Athens, Greece

Happy Wednesday friends,

How’s everyone’s week going? Mine’s been good so far- though started at a terribly early time yesterday, as I had to be leaving the house for 4:30 am in order to catch my morning flight to Zagreb. An alarm going off at 4 am is pretty much the worst thing ever!

I don’t have pictures of Croatia yet, as so far it’s just been me working either at the client office, or working at my hotel (with taxi’s taking me between each place). I will be exploring more this weekend, and will be able to catch you up then with what I saw and how it was.

But first, I thought we would continue down my memory lane trip, to a trip I took almost a year ago- when I spent 8 days in Greece. This trip was made especially fantastic, as I went there with my mom. We spent 4 days in Athens, and 4 days on the island Santorini.

First up, Athens. My mom and I arrived in Athens a bit later in the day, and the first thing on my mind was finding a restaurant where I could shout “Opa!” and break a plate. Lucky for us, I’m not the only one wanting to do this, so we found a place almost immediately.

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I learnt that I’m not very good at breaking plates, as after I threw the plate on the ground, it was mostly still intact. I picked it up and threw it down again, and it was still mostly intact. I break a lot of glasses at home, and always seem to shatter those quite well- so maybe next time I should just accidentally knock the plate over. It seems to work well for those wine glasses I keep breaking.

Our hotel in Athen was so perfectly placed. The view below was from the rooftop patio that you could enjoy an evening drink, as well as eat your breakfast from in the morning.

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The view below here is from the other side of the hotel, and was “The Temple of Zeus”. We never actually went to see this close up, as we figured the view from our hotel was just as good as anything we would’ve seen actually being on the ground.

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Our first full day in Greece, my mom and I started out with a bus tour, which took you around to the sites. I had a good laugh as we bought our tickets, as the bus driver asked if I was over 12, as otherwise I could’ve bought a child’s ticket. I like to think I’m ageing well, but I am quite obviously above 12 so I’m still very confused about what the driver was thinking on that one. Perhaps he figured it was a compliment?

The bus tour is meant to be a “hop on, hop off” sort of a ticket, as you have 24 hours to ride this bus from the time you buy your ticket. However, my mom and I decided to stay on the bus the entire ride, and then afterwards stop off at the sites that we wanted to see more of.

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My favourite Greek corner.

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After the bus tour, we found ourselves hiking up a bajillion steps to find a stunning view of Athens. The place is called Lycabettus hill, and it is 278 metres high above Athens. The view definitely made the climb worth it- but the picture below was taken so that we could catch our breath more than anything.

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The view from the top:DSC03332

Each day, my mom and I took it pretty easy, with generally some site seeing, and then a meal where we would sit and chat for hours. This was good because the service in Greece is soooo slow. We’d arrive at the restaurant, absolutely starving, and would desperately be trying to catch the eye of our server so that he or she would come over and place our order. However, at times it almost felt like they were intentionally ignoring us as they quickly whizzed by us. It was made worthwhile though, as I love Greek food and the food was amazing.

Interstingly enough, the food was better in Athens than on the island. Greek yogurt has forever been ruined for me, as the creamy, tasty, amazingness that is actual Greek yogurt is NOTHING like the greek yogurt you can buy from the local grocery store. And the feta cheese…mmmm- I would go back just for more feta cheese.

Anyways, moving on (as I have just made myself incredibly hungry), day 2, my mom and I went to visit the Parthenon. For those who are unfamiliar, the Parthenon is the formal temple that was dedicated to Athena, the goddess the city is named after. Construction of it began in 438 BC, and to this day is considered the high part of Greek art. The Parthenon is just one building, whereas the entire area is the Acropolis. You should definitely carve out a few hours to see the entire area. Everything that I read said to go either early in the day, or later in the evening, as the crowds can be pretty intense during high tourist season. Thankfully, May (when I was there), wasn’t too crazy and while there were tourists about, it was never too busy to be able to see what we wanted.

Such as, the theater below:

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Some areas can be more remote than others, and this area, with nature almost taking over the stairs allowed me to feel what it might have been like to have lived in Ancient Greek times.

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There is a ton of construction happening at the Acropolis. I was actually a bit dissapointed when I realised that part of the reason why there is still so much here to see, is because it is actually being rebuilt. They have removed a lot of the originals, where you can now see the actual artifacts in museums, and are replacing the actuals with copies. However, the scale of the size of this, and thinking of the technology they had to build everything, still blew my mind.

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Above is an olive tree which is perfectly placed outside one of the ancient buildings, and ties in beautifully with the fable of how Athens got its name.

A legendary creature named Cecrops built a beautiful city at the top of a hill. Cecrops was half man and half snake and called his city Cecropia. The gods of Olympus became jealous of this beautiful city. It was located in a stunning region and was prosperous, yet the city did not pay any tribute to them. Two gods emerged as the primary contenders for who the city should be name after: the god of the sea, Poseidon, and the goddess of wisdom, Athena. They both pleaded with Zeus, the ruler of the gods, to become the patron deity of Cecropia.

After thorough consideration, Zeus arrived at a decision. Both gods would present King Cecrops and his citizens with a gift. The citizens would choose a gift, and the corresponding god would become the patron deity and the city would be renamed in his or her honour.

After weeks of preparation, the two gods were prepared to present their gifts to the city. On a beautiful, sunny day, the citizens gathered on a hill to receive their gifts. First, Poseidon stepped to the highest point of the hill. He struck his legendary trident into the hilltop, creating a fountain of water. Poseidon declared, “Choose me as your patron god, and I will provide you with a never-ending flow of water. You shall never again experience a drought or thirst.”

The citizens were thrilled, at first; however, they quickly discovered that the water tasted of salt, as Poseidon was the god of the sea. They knew from their experience with sea water that it would not satisfy their thirst nor would it help their crops.

Athena then took the place of Poseidon. She held out her hand to reveal a single seed. She threw it into the ground, where it immediately took root and grew into an olive tree. Athena gently declared, “With me as your patron goddess, I will plant these trees all throughout the region. You will be able to harvest these trees for food, oil and firewood.” Astounded, everyone in attendance exclaimed, “Athena!”

And hence- Athens 🙂

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Day 3- my mom and I spent the better part at the museum. We learnt more about the Acropolis and saw a lot of the items which used to be actually at the Acropolis but have now been moved to the museum (when I went to the British museum a few months ago, I finally saw many more of the ancient relics, as the British stole a bunch of the artifacts a while back, and the government is now fighting to get them back).

After the museum, we just wandered around the city. One of my favourite parts of Athens was that you can be wandering down almost any street, and suddenly you are amonst old ruins which were a University that was set up by Plato.

 

 

 

 

 

Athens was a great place to visit, and I absolutely adored my time there.

However, the beauty of Greece is magnified even further on the islands, and where I want to go back and spend even more of my time.

But I’ll continue more next time on my time on the island… DSC03494

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