We arrived in Athens at 6am. It had been snowing the night before, was -3 degrees, and we had had no sleep during the 20 odd hour trip. And we felt a-m-a-z-i-n-g!
After a 20 minute walk from the central station to our hotel to dump our bags before check in, we grabbed a coffee and went out for an explore. We stumbled across multiple sites, including the Temple to Olympian Zeus, and Hadrian’s Arch. They blew out minds, and the half price entry fees certainly helped!
However, come check in time at 2pm, we were totally knackered, and put into action our new jet lag cure plan: buy enough food for lunch/dinner that day, take it to the room, sleep as soon as we can check in, wake up for food, then go back to sleep until morning. We ended up sleeping from 2pm-10pm, ate a sandwich, then 11pm-8am. It was glorious, and totally kicked our jetlag!
Over the next 4 days we explored as much of Athens as our feet allowed. There’s far too much to write about, so I’ll keep it to the main points. Firstly, and perhaps predictably, the Acropolis. It was amazing to see the structures and soak in the history, helped of course by the fact that it was nearly empty! Seeing all of the original sculptures in the Acropolis museum was just as amazing.
Overlooking the Acropolis and crowning Parthenon from the Pnyx was also something to behold. Sitting on the site where democracy was formed some 2,500 years ago and looking at one of the default symbols of democracy was almost overwhelming. I think we ended up sitting for over an hour, not saying a word, and appreciating the significance of our surroundings.
….I could waffle on and on about every site we saw (I’m eating waffles, so had to use that term). But perhaps a summary and some pictures would be more efficient. Athens is simply packed with historic sites. Really historic sites, which have direct influences on how so many countries developed. Aside from the sites, Athens was perhaps a tad gritty, but still a cool place to explore, and that underlying grittiness gave it a very real vibe. Cafes galore, upmarket shopping, flea markets selling anything you want, and “tourist” flea markets selling tat for exorbitant prices.
And gyros. My god. I think we ate 100 of them. Each. A day. Because they are all the nom.
Oh…the weather…was it cold? Not really. It hovered between 5-15 degrees most of the time which resulted in us walking far more, and seeing more things as we weren’t overheating. But unfortunately the colder weather meant that things were much cheaper than in the summer, and there were hardly any tourists around either so we had most places to ourselves. Which is just terrible. (That was dripping with salty sarcasm. You may need a towel to mop up the sacrastipuddle.)
We had 6 amazing days in Athens. And next, something we hadn’t done since our trip in France 6 years ago: road trip!!!