With our disembarkation excursion to the Acropolis out of the way there was time for one more brief stop before hitting Athens airport, the Panatheniac Stadium, the world’s only stadium fully built from marble and location for several sports as well as the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1896 Olympic Games.
There wasn’t enough time to actually get past the barriers and take a look at the stadium up close but there was still a nice view of the structure from the roadside. With the coach only giving us five minutes at the spot only a handful of us actually got off the coach to take a few photos. The position of the sun wasn’t ideal for photography but the venue looked like it might be interesting to take a wander through if we were to visit the Greek capital again.
Our week’s holiday cruising on the Mediterranean aboard Royal Princess came to an end as we were dropped off at the airport. There we had quite a while to wait until our flight as we’d booked a late one to make sure we’d be able to take in some kind of tour of Athens before leaving. We had expected that we’d be able to get our cases dropped off reasonably early and pass through security in order to relax and read in the departure lounge but the Greek authorities had different ideas and we – along with many others – had to sit around on the floor until any of the few seats in the main hall became available while the check-in desks refused to permit anyone to drop off their luggage until what seemed like the last minute.
The flight back to the UK was fine and made slightly more interesting by flying over the top of a thunderstorm as we passed Albania. With it being dark by this time it was quite impressive to see the huge clouds being lit up by lightning from beneath and within.
As I’ve stated in my review of the Royal Princess for this cruise holiday we had some issues with the ship and its staff in particular but the itinerary was top class. Europe is, of course, a great place for fans of history and it’s quite surprising that we haven’t really done more of it with it being so close. Sometimes, you just overlook what’s right next to you. At some point we’re really going to have to explore more of the Mediterranean region.