Published: June 13th 2011June 11th 2011
Rise and shine! Our body clocks are officially off with the time change. At 4:30 a.m. our eyes pop open thinking that is should be 2 p.m. We watch t.v. until 6 a.m. when the executive lounge opens for coffee and breakfast. The food here is proving to be very good. After breakfast we take showers and ready ourselves for the day. The guide books recommend getting an early start to avoid the crowds. Our plan is to head to the Acropolis on the top of the hill. Getting an early start will also prevent hiking up the hill in the 80 degree mid-afternoon heat.
We take the hotel shuttle to downtown and get dropped off a few blocks away for the Acropolis. At the base of the Acropolis we purchase our entry ticket that also allows us entry to 6 other attractions. We make our way up the hill and we are so taken a back by the view that it seems like a leisurely walk up the hill. The temperature is perfect and the views are breathtaking! The Acropolis is huge and makes us feel like little ants standing in its shadow. From
the top we can see all of Athens, including a birds eye view of the other monuments below. There are few other tourists wandering among the ruins. The architecture is awesome! It is crazy to think that people were able to cut , stack, and build something this big with such precision back in 427 BC. Some of the pieces of stone resemble lego blocks, which always remind me of my brother and his previous fascination with legos (maybe that was a foreshadowing of his future engineering career). After taking in all the views we head down the hill towards the New Acropolis Museum.
The museum is just a short walk from the base of the Acropolis. Before entering the building there are plexiglass windows allowing visitors to look through the ground to parts of an ancient Athenian neighborhood. The museum is very large and it seems very sparse inside despite the numerous artifacts.
Following the museum we take another short journey down the street to the Temple of Zeus and Hadrian's arch. The Temple of Zeus is huge! It is kinda weird to see such old monuments in the center of a large modern city.
Souvenir time! I have previously read in the guide book that there is a flea market not far from where we are. We consult the map and begin a leisurely walk to an area called Monastiraki. On the way to Monastiraki we also pass through a really quaint area known as Plaka. Monastiraki market is about a twenty minute walk. The sun is now beginning to add heat to the day and it is becoming quite warm. The market is a street filled with regular store shops and a section specializing in furniture and antique appearing items. We purchase a few items and then begin to look for a restaurant for lunch, ten minutes later we select what we think will be an amazing restaurant. The gentleman brings a round of waters but we start to notice a funny smell has accompanied the man and water. The smell seems to be clinging to the glass of water and every time the man passes us we get a whiff of dirty socks. It is very gross! We decide that if the dishes stink like bad dish water that this probably is not a place we want to eat. We
don't want to be rude so we tell the man we just want to drink and order two beers. We down the beers, leave a few Euros on the table and hit the pavement. We decide that the safest bet will be to return to our already favorite restaurant, Dionysos.
In another ten minutes we take our seats at our gem of a restaurant. It is a wonderful atmosphere and the food is just as good as the night before. Following lunch we made our way back to the hotel for an afternoon nap.
We meet Brian at the executive lounge again for evening drinks and appetizers to discuss dinner plans. None of us know the areas very well so we had a general plan to return to Plaka and cruise the streets to find a place for dinner. When we jumped in the cab we consulted the cab driver for a good place to dine. He recommended going down to the port near the water. We had nothing to lose so we agreed to his recommendation and once again we were steered in the right direction.
At the port, the main street is
lined with bars and restaurants right on the water. The cabbie dropped us off at his favorite place, Zorbas. The wall facing the water is glass and is open like a set of accordion closet doors. The sun as just set and the lights of the homes, bars, and streets are shining in all colors. It is a beautiful setting for dinner. We order an awesome fish dish large enough for the three of us. Dinner is fantastic!
After dinner we stroll down the streets taking in the nightlife by the water, grab a cab, and head back to the hotel. It was a very fun day followed by a great evening.
On a side note, we had been forewarned that the people of Greece may not be friendly to people who do not speak their language. We have found this to be extremely false! First off, almost everybody speaks English here and second, everybody has been very friendly and helpful.