A year ago today, I went with three of my best girlfriends to Greece. This was a trip that had been planned for 18 years! It was initially intended to be a 35th birthday trip but….35 came faster than anticipated…so 40th it was! We started our trip with two nights in Athens!
We had a dress up (think heels, cleavage, form fitting dresses, this is relevant for the story) dinner planned for a restaurant that is at the top of Lycabettus Hill. It’s the highest hill in Athens! I was SO EXCITED about the views we would see. I called the restaurant FOUR times to ask questions and to confirm our reservations. There was definitely a language barrier but I thought with all of my research we would be fine. The only way to access Orizontes (restaurant name) is by funicular or cable car. I am a DEEP diver when it comes to research on trips and activies but somehow I believed the funicular to be on Lycabettus Hill. We called Uber number one and squeezed ourselves into it. Our Uber driver wa not comfortable with her stick shift so it made for a jerky (sometimes stalled) ride up to the hill. The narrow and windy road abruptly came to a dead end. NO funicular. There was a car behind us so backing up was not an option. Two of my girlfriends convinced the poor uber driver that she could back up onto the small sidewalk and turn around that way. She backs the rear of the tiny car up onto the sidewalk and puts it in drive BOOM! The amount of weight in the car caused it to slam down. Yikes! We get out of the car to lighten it and let the poor woman turn it around. She drives us around to the other side of the hill. It’s a large parking lot with food trucks. Bingo-surely this is where the funicular is! The frazzled wman lets us out and speeds off. Probably sighing with relief.
Quick scan of the area and no funicular in sight. It’s quite dark past the lights so we ask the food trailer workers for help. They seem genuinely confused. I call the restaurant again. No answer. While we were driving, I saw some stairs going up the side of the hill. There were people standing on them and there was a small parking area below. Surely, this is where the funicular is. Call the second Uber.
Second Uber arrives and drives us back around the hill. It’s quite pretty with benches that overlook the city. We have an adorable Bumble Beat speaker that is playing Despacito on repeat so we’re in good spirits and laughing. Starving but happy! I head up the stairs, cleavage showing,with Monique (carrying our Despacito playing speaker) behind me. Eudora and Kate are with her. One of us curses loudly as several people turn to look at us. It is at that moment that I realize this is an OUTDOOR SYNAGOGUE. I hear the Rabbi speaking and notice the death stare of the elderly lady that is aimed at my chest. I turn and run (in stilettos so more like a fast jerky walk) “We are going to hell, OMG, GO BACK, GO!” My poor Despacito singing friends run behind me completely confused.
When we have (sort of) recovered we ask a guy if it is possible to walk to this restaurant. Apparently, this funicular is the Harry Potter 9 3/4 station. Only accessible to certain people. We march UP the hill to the dead end that we started at hours ago. Just as we round the corner from light to darkness we run smack into two picnic tables of young guys. About 15 of them smoking, drinking and laughing. Silence when they see us. “Where do you think you are going?’ they ask. “Up to the restaurant!” we answer bravely. “Um no you’re not!” they laugh. Not in a threatening way but in a are you f’ing stupid way. Looking past them at the darkness of the trail (It’s about 10 pm) I answer,”you’re right, we aren’t!” Once again I am retreating in embarrassment. As we begin to walk down the hill I start to fall. It feels like slow motion. The laughter behind me and my girlfriends trying to catch me. Thank goodness they were able to save me. I take the stupid stilettos off right there. FORGET IT! Forget this restaurant. DONE. I call the third Uber of the night. I just want off this FREAKING hill!
Church lets out and the one lane road gets crowded. Our third Uber of the night is stuck at the bottom of the hill waiting. Here’s a little video of that. https://youtu.be/h8XqWmKsLZU Poor Monique has been repeating that she has to pee for over an hour and that the synagogue was not an option. After an eternity the Uber is coming up the hill! I walk towards the car with my heels in my hand (ala walk of shame style). “It’s here!” I yell. I turn around and Monique is sitting down on the edge of the sidewalk (hillside not roadside) adjusting her shoe. The other girls are standing next to her. It takes me a second to realize that she is incognito PEEING off the side of the hill!
Finally, safe, sound and starving we are in the car. I do a trip advisor search for rooftop restaurants and find GB Rooftop Garden. The views are AMAZING! The food is SUPERB and the cocktails are STRONG! It was one of the best meals of our trip!
No matter how much research you do there will always be things you can’t predict.
Always carry fold up flats (I bought some after this trip. LIFE. SAVER!) Link is here. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073DN33B4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B073DN33B4&linkCode=as2&tag=emptynestbigw-20&linkId=18f896eedc694949bc1cd1daba0e78d8
Only download radio edit songs to play on your adorable Bumble beat speaker. Link is here. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074KK4V2X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B074KK4V2X&linkCode=as2&tag=emptynestbigw-20&linkId=fbf965d6f102b98ddb47141b43beb9d6
The best memories can sometimes be made when things don’t go as planned. Stay positive, flexible and upbeat and it can become a time you’ll never forget!