It's All Greek To me - Part 1

12 May 2006

Well, what can I say - Athens is, of course, Fab!
Wasn't quite so fab when we took nearly two hours to get in from the Airport on Wednesday in our taxi!  For some reason all the public transport workers decided to go on strike for one day so the entire population of Athens were in thier cars or taxis, and as we arrived in the evening rush hour then we had big delays.
The hotel is lovely and very central, just off Pneumonia Square for those of you who know the city.  We have a 20 minute metero ride to get up to the Olympic complex, which is just HUGE!  It's still every bit as impressive looking as it was 2 years ago when the Games were held here.  
The Hall we are in is right next door to the main stadium and has enough space for a 16,000 auditorium for the contest, plus press centre, where I'm sitting now, with seating for over 1,000 journalists.
Our first evening was spent catching up with many of the guys from over Europe that we know.  We went down near the Acropolis and had lots of fab Greek food along with a little alcohol (more of that later!).
Monday's rehearsals were fun, with Belgium and the overtly camp Slovenian song providing the best performances of the day.  Armenia was also very good, but none of us fancy 10 days in Yeravan next year, so we'll need to do somthing to nobble his chances!
Last night was the opening night of Euroclub, so as the diligent journalists we are we naturally had to go along to see what it was all about.   The venue is amazing, with both open air bars and dance floors, plus ones inside. We met one of our freinds on the way in who told us that there was a voucher system in operation whereby you were gievn a voucher when you went in and could exchange it for ANYTHING in the bar (well, maybe not a full bottle of Scotch, but you get the idea).  So we did that, then found that we couldn't buy any more drinks as they would not accept money at the bar.  We asked how we could get a drink and the girl simply said, go back to the door and get another voucher!....
OH.... MY...  GOD!
8 double measures of whisky with coke later....  Yes!  To all intents, it is a free bar! 
The club played ONLY Eurovision music, and ALL the best things were on for this year and years gone by.  We were strutting out funky stuff to the likes of "Socrates", "Baby Baby", "Hard Rock Hallelujah", "Invincible" plus finalists like "Absolutely Fabulous", "Temple of Love" and "Mandoline" !  
A MEGA night was had by all - with one slight drawback...
We got in at 4.00am, and had to be up at 7.30am to get in here for today's rehearsals!   Urgh!  Totally shattered today - and guess what?  We're doing it all again tonight - Hooray!!!
OK, well - lots more to see today, but I'll leave you with my favourite press conference quote so far...
Head of Press from Ukraine:  "I must introduce you our lovely singer.  She is the biggest opening in Ukraine this year..."   (I was HOWLING!!!!!)
More soon!


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