands to really appreciate it. This can be a bit expensive, however.

    Kentucky… Salty? Hmm… I don’t think of Greek food as “salty” though Feta is a bit saltier than other cheeses, I guess. I love Greek food, and am in total heaven here. πŸ™‚

    Dan… Well, the Greeks still very much love their cigarettes, so some things don’t change. That swim across the Atlantic was killer though… πŸ˜€

    Sizzle… I don’t know what they are. They look like those news team photos I see on billboards, so I’m guessing that might be it. Could be advertising a porn film for all I know! πŸ™‚

    Bogup… They speak better English here than I do.

    ChicagoDave… Actually, he has several million dollars on me, but I try not to let it get me down.

    Iron Fist… Sure it’s hilarious… until you actually have to swim it!

    Karl… Yes, crazy stupid. PINS AT A HARD ROCK ARE LIKE PRINTING MONEY, I SAY!! πŸ™‚

    Michael… Yes, this Hard Rock was such a missed opportunity. They could have really made it something special with the Greek architecture and such. Quite sad, actually.

    Bre… “Overly fabulous” pretty much sums it up!

    RW… Yes. Bad Monkey is never far away. πŸ™‚

    Janet… A kindly stranger? They make the best photographers!

    BigWilley… Sorry about that… perhaps you can make believe that the banana is a cigarette in the one that won? πŸ™‚ The area around The Acropolis is confusing indeed. I got a little bit lost wandering around there the first day… but took a taxi the second day so I’d be sure to find the way up!

    Anonymous… I’ve been to Ireland a few times, actually, where were you then? I could have used that Guiness! πŸ™‚

    Dustin… I actually have a Baklava IV hooked up as I type this…

    Karla… Hah! HAH!! Even comparing my meager travels to your exotic world wanderings is making me feel inferior! You have, of course, been to Angkor Wat, so I’m jealous of you forever on that!

    Timothy… It’s worth a trip. πŸ™‚

    Miss Britt… Yes, “wet hot” was the term I was looking for there!

    Tobi… Yes, I wake up every morning saying exactly that “Holy crap! I’m in Greece!”

    Lisa… Cold. My testicles are still shrunk from the experience!

    Sandra… It’s a wholly amazing place… save your pennies!

    Patty… Warm tropical places are always good too! πŸ™‚

  34. JoeBruin88 says:

    A lot of complaining about the HC in Athens πŸ™‚

    Did you remember that I went there in 2005 and told you about the Hard Rock. You were jealous that I went there before you did. But now that there were no pins, do you regret going?

    I love Greece. I see you went to Mykonos too.

  35. Wayne Hall says:

    Your Greece posts are very cool and appreciated. Our family is pre-planning a 4-5 week trip to Europe in 2009, and Greece will be 3 of those weeks. I’ve known a few people who went there, but I see that your posts are probably all I need.

    That, and a TV to watch the local news.

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