What a crazy week full of adventure this has been. It has only been a week and we’ve done so much!
We left Tel Aviv last Sunday for our two hour flight to Athens.
How fun it is to live so close to Europe! It makes it so easy and affordable to travel.
So we were dropped of at our hotel, dragging our 500 lb suitcases up the stairs to the entrance. And after that we didn’t waste a second. We immediately purchase tickets for the bus tour at the reception. The idea of the bus tour is that for two days you can get on and off the bus as much as you want, it stops at the important and tourist places. The best part it was only 18€ per person. The tour bus saved us the hassle of taking taxis or the metro.
*Be careful of the taxis! They will try and charge you a fixed price of 15 or even 20 using the excuse that it’s night time or theres something going on in the city. Make sure they put the meter on. From the city center to our hotel, we never paid more than 4€ for a taxi.
So we had our first Greek meal at the Greek Taverna down the street. From that first meal I have been hooked on Greek salads. The tomatoes and cucumbers are so fresh here!
After our meal we hopped in the double decker bus and explored the city. We stayed on for the entire route so that we could see each stop and decide which ones we wanted to get off at for that day.
Our first stop was the Plaka. The Plaka is full of life at all times of the day, morning, noon, and night. At 1:00 am people can be seen sitting at restaurants eating full meals. We also had that experience after one restaurant owner tempted us with wine on the house. We sat there late into the night enjoying the atmosphere and the good food.
Our second stop was the Parthenon. It was a neat experience, keeping in mind the history. It is sad that the actual structure is so destroyed and under reconstruction; so a lot of the beauty is taken away by it being rebuilt. It was blown up 1687 by the Venetians due to an Ottoman supply of gun powder inside the Parthenon when the Venetians fired a cannon ball with a direct hit.
A better preserved part of ancient Greece is the Agora. There we saw structures still in tact, and got a better idea of what a city in ancient Greece could have looked like.
The Greek word Agora means ‘open place of assembly’. It was the city’s center. Where announcements would be made and markets would take place. It’s still standing just below the Acropolis.
The Athens Archaeological Museum
We also checked out the Athen’s Archaeological museum which is supposed to be among the top three in the world. Room after room of sculptures of Greek men, women and children. There was an interesting exhibit that displayed artifacts made of gold. So much gold!
Also, make sure to keep your ticket from the Acropolis! That ticket will get you into about thirty other places for free, unfortunately no one told us that.
There was nothing that had me feeling the Greek culture more than Greek street music. Walking aimlessly through the streets underneath the Acropolis, we were guided only by the sound of a mandolin or two. Our first night we sat on the curb next to two musicians for an hour, soaking up the sounds and people watching.
Back on the bus!
Zeus’ Temple, a temple dedicated to, yes, Zeus. It was built 472 and 456 BC. Visiting Zeus’ temple, and the many other ancient Greek temples, brought me back to the Disney movie Hercules. It was hard not to picture the huge, muscular, white-bearded daddy of Hercules. What can I say, I grew up in the 90s.
Changing of the Guards
Woohoo! We were lucky enough to visit the guards who are guarding the grave of the unknown soldier just when they were about to change. My mother was more than thrilled. She only wanted a picture with one, and ended up getting a whole production. The switch consisted of many large steps, high kicks, stomping, and pom-pomed shoes. The first few minutes were a thrill but after that an onwards until 15 minutes, I was ready to run away.