Post image for Cinque

by DanWolgemuth on March 24, 2017

I spotted a 3 by 5 card on the desk in our hotel room. The importance of the evening was not lost on me. Our first getaway dinner in Athens. We had spent the day doing what tourists do in Athens… history class in hiking shoes. And now the search was on.

With wifi in my hotel room I leaned into TripAdvisor for some input. Of the 3019 restaurants logged, I noted with gratitude that the #1 rated restaurant was within a mile and a half of our hotel. Perfect.

Quickly, a problem emerged. I had opted not to enhance my cellular coverage to include international travel, so once I walked out the front door of our small hotel, I was on my own in navigation. Even my dog-eared map was of no use. The route to The Cinque restaurant was impossible to precisely chart.

So now, back to the 3 by 5 card I spotted.

I carefully began to write the road names… and then quickly added the distance that would be traveled on each leg of the journey to the #1 restaurant in Athens. The link on the restaurant’s website gave me a reservation option, but the uncertainty of the journey and the unrushed schedule constrained me away from this option.

And so, into the uncertainty we stepped. No tech support, no nifty app at hand… just a card with nine street names written on it. Nine.

Add to that the fact that the street names often only approximated the version of the name that GoogleMaps had provided me before I left the hotel.

This was an important evening… and a 3 by 5 card was my treasure map.

With a classic American perspective, I had assumed that the best restaurant in Athens would have exceptional seating capacity, with a hostess at the front door informing us of what the wait time would be. Perhaps they would hand me a trendy little notification device so that when our table was ready, we would know. But I digress.

A 30-minute stroll through the Plaka District of Athens… with six right turns and three left, I was absolutely stunned to find a tiny little store front. I glanced up to make certain that the sign read Cinque. It did.

The owner of the restaurant met us at the door. A quick handoff to his wife after he confessed his inability to speak English and after my matching confession about my Greek.

News flash. The best restaurant in Athens has three or four small indoor tables. There were a few extras on the sidewalk out front… but the chill in the air eliminated that possibility.

At that moment we were the only customers. Yes, the only ones. No 45-minute wait. No cool electronics required.

A corner table. Mary.


My 3 by 5 card had navigated me to magic.

We sat. We talked. We reflected. We rested. And yes, we ate. At Cinque. #1 out of 3019 in Athens. Alone. Together.

We ended the evening with a picture of the owners and then a far less efficient return to that AVA Hotel.

No app. No cell phone. A 3 by 5 card…

A treasure map.


On a 3 by 5 card.

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