Travel TopOfBlogs Past and future wanderings of a travel bug . . .: A Day in Athens

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Day in Athens

Ok, so I promised to tell you how I spent the day in Athens. So here it is.

Anyone who has traveled to Greece will understand when I use the term "Greek Time". For those of you that are unfamiliar with this, the concept of "Greek Time" is this: things kind of run at their own pace in Greece . . .time tables are often rough guides for when transportation arrives and leaves. The pace is very relaxed. Meals are often much later than most North Americans are used to--and as a result if you are the type to want to start your day with a hearty breakfast you may have difficulty in finding much more than coffee or tea and bread. Sometimes you may find some cheese and olives and even some Greek style yogurt with honey on offer. For me, not being a big eater in the morning worked out well and I started my first day in Athens with a coffee and bread with jam and cheese overlooking the Acropolis from my hotel's rooftop garden. The Hotel Adonis has a great location in the Plaka (Athen's old town) at the foot of the Acropolis. The hotel is simple but excellently located and fairly priced. I found it listed in Lonely Planet. I also stayed in the Hotel Hermes, which is just blocks away and much more upscale.

After breakfast I wandered through the Plaka, map safely tucked away in a small bag. In time I found myself at the very foot of the path leading up to the ruins of the Acropolis--it was a Sunday morning in November and my lucky day--free admission. It was cool outside but still warm enough to make the trek up without a jacket. Though there were many other things I wanted to see that day I was in no hurry. I had waited years to see this place and would savor the trip up. I was not disappointed. The path was relatively empty on the way up but there were others enjoying the view from the top. The ruins are formidable, and it is difficult to comprehend the skill it would have taken to build this place. Seeing the Theatre of Dionysus was a highlight for me as well. In university I studied both classics and drama. I directed a production of Aristophanes' Lysistrata in my 4th year and it was amazing to see a place where this same play might have once been performed. This was an amazing start to an amazing trip--I did make a couple of mistakes however. I forgot to bring two things--water and spare batteries for my camera! There is a small stand near the visitors facilities that had water available but it seemed overpriced and I did not find batteries until I returned to the plaka! As a result I did miss out on some great photo ops.

I spent the remainder of my day doing a number of things, visiting the Archaeological Museuem (also free entry that day!), wandering through the ancient agora, taking the Metro, watching the changing of the guard at Syntagma Square, enjoying the flora and fauna of the nearby gardens, checking out the wares of the shops in the plaka and enjoying a freshly made spanakopita for a light lunch. Other things to do if you find yourself in Athens--well, there are loads of museums, including the new Acropolis museum which has opened since my last visit, there is some great shopping including the flea market in the Monastiraki area, and just enjoying the food on offer. There is so much more I could tell you but I will save it for another post on another day! If you are inspired and want to visit but have questions please feel free to post or email me! Happy traveling!

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