We planned the date for the holiday, 18 November 2004 and no sooner had we done this, the promoters at Total Greek Yoghurt began making arrangements.
They were brilliant, phoning us every week to keep us updated. Two days before departure, and the tickets still hadn't arrived. Ah, what to do? Should we start un-packing the suitcases?
The tickets had been lost in the post, but were luckily re-issued and got to us just in time! By early evening, 18 November, we arrived in Athens, to a beautiful warm night - a perfect time of the year to visit, with temperatures a little cooler than mid-summer. A friendly English speaking taxi driver took us to our hotel, using several short cuts to avoid the Friday evening rush hour! He had a daughter who studied at Durham University so it was very easy to chat.
The hotel we stayed in is amazing. Our room looked right on to the Acropolis. The views from the top floor restaurant are perfect for admiring the Acropolis when it is lit up at night.
Even though it is off-season, the Athens city tours still run in November. We managed to see the Acropolis, the Olympic Stadium and the Parthenon in a small tour group. We also took an 'Athens By Night' tour - the minibus collecting ourselves and six others from different hotels, for a drive along the harbour at Piraeus. We stopped at the waterfront for appetisers and ouzo. This gave us the chance to get to know one another and sample seafood titbits. We then all went on to a taverna in the old part of town for a meal and lie entertainment till after midnight.
Returning to our hotel in the early hours, the streets were still full of life, flooded with people and cars. The day before, we had explored on our own, strolling through the lovely markets with every smell, colour and taste you could imagine bursting out of the fruit and vegetable stalls.
The tourist shops were so eager to snap up customers that most things were on sale and we had great fun bargain hunting. Every one we met in Athens was so welcoming to us, and we are back home surrounded by tons of great souvenirs to remind us of the fabulous holiday.