Let the Greek adventure begin!
Our Greek adventure began in Oregon on a Tuesday morning. We flew to San Francisco where we connected to a very long flight to Zurich, Switzerland. The nearly eleven hour flight felt especially long for some reason. After a three hour layover and a very expensive Starbucks drink in Zurich, we completed our journey with a 2.5 hour flight to Athens. Whew! We took a 45-minute taxi ride to our Athens apartment called Marble House. Despite being exhausted, we rallied and took a walk to a nearby restaurant for our first Greek food. Delicious!
We promptly came back to the apartment, pet the neighborhood cat, and finally got some sleep!
First Full Day in Athens
We began our day with coffee and pastries at a good place nearby the apartment. Luckily, we all got some much needed sleep.
We bought all-day subway passes and made our way to Syntagma Square where we saw the Parliament building with its Tomb of the Unknown Soldier guarded by military in full uniform.
We used an audio guide on our phones to take a city tour down some of the main streets. We did some shopping, toured a few ancient churches, and eventually made our way to the Acropolis Museum.
The Acropolis Museum contained so many artifacts from the Acropolis. We happened to be there on the museum's 10th anniversary so we got in for free. Of course there were nice views of the Acropolis from the museum. We were saving our visit to the Acropolis until tomorrow.
We wandered though a colorful neighborhood called Anafiotika with tiny streets and ancient homes clinging to a hill.
We found a tasty souvlaki place for lunch. Yummy grilled meats!
We didn't go in, but we found the famous Little Kook cafe all decked out with a Mary Poppins theme.
We saw this hill, Mount Lycabettus, off in the distance and decided we had to climb it. We were planning on taking a funicular to the top but couldn't find it. So we took our sweaty bodies up there in some intense heat!
We were pretty exhausted by this point and the kids really need a nap and some down time. Luckily, they are at this magical age where we can lock them in the apartment and leave for a nearby beer at a neighborhood joint. Thank goodness for wifi and phones to stay connected!
We picked up the kids, and headed to an Indian place, Namaste, for dinner. While in Athens, we decided to make the most of their diverse dining scene.
And that's a wrap for day one!
Second and Final Day in Athens
The Acropolis - oh my!
We arrived around 9:15am attempting to beat the masses of tourists ascending on one of the world's most popular attractions. There were crowds and it was hot, but it was manageable. It was hard to stop taking pictures!
We saw this theater - Odeon of Herodes Atticus. What is so cool is that they were setting up for an evening concert that we are currently watching on live TV in our apartment. If only we had arranged for tickets.
After the amazing Acropolis, we took a colorful subway north to the Psyrri neighborhood. We found a great place, Stani, for traditional sheep's milk yogurt with honey and walnuts.
We continued wandering the Psyrri neighborhood through the central market. The goat heads were the most interesting and disturbing!
On this ultra-hot day, we stopped for bubble tea, beer, ice cream, etc...
Athens is quite a mish-mash. There are run-down buildings, graffiti, ridiculous traffic, cats, historic ruins everywhere! Despite the chaos, people are friendly and no one seems to be in a hurry. After two days, I find myself warming up to the place and feel a little sad to be leaving in the morning.
And there are orange trees everywhere!
After some wandering and shopping, (girls both scored new clothes at Mango) I sent my hot and tired family back to the apartment for some air-conditioning while I explored the Ancient Agora. The Temple of Hephaistos in remarkably intact despite being built in 450 BC! Incredible. I sat in the shade and imagined Socrates and Aristotle wandering around philosophizing.
I met up with DH for another beer. We actually found a place with Czech Staropramen! Then we went to Tuk Tuk Thai for dinner. The kids are definitely ready for some beach time in Nafplio tomorrow! All and all, Athens was a great place to start our Greek adventure.