3 whole weeks in beautiful Italy, it was now time to head to Gorgeous Greece. It is a 3-hr flight from Fiumicino Airport to Athens. At the time we visited Athens, the economy was rising to the height of its bankruptcy so we were greeted with a lot of rallies and strikes; it was petrifying but these didn’t stop the tourists from visiting. The weather was very promising compared to that of Italy. I was finally able to wear a dress! Despite the country’s situation, the city still put its best foot forward and offered us an unlimited experience.
Athens is one of the oldest, greatest, historical cities in Europe. Just like Rome, as you walk along the streets of Athens, there are proofs of how great this city once was; every few meters you come across an Ancient monument. The city has clearly preserved its history and has unified it amidst the city’s modern day life.
From the Airport, we took the X95 Bus to Syntagma Square and took a cab to our hotel, Joker Hotel, in Omonia where we stayed for 3 nights. It wasn’t the best place to stay at. The hotel is located in an extremely dodgy area of Athens with a lot of homeless people sleeping on benches just outside the hotel; it felt very unsafe, especially when walking around at night and there was no air-conditioning in the room, not that we needed it anyway. The person in charge didn’t even know how to speak English. I can’t complain, really, as we got what we paid for. I only have 3 good things to say about this place; 1) it served breakfast 2) it was a few meters away from the train station and 3) the room was pretty big.
We were in this city for three whole days, which was enough time to really feel Athens. On the first day, we dedicated our day to exploring the historic center and the sites around the Acropolis. From Omonia, We took the train to Akropoli stop and explored the ruins of the great Acropolis, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. As we bought our ticket, it came with a little “buy 1, take all” surprise. For €12, the ticket is already packaged! Meaning, you buy a ticket for one monument, it includes most if not all the archaeological sites in the city. The ticket is sold at the entrance of any of these places – not bad, huh?
- The Acropolis of Athens
- The Ancient Agora
- The North slope of Acropolis
- The Roman Agora and
- The South Slope of Acropolis
THEATER OF DIONYSUS
The Acropolis is where the Greek Parthenon sits quietly showing off its ancient wonder. This building like the Coliseum has been through the test of time. The number of wars and bombings it has gone through shows how strong and durable it is. It is currently being restored hoping to bring it back to its grandeur state but it has been years and it is still under construction.
Trivia: The Parthenon was dedicated to the maiden virgin goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron idol. This building was built around 500 years before its counterpart in Rome, the Coliseum.
The Acropolis has one of the greatest views I’ve ever seen. it is a 360 degree view of the city of Athens. One would probably think he is looking down at a city covered with snow because of all the white buildings.
Because we bought the packaged ticket the day before, my brother and I decided to see all the museums and monuments that were included in the ticket. We started our day at 8:30am. It was a whole lot of walking for us.
TEMPLE OF OLYMPIAN ZEUS
First stop was the Temple of Zeus; This was dedicated to Zeus and it is said that this was the biggest, grandest building during its hay-day, even larger than the Parthenon itself.
Agora means “gathering place” (Thanks to Wikipedia). Around this area are ruins of the ancient greek civilization similar to the Roman Forum in Rome. I have to get information about these buildings on the internet since it has been years and my memory is failing me. The problem of wanting to see so much with limited time is that we didn’t even know what we were looking at anymore; all we did was take a lot of photos and moved on. Not to mention we didn’t even have a tour guide with us. Forgive me but the next few structures will have no descriptions.
STOA OF ATTALUS MUSEUM
NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
After seeing everything that was needed to be seen, we met up with my parents at Syntagma Square and watched the exchanging of the guards.
There is no city in Europe that doesn’t have a street full of branded shops. My mom and I had to separate with the men to do our own shopping. We were stuck at MAC Makeup and spent a fortune there.
From the wide array of choices in restaurants, we came across one that caught our attention. The waiter was half Filipino so without a doubt, we chose his restaurant to have our last family dinner together before Marco leaves for Paris the next day. I have never eaten so much onions and tomatoes in one sitting in my meal before. The food was just amazing!
This lively area is where the action is! All the restaurants, shops, cafes, drinks and entertainment is found in this area. Prior to visiting Greece, I had no idea what Greek cuisine was like nor I had any idea of how it tastes like. I thought I was inlove with Italian food but when I had my first taste of that lamb kebab, I fell deep! Greek food flew right on top of my favorite dishes. The entire time we were in Athens, the food was just mouth-watering and the view of the Acropolis over lunch just puts the cherry on top.
Although Athens was in crisis and the Greeks were having problems, the city didn’t fail to offer us a great experience. Greece was going broke, but it will always be a city rich in history, rich in culture and rich in memories.
(April 13 – 15, 2010)