Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mugging on the Piraeus Express

To add to our grand old time in Athens, Chris and I witnessed a mugging on our way to the main port. It was fairly early (around 6:15 AM) when the whole thing went down.

We had left extra early that morning because of the ticket situation (Chris wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to secure them before our boat left at 7:30 AM). I actually had a thought that we were safe because all the thieves would be asleep (don't most muggers stay up late?).

It was pretty quiet until we changed lines to head to the Piraeus. We came upon quite a few tourists making the same trek as us so I knew this was prime pickpocket territory.

When we got on the metro, something compelled me to sit down, even though I had the two carry-ons with me and would block the path for other passengers. I thought, if they needed to sit, I could adjust the luggage, but still stay safe in my seat. Chris was manning the two large pieces so he had to stand. We were, unfortunately at the back of our metro cart- not the safest place.

Everything was fine, we made a couple of stops and picked up more travelers, one couple (about our age) from an Asian country (not exactly sure which). They were nice and spoke to one older Greek gentleman to ensure they were on the right train. They were clearly tourists, though; he had a fanny pack and they were both dressed for the beach.

A couple stops later, a group of guys got on the train. There was one larger fellow, in particular, that caught Chris' attention. He slid next to Chris and was directing his friends where to stand- not a good sign.

Chris made a point to shift over a bit and get closer to me. After, the larger guy moved closer to the Asian couple and then it happened.

It was all so fast! I looked over and saw a few of the guys pushing the Asian man against the wall and then it was over. There were a few older Greek men who started yelling at them and they responded back, but nothing really violent happened and the Asian couple was able to move away unharmed. The doors opened and the bad guys were off.

After they left, the older Greek man who had spoken to the couple when they first got on the train asked if they were okay. The woman gestured as though someone has grabbed her tush but that seemed to be it. The man asked the couple to check and make sure they had all of their belongings and that's when they noticed his fanny pack was open. The woman looked in and, sure enough, their money was gone.

Watching the aftermath was especially hard. That poor woman sobbed and wailed the entire way to the Port (which was another 15 minutes away). She lectured (rather loudly) her husband/boyfriend the entire time because of where he put the money. You didn't need to speak their language to know that she had suggested another location but he made the final choice, which proved to be a poor one. So I pointed it out to Chris- it's not just me or American women that harp on something over and over when they're upset- it's ALL women. ;)

Chris and I were lucky. This incident could have easily happened to us instead. I think they chose the other couple because they could use the woman as a distraction whereas I was sitting safely in a secure spot with others next to me to help if needed. Another reason I think they chose them was the fanny pack, which made him an easier target to pick off. Maybe it was Chris moving closer to where I was that saved him or maybe they noticed I was carrying a bag instead. Who knows.

What I do know is I'm so thankful this didn't happen to us. It shook us, though, and reminded us to stay alert. We may be on vacation, but there are bad people who aren't.


  1. This incident has no connection with our tours or Company.

  2. Yes, Stephen is correct. I used this title as a play on the book "Murder on the Orient Express." Sorry if this caused any confusion. Thanks!