This could be a long post!!
Ian didn’t want to go to Athens – said it would be too hot and too busy! I really, really wanted to go, so we did! It was great riding into the city as we could see the Acropolis stood right in front of us.
We had found a Hotel via the GPS which was right in the city, opposite the old Town Hall. I didn’t hold out much hope from the name, Hotel Economy, but when we got there it seemed ok. The reception staff couldn’t have been more helpful, but they did raise an eyebrow when I said for one night only. The lady gave me a map and circled all the main sites and spent about 10 minutes explaining them all to us. They told us to park Tiger right outside the front door so they could keep an eye on him. When we got to the room we were really pleased as we were on the top floor and had a great view of Lycavitous Hill in the background. We also realised that there was no way we would see everything in one day so I went and booked another night. Peak season in Athens does not come cheap – 150 Euros for 2 nights………..but it was well worth it!
Tiger was down here, directly below under the canopy
So, off to explore then
Looking at the map, the major sites all seemed to be in one area, so we decided to leave these for the next day and went off to find the Parliament building . Statues are everywhere
We found it and had just missed the guards changing shift
As is was so hot we decided to “cool off” in the City Gardens and try to find the original Olympic stadium (Panathinaiko Stadium) thru’ the gardens, it was alot quieter here and we had a nice walk thru’
Panathinaiko Stadium was originally built in 566BC and was rebuilt totally in marble in 329BC . It is the only major stadium in the world to be built entirely in white marble.
Just a short way from the stadium is the Zappeion, built in 1888 for the revival of the modern day Olympics and now used as a conference centre.
Just down from here is the Plaka – OK, it’s a tourist trap but it’s fun. It’s narrow “higgledy piggledy” streets are lined with shops, restaurants and cafes. Most of the shops sell the same items and are full of overpriced junk, but there are a few decent ones. As in all good Greek (and Turkish) tourist areas the restaurant staff try to pull you in with offers of “freebies” I think it was the offer of “free beer” that got us in here!
I can’t remember what we ate – I probably had chicken and Ian something “Greekish” but it was ok. Trying to leave was another matter. We asked for the bill and were brought plates of fruit – melon, grapes, orange – “on the house” While we were sitting, we listened to the waiters patter, which was always the same ” the lobster is good – special of the day” – yes, and also the most expensive thing on the menu! We ate our fruit and asked again for the bill. This time we were brought 2 glasses of red wine ( I don’t drink red so Ian had both) Next came 2 shots of Ouzo…….were we ever going to be “allowed” to leave?? I know why they do it – people see a busy restaurant and think it’s good – also we were sat on the end table, right next to the pavement, they like these tables full. We finally got the bill, around 20 Euro, very reasonable for what we had had.
The Plaka sits under the Acropolis and Ian reckoned if we kept this on one side of us (can’t remember which) we couldn’t get lost!
I wasn’t too sure tho’……….
A few night shots – The Tower of the Winds and the Roman Agora
On the way back to the Hotel we passed a Bar which had a football match showing on TV and about 15 people in it, so went in for a drink (well, not in as it was an outside bar!) On looking around over half of the people were police officers – is the crime rate in Athens so low that the police can sit and watch football while on duty???
When we arrived back at the Hotel the guy on reception called us over and said we should remove all the luggage from Tiger – we had left one pannier and the sleeping bags on. He said there were tramps round the area and a sleeping bag would be very tempting to them….to be honest if they wanted to go thru’ the hassle of getting the bags off they were welcome to them! We took them off tho’ to keep the receptionist happy.
Our night view
The plan the next day was to get up early – we didn’t! Our Hotel was only about 15 minutes walk from the Plaka so we went thru’ here again
past a couple of old churches (the names of which I can’t remember)
It took ages to cross this road to Hadrians Arch – lots of traffic.
I’m not going to write a “history lesson” on every site we visited – this blog will be long enough as it is! 🙂 You can see the size of the Arch tho’ in comparison to me
We had to pay to go into the Temple of Zeus, we got tickets for 12 Euros which gave us access to, I think, 7 sites.
We were here around Midday – very hot and very bright! My sunglasses decided at this time to break – so it was back to the Plaka to seek out a pair of “designer fakes”. I picked up a pair of D & G’s for 10 euros (expensive!!) We then found our way to Hadrians Library and the Roman Agora.
I had my first ever Greek Gyros in Athens – I won’t normally eat “kebap” type things but these looked good and were chicken not pork or lamb – very tasty it was too………..what have I been missing all these years……
A couple of shots on the way to the Acropolis
It was quite a long walk up to the top and when we finally got there were boiling! Why do we buy drinks on the way, to drink when we get to the top, but finish them on the way up?? There was a little “cafe” type place here so as we had no drink left bought a couple of iced slushes. 9.5 Euros!!! This is the second “rip off” (after Venice) – but there was nowhere else so we didn’t have much choice. It was funny sitting listening to people complaining.
The Theatre of Dionysus
View from the top with the Tempe of Zeus in the background
View over the city
Entrance to the Temple of Athena Nike (I think!!)
We made our way back down to the Ancient Agora
The Stoa of Attalos
The garden of statues
Statue of the Emperor Hadrian
The Temple of Hephaistos
The Acropolis seen from the Temple
It was a long walk back to our hotel from here – a few shots along the way
After a quick shower and change we were back out. We were knackered – but not too knackered for a few beers! 🙂
Athens was amazing – as I said Ian hadn’t wanted to go but it turned out to be his favourite city of our tour. We would love to have stayed longer but the Hotel was a bit expensive, although compared to some of the other European cities we visited, in general the prices were not too bad. The people are friendly, and as throughout most of Greece, try and speak to you in English. We will, no doubt, go back there one day………….
Doing this post has driven me mad!!! It keeps locking my laptop up, every letter I type it saves and it won’t put pictures on properly….ggrrrrr 😦