Financial Friday 46

Location: Tbilisi [Republic of Georgia]

Week 46….

Transportation

The hostel I’m in is pretty centrally located so I only used the metro once on Friday: $0.19. Winning.

Accommodation

I paid for the hostel for the entire month, and I got a crazy discount. That combined with it being off season, and the currency (the Georgian Lari) being in a low point results in a cost of $3.75 per night!

Food

Nothing unusual’s happening here. I will say it’s pretty awesome having the hostel being practically empty. So I have almost completely free reign of the kitchen.

Other

Travel insurance: $8.64 per day.

I upgraded my VPN service so now it’s like a turbo VPN. All for the low, low price of $0.26 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

On Monday, I bought more data for my local phone: $11.84 for 15G.

On Wednesday, I bought a book: $17.30. It’s titled The Alzheimer’s Antidote: Using a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet to Fight Alzheimer’s Disease, Memory Loss, and Cognitive Decline. I bought it because…well, let’s be honest; who isn’t scared shitless of Alzheimer’s?

Summary

Week 46
FriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel0.190000000.19
Lodging3.753.753.753.753.753.753.7526.25
Food8.243.857.1710.746.0715.484.3155.86
Other9.19.19.120.949.126.49.192.84
Total21.2816.720.0235.4318.9245.6317.16175.14

So here’s another average week. See you in 7 days….

Financial Friday 45

Location: Tbilisi [Republic of Georgia]

Week 45 down. Here’s we go….

Transportation

All travel costs this week are metro runs: $0.19 each.

Accommodation

Rent for November was $5.67 per night.

On the first, I moved out of the house I’d spent the last few months in, and checked into a hostel. I know one of the owners who gave me a fantastic rate: $3.75 per night! It would have been a downgrade, but one of the roommates at the house got a dog that has an annoying habit of biting people so…. Yeah, getting away from the demon dog pushes the scales heavily in the hostel’s favor.

Food

Despite going out, and getting fairly drunk on Saturday and Sunday evening, I managed to keep my food budget under control. It’s so cheap here….

Other

Travel insurance: $8.64 per day.

VPN: $0.13 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

On Saturday, there was a sale on a computer game. I figured 20% off was worth the final price tag: $21.66. It’s called Thea 2: The Shattering if anyone’s curious.

On Tuesday, I did laundry: $1.12. One of the downsides of hostel living is I can’t just buy a huge package of laundry detergent. It’s still worth the extra expense though.

On Thursday, I got ‘professional’ pictures taken for an ID: $1.12. I also picked up the paperwork to file for Georgian Residency. I didn’t have a pen with me so I still have to go back and finish the submission process, but I got a good start.

Summary

Week 45
FriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel0.190.370.3700.19001.12
Lodging5.673.753.753.753.753.753.7528.17
Food12.667.1217.3814.833.453.26058.7
Other9.130.769.19.110.229.110.2287.6
Total27.624230.627.6817.6116.1113.97175.59

So another mid-range week has passed. Also, the month of December began.

Nov 18
Week 40Week 41Week 42Week 43Week 44Week 45Total
Travel0.373.363.740.191.520.569.74
Lodging5.6739.6943.4239.6939.699.42177.58
Food7.0949.6548.346.6239.3519.78210.79
Other9.1102.3386.1673.49129.8239.86440.76
Total22.23195.03181.62159.99210.3869.62838.87

As we can see, November was a fantastic month! I love Georgia!

See you all next week….

Financial Friday 44

Location: Tbilisi [Republic of Georgia]

Week 44….

Transportation

All travel costs this week were via metro: $0.19 per trip. It’s super convenient.

Accommodation

Rent for the month comes out to $5.67 per day.

Food

Nothing exciting happened here this week. Between grocery runs, and occasionally eating out, costs are pretty low.

Other

Travel insurance: $8.64 per day.

VPN: $0.13 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

On Monday, I did some online shopping: $66.12. Most things can be found anywhere in the world, and are generally cheaper than in the West. However, there are a few rare items that are difficult to find. Among these are collapsible water bottles (I can find normal water bottles easily enough, but I want a ‘fancy’ one); waterproofing spray (so I can spray a shitty looking jacket; a good part of theft deterrence is to look like you don’t own anything worth stealing); a collapsible backpack (this was an impulse purchase, because it just looked awesome, and I can compress it down when not in use); and a few specialty carabiners (these are sooo useful; you can use them to clip things onto your baggage or person, keep keys together, they’re just all around nice to have). Yes, I paid Western prices, and getting them shipped out to me won’t be cheap either, but certain products need to be top of the line (or just the way you want them); particularly when you own almost no physical objects. Any experienced traveler will tell you that one of the best things to do is travel light! It’s far cheaper and easier to manage when all you have is a carry-on bag.

Summary

Week 44                
  Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 0.19 0.19 0.19 0.38 0.19 0.38 0 1.52
Lodging 5.67 5.67 5.67 5.67 5.67 5.67 5.67 39.69
Food 0 6.7 6.42 11.97 5.66 8.6 0 39.35
Other 9.1 9.1 9.1 75.22 9.1 9.1 9.1 129.82
Total 14.96 21.66 21.38 93.24 20.62 23.75 14.77 210.38

So this was a little more than last week, but that’s primarily due to the Cyber Monday shopping. See you all next week….

The naked quarter

It’s early evening at the Athenian hostel. I’m mingling with some newfound friends; many of whom went on the walking tour in the morning. Every time Andrew (the tour guide) takes people by the Παναθηναικό Στάδιο (Panathenaic Stadium), he’s sure to mention the guard leaves at night. He also mentions in his charming way that a lot of backpackers like to sneak in and run around the track naked…because it’s an Olympic stadium after all. The seed was planted.

We went out to get gyros, brought them back to the hostel, and mingled some more while we discussed our plans for the evening. As usual for a bunch of backpackers, there is no plan.

We head down to the ‘sports bar’ for our free ouzo shots…and a few drinks we pay for of course. It’s all right, but there’s a soccer (football for Europeans) match on; some sort of championship. As it gets crowded, we decide to move on.

The next stop is a cozy little bar down the road. I along with about half the group get the wine with honey (which has become one a favorite). We drink and chat for a bit…. Our free shots come. A Kiwi (New Zealander for those that are unfamiliar) I just met doesn’t want his, and he agrees to give me his if I’ll run around the track naked with him. It’s an extra free shot so I have to agree. That makes two of us that are now locked in.

We hit up a shop and grab a few drinks on our way back to the hostel. Someone has cards, and it’s time for drinking games. We play King’s Cup. I lose, and have to drink the cup which is filled with a mix of wine and several brands of beer. It’s so nasty, but at least I’m not the only one that’s drunk by now.

One of the chicks has been complaining all night long about no wanting to run around the track naked. We tell her it’s naked or she can’t come with us at all. Six of us decide we’re going to go. We tell the other six-ish they’re pansies, but it has no effect.

We’re down to 4 guys and 2 chicks. We hit up another store for more alcohol on en route to the stadium. This is Greece so no one cares if you walk down the street inebriated with a drink in your hand…as long as you’re not bothering anyone. We manage to finish off a few more drinks before we get to our destination.

It’s almost midnight, and the daytime guard is definitely gone. The Kiwi immediately jumps in and starts undressing. Not to be done up, I follow. We start running around the track naked…but where’s everyone else? Those pansies; we’re going to be around the track before they even start. Oh well, that just means I’ll have time to enjoy watching them.

We get back to the winner’s podium, and start putting our cloths back on. It’s cold (10 Celsius) and drizzling. A voice at the entrance rings out, “Get out”! Oh shit, it’s a guy in dark cloths so probably a cop. The Kiwi asks me if we should run. I say yes. We quickly get the rest of our cloths on and head for the nearest ‘wooded’ (there are a couple trees to ‘hide’ behind) area. The guard didn’t follow; or even move from the spot where he’d yelled at us from what I could tell. We’re safe.

We start making our way back along a route we think the authority figure won’t take. Our friends catch up to us. “Where were you pansies?” It seems they’d taken the time to look around, and saw the cop car sitting on the road near the stadium. They tell us they’d tried to distract him with questions about how often this sort of thing happens, but he was pissed and wouldn’t answer them.

Only two of us made it. Bonus: the rest are jealous! I still would have rather all of us had gone, but at least I get the admiration of my peers as a consolation prize.

We make our way back to the hostel, and turn in for the night. It’s been a good day.

And that’s my story of the naked quarter mile. A couple tips if you’re in Athens and manage to get a few friends drunk enough to try it.

  • Definitely wait until it’s dark. There’s a guard there during the day that takes money for people wanting to enter the stadium, and take pictures from the inside.
  • Look around before jumping in. The city occasionally sends a cop in a car to check on the stadium. I don’t think he’s there all the time so just wait him out if he’s there. Then you can ‘take your time’ running.

Feel free to share your crazy stories in the comments. I’m sure I’m not the only traveler with crazy tales to tell.

Walking Tour Athens

So I decided to spend a little money on a walking tour while in Athens, and I was not disappointed.

Travel hack: do not take a bus tour as you’ll have to get out and walk to see the good stuff. It’s all within easy walking distance anyway. Also, don’t pay the ridiculous fees by local tour guides. I payed 7 euro for an Ausie, and he was amazing!

We started off on in front of the Acropolis Museum where there are still some train tracks in the road. Fun fact: the streets all around the Acropolis are cobblestone and the sidewalks are marble.

After that we saw Hadrian’s (the same Hadrian who built the wall in the British Isles) Arch, and the Temple of Zeus. Fun fact: the similarity between Zeus (Greek) and Jupiter (Roman) is believed to have caused the Romans to let the Temple of Zeus stand. These pillars are massive.

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Temple of Zeus

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We then wandered over to the National Gardens where our guide told us about Queen Amalia, and how she’s responsible for arguably the most picturesque place in all of Athens. It seems that because of this and a few other factors we learned about, she was one of Greece’s most beloved popular figures.

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Entrance to National Guardens

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In the middle of our park wandering, we came across the Ζάππειο Μέγαρο (Zappeion) building. The outside was ‘meh’ by Greek standards, but the inside was pretty cool.

After a tiny bit more park wandering, we came to Παωαθηωαικό Στάδιο (Panatheniac Stadium); the site of the first modern Olympics in 1896 (well, one of the sites). It seems crazy today for this 80,000 capacity stadium to host 4 Olympic events. Apparently, there wasn’t nearly enough seating.

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Site of the first modern olympics

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Then we went to the Presidential Palace just in time to watch the changing of the guard. A lot of people do this at Σύνταγμα (Syntagma: constitution) Square. Pro tip: watch it at the palace; it’s far less crowded. Though you do have to contend with a few cars obstructing your view.

We walked past Σύνταγμα Square, and into the Αγορά (Agora: marketplace) area. This area is huge, and there are vendors all around the Ακρόπολη (Acropolis) though most of the ‘flea market’ like shops are on the north end. After some treking, we came to the ruins of the Ancient Agora.

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The ancient agora (market)

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We wandered around a bit more, and found some graffiti among the narrow alleyways of the buildings just north of the Acropolis. Some of it is pretty good. If you like quiet, Greek-island looking streets, this is the place for you.

To end the trip we ate lunch/dinner at a restaurant at the foot of the Acropolis. We all had various local dishes: mousaka, goat with potatoes, pita with tzatziki. And all in the Greek winter (it was 15C/60F) which is really nice.

Our tour guide was Andrew Kelleher. All through the tour, he peppered us with history lessons. There was a fair bit on World War I, and how events that took place right were we were walking effected Greece’s involvement. If you love history as much as I, definitely get in touch with him if you’re in Athens.

  • Phone: +30 6970408710
  • Email: andrewkelleher@hotmail.com
  • Facebook: Athens Off the Beaten Track
  • Instagram: #athensoffthebeatentrack.