Greece

Acropolis, I finally met you!

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Our only full day in Athens as well as the last day of our two weeks Greece trip, mission for today: to see the Acropolis. I regretted didn’t make it four years ago so this time the only reason I stayed in Athens was to see the Acropolis! No time wasted, let’s started the day! We followed the map and walked to the first stop early in morning: Arch of Hadrian, just before the Temple of Zeus. We were here four years ago and it was cloudy and rained a little bit, but today, it was blue sky wohooo!

Then, we walked to the Temple of Zeus by 9 AM. We purchased the Acropolis pass for 12 euros each, cash only, for access to the Acropolis and others like Temple of Zeus and Ancient Agora. No line at all because the temple was nearly empty hahaha!

It was very different when viewing it from the distance compared to just right in front of it!! The details of those columns are mesmerizing!

Next stop: Acropolis, yes finally I met you! Before entering, we brought an iced cold bottle of water from the newspaper stand for 50 cents euro only, it was totally worth it!

First, we passed the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, this theater is still in use today for the summer outdoor concert!!!

 Even though we arrived at around 10 AM, there were already few tour groups there. We sneaked in a corner away from the tour group to snapped a few shots.

Moving on entering the Acropolis!! The entrance is the Propylaea:

Columns, golden rectangle, marbles, yes this is the Acropolis!

There was restoration going on and has been going on for years. It was quite difficult to get photos of no people in it, oh well, we tried our best! The Erechtheum, temple of Athena and Poseidon:

Words can not describe my feelings of actually being there and seeing the two thousand years+ structure still standing!

The Parthenon, dedicated to my favorite Greek Goddess: Athena! I first heard about Parthenon was during my middle school math class about the golden rectangles 😀

I had a few seconds to snapped this in between tour groups passing by so yes definitely need patience and luck!

Don’t forget the details of the temple!!!

Another tour group arrived again!

View of the Theatre of Dionysus from the top of the Acropolis, we’ll visit there later:

The reconstruction going on:

Back to The Erechtheum again on the back side:

Time flew by and it was almost 1 pm!!! Hubby, let’s go have lunch!

Not yet…….we climbed the rocks after we exited the Acropolis, the rocks were quite slippery so be careful! Reward was: view of the Acropolis!

And the city of Athens:

I was really starving and we ran out of water! We walked to Smile Cafe, pretty close to the Acropolis Museum, well known for gyros!!! We got there and got a seat immediately, thank god not as crowded as I would thought a highly rated restaurant would be! Inside the wall was filled with white rocks filled with customers signature and messages 🙂

Hubby ordered the pork kebab:

I got the giant pita, it was really giant in size!

It was that huge!

Both were delicious no wonder why it ranked #1 in Athens! Total 16 euros included tips, affordable and tasty!!!

After the yummy lunch, next stop: the Acropolis Museum, 5 euros each entrance fee.

It had a great view of the Acropolis!

There’s a cafe on the 2nd floor where you can get good view of the Acropolis too!

We didn’t stay long there…again, we are not museum type people xD. Final stop: Theatre of Dionysus.

It was burning hot in the early afternoon and no shade what so ever! I ran out snapped few photos and went back to the tree while hubby filmed some videos!

If it wasn’t that hot, I would spend more time 🙁 I guess we stayed for 30 minutes and Ieft for the hunt for cold drinks!!! Near it is highly rated Greek Yogurt place, Fresko!

I tried out the famous Greek Yogurt with honey and walnuts while hubby tried out the ice-cold yogurt smoothie…fresh peach!

The Greek Yogurt with honey and walnut was good and hubby’s peace yogurt smoothie was awesome! We highly recommended it!!! What a relief for the hot burning sun!

We rested a bit there and took our time enjoying the smoothie. We walked the souvenir street right on the bottom of the Acropolis. There, we found this shop where all the gifts are handmade!!!

I got the plane with flapping wings and the “windmill” like wings (two of them actually, one for my brother and one for my brother in law). I asked for a volume discount but she refused however she offered to engraved our names for free 🙂 Total for three planes were: 49 euros, very unique gifts to bring home; my brother likes it!

On our way back to Syntagma Square, we saw more interesting churches:

We made it back few minutes before the 4 PM; just on time for the change of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (it’s every hour on the exact hour)! Before it starts, you are free to go near the soldier (called Evzones) for a picture, there are two soldiers there and they are not allowed to talk! You are not allowed to wear a hat or sunglasses when taking the photo with the guard. If you violate the rule or do something inappropriate, the soldier will knock the floor with his gun and a guard will come over to tell you what you can’t do. Here’s the picture of me and the guard 😀 Their shoes are quite funny looking!

The tomb on the right hand side:

When the change of the guard ceremony about to start, the guard told us to stand behind the line and left an opening space in the middle. I happened to stand right on where he asked people to split into two rows for the opening space, lucky me! That was how I got photos without a head in front of me 😀 Three soldiers marched in, their steps are very odd LOL!

The guard inspected the soldiers….very strict!

Funny style marching like slow motion haha, you have to see it!

The whole thing took less than 10 minutes, they changed those two soldiers, and left….the pattern repeat every one hour! Afterwards, we went back to the hotel to rest a little before heading out for dinner. While hubby took a short nap, I started to pack because tomorrow we’ll be going back home 🙁

Dinner, we decided to try out another Asian restaurant on the same block called Furin Kazan. We ordered the salmon, the sauce was tasty!

Avocado with sesame sauce.

Soba stir fried noodle and fried rice. Their sushi is pretty expensive compared to the ones we had at home, selection wasn’t great either. They didn’t have any spicy octopus…sigh!

Dinner total was 50 euros included tip, more expensive than Dosirak and we enjoyed Dosirak more! On our way back to the hotel, we stopped by the bakery again to buy some sandwiches or pastries for breakfast tomorrow before we head to the airport. Two weeks went by too fast!!! I accomplished what I planned in Athens so I am happy. For the next trip, I wouldn’t come back to Athens, not that it’s not great but I have seen what I wanted to see, I’ll definitely make some time to visit Meteora, known as city in the sky. I found out about it after my plan have been made on the three islands so I really couldn’t fit it without compromising my time in Santorini.

Our flight was at 1:05 PM so we don’t need to wake up before the crack of dawn to get to the airport. We took our time, ate our breakfast, and then check out the hotel. We took the metro again, not all trains headed to airport so pay attention to the airport logo on the windows! The display on the track also indicate if the next train final destination is the airport or not! We made to the airport safely; I have heard about pick pocketing at the airport metro so we paid extra attention to our surroundings! Once we arrived at the airport, I noticed that the airline changed our flight! We supposed to fly to Munich and then to Boston, but they re-routed us to Frankfurt. I asked why, their explanation was the fly will be delayed so we couldn’t make the connection.

In summary, we had an excellent time in our two weeks in Greece, visiting Rhodes (with a day trip to Symi), Mykonos (with a day trip to Delos), Santorini, and Athens. I felt I allocated the time to each island correctly so wasn’t feeling rush at all. It could be better if the weather wasn’t cloudy on the three days in Santorini! Our favorite island is still Santorini, I don’t think anywhere can change its ranking in my heart! The most surprised island is Symi, it was so much more pretty than I thought! I think my choices of the islands were a good mix, Rhodes was ancient Medieval town, Symi was colorful and quiet, Mykonos was cute, and Santorini of course I don’t need to explain further. If I had an extra week, I would add Milos, Pyros, and Naxos!! Save for the next time, we will be definitely going back to Santorini! When will we be able to afford a house there?

 

11 thoughts on “Acropolis, I finally met you!

  1. Your photos are stunning!! Loved reading about your Greece trip. Cannot wait to go there!! Your blog will be so useful when I start planning. Thanks! 🙂

  2. Great photos! We will be in Athens for 2 days next July 2015. I know it’s a year away, but I’m starting to plan now. If you had another 1/2 day there, how would you spend it? I know we want to see the Acropolis, but beyond that, not really sure how we should spend 2 days. TripAdvisor has an “Athens in 3 days” blog article, but we’ve only got 2 days there. I think we are staying at the Athens Gate hotel. Thoughts?? Thanks!

    1. Hi Tara,

      Extra 1/2 day, I would walk up Filopapou Hill, I heard it has great view of the Acropolis from there. We didn’t do that since it was hot and we wanted to take it easy on our last part of our two weeks trip. Another idea would be Lycabetus Hill, a little bit further away, metro required to get there.

  3. Really good photos. I am going to Europe for 5 weeks with my fiance before we get married. I am glad to have found your site. The photos are very inspiring. I’m a little worried about pickpockets and petty theft in Europe though. So your site is a nice, positive escape from the fear. 🙂

    1. 5 weeks!! I am jealous! I wish I could stay for 5 weeks to explore the wonderful continent! Where are you visiting in those 5 weeks? Watch your belongs, be cautious of your surroundings, and do not leave valuables inside your hotel room then you should be fine! If you have valuables, best to ask the hotel if you can leave them in the hotel’s safe (not the one inside the room) at the front desk!

      1. I’ve waited a long time for an opportunity to travel for more than a month. We are going Istanbul, Mykonos, Santorini, Athens, Venice, Florence, Rome and Barcelona. I’ll be reading your website for more tips. 🙂

  4. Hi, really enjoy your blog. I am going to Athens and Santorini next week. I was just wondering what maps did you use to travel around in both Athens and Santorini? I often get worried in other countries about getting lost especially since I can’t use google maps on my iPhone for directions. Do you have any suggestions or tips for Athens and Santorini?

    1. Hi Danielle,

      Maps for driving or just walking around?

      Driving:
      Santorini – it’s really basic map since there are only two-three major roads to get to places like Oia, Fira, Kamari, Red Beach, I use the map from the car rental company and it got me to everywhere I wanted to go. The map can be download from here as well: http://www.motorinn.gr/santorini-map There are also signs on the major roads, very easy to follow and navigate. You can’t drive into most of the villages so usually there’ll be some parking lots where you parked the car and then navigate the village by foot.

      Athens – We didn’t rent a car so no comment on that one.

      Walking around:
      Santorini – there’s really no detail map of each village since the streets are not named. Each village is compact enough for you to walk around without getting lost and have signs to point you to places. In Oia – there’s one main road where all the shops and restaurants are located, smaller roads to go down the cliff where the hotels are located. Hotels are very hard to find especially those small villas so best to arrange for hotel pick-up. You only need to remember the way back to the hotel and the rest are navigate on your own. Same towards if you are staying in Imerovigli, Firostefani, or Fira!

      Athens – get a map from the hotel, very easy to follow to get to major sites 🙂

      Have a great time!

  5. Their shoes are traditional, as the whole uniform, and they’re coming from the years of Turkish Occupation, therefore an extremely sharp knife was hidden inside the front part of the shoe.

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