Greece

Athens

Here you’ll find travel reports about Athens. Discover travel destinations in Greece of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

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  • Day23

    Having lunch and dinner with ancient Greece watching over you, hard to beat.
    Hadrian's Arch looking over us during lunch in the park.
    Did a bit of Shopping! Finally found a body shop to restock my makeup. And some shorts and pants to replace what I have worn out.
    Syntagma Square with the fountain and parliament house looking over.
    Stumbled upon The Holy Temple of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary, known as "Kapnikareas".
    Had dinner at Amoroso Café to try out some musaka while the Acropolis of Athens overlooks us.
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  • Day26

    As we left the fun and beauty of Santorini we were a bit uncertain about Athens. A bit poor and seedy? Lots of beggars and ATM's without cash?

    Well, actually no. From start to finish we enjoyed every aspect of Athens, from the archaeological sites to the shopping to the restaurants to the gardens.

    We stayed at the La Strada Hotel, special enough to get a couple of photos below, one for its great rooftop bar with an Acropolis view, and one for the room, apparently designed by a guy who owns a glass factory!

    We visited all the ancient sites, plus the Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum. These latter two were great to help make sense of the ruins, some of them not more than piles of rock to our untrained eyes.

    How the restorers can reinstate a piece of pottery broken into twenty pieces, then strewn all over the ground, then buried for a couple of thousand years is incredible.

    Monastiraki and its stalls and bars and restaurants was great fun too. We quite enjoyed having a drink and a wander around in the evening, when the hordes of cruise passengers had all retreated back to the buffet.

    Well, by the time anyone reads this we will be back in Arncliffe, recovering and unpacking and ready to go again. What a great holiday!
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  • Day3

    We landed in Greece, cleared customs in record time and headed for the metro station. First little glitch... We forgot that Greece is basically a cash economy and could not purchase tickets. We spent the next 20 minutes searching for an ATM. All cashed up we navigated the metro like locals and with some helpful directions were at our accommodation for the night.

    Our accommodation was a quaint little 1 bedroom apartment in Athina. In this instance quaint refers to the fact our entire apartment was smaller than my bedroom.
    Our host Stefano, gave us the ground rules including don't flush your toliet paper (and can I tell you this is a bizarre feeling). A quick shower left us feeling envigorated and it was time to explore.

    * Note: Mum/Dad, I remember you once complained your apartment didn't have hot water. We were instructed to turn the water on at the mains 30-40 minutes before showering and turn it off just before showering.

    We found a little warren of eats at the foothills of the Acropolis and stopped for a bite to eat at All That Jatz. The service here was fantastic, largely due to the carafe and half of free wine we were given. With full bellies and heads buzzing we headed back to our apartment to catch up on much needed sleep.
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  • Day13

    Plaka is one of the oldest suburbs in Athens. It is located on the north east slopes of the Acropolis. It is characterised by its narrow cobblestone streets and beautiful old buildings filled with shops and restaurants. You will find some amazing ruins including the Ancient Agora and a number of museums. I loved the buildings, such foreign architecture when compared to Australia, so with the assistance of Dr Google I can now tell you they are in a Neoclassical style (which I gather is a fancy way 18th century elegance). A lot of the shops and restaurants are touristy but you get this small village feeling when you visit these streets.

    We stopped at Lulu's bakery and deli for breakfast. We had some delicious pastries, but I don't remember what they were called.

    Next it was the Acropolis Museum. This stop was something I was excited about and it didn't disappoint. Firstly it's design is amazing. It is supported by pillars built over ruins that were discovered during pre-construction. It's modern building and not overly lavish but has glass windows on all sides allowing for tonnes of natural light. The glass floors not only allow you to see the ruins below but also increase the natural light. The top floor is my favourite. Here you can see a subtle homage to the Parthenon with the concrete pillars mimicking that of the Parthenon with artwork laid in between the pillars. It attempts to show the viewer what the Parthenon would of been. Fabulous.

    The museum is well laid out, with sections for different parts of the Acropolis. It is a mixture of treasures from the Acropolis and reproductions again designed to give the viewer an overall idea of what the Acropolis would of looked like 2500 years ago. We started on the top floor, where there is a great introduction video to the Parthenon and the Acropolis. We viewed the sculptures and artwork and I was continually gobsmacked at the craftsmanship and just how old items were.

    Oh it also had this super cute lego Acropolis... If only it came in a set.
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  • Day13

    The Acropolis and the Parthenon. Wow. Amazing. Breathtaking.

    The Parthenon is considered by many, particularly the Greeks to be the symbol of ancient Greece and the birthplace of democracy. I can now see why. This monumental structure was built in 9 years from 447BC - 438BC although decoration continued through to 432BC. It was designed as a temple for the goddess Athena, the patron of Athens.

    It is believed the Parthenon replaced an older temple of Athena that was destroyed in the Persian Invasion. As was Athenian custom the temple also doubled as the city treasury. Sometime in the 6th Century AD the temple was converted into Christian church. In the 1460s after the Ottoman conquest it was converted to a mosque. In 1687 the building was severely damaged as a of result of fighting between the Ottomans and the Venetians. In the early 1800s a significant amount of the sculptures were removed from the temple and sold into private collections. The Greek government has actively been trying to repatriate this artwork. Given that some of these pieces have been in the British Museum since 1816 I think they have no chance. But I hope I am wrong.

    The Parthenon is currently partially covered by scaffolding, initially I was disappointed to have an obstructed view. However, I overheard a guide talking about the painstaking restoration operation and how without it this monument would completely collapse. In a nutshell, they locate a marble stone slab that is structurally unsound, measure it's dimensions and create a concrete replica. The replica replaces the marble and then they find local marble of the same colour to replace the broken slab. The marble is prepared using a mixture of traditional and modern techniques to ensure that in time new and old marble will blend and she together. The new marble replaces the concrete slab once it is prepared.

    But the Acropolis is home to more than just the Parthenon. It has beautiful 360° degree views of the city. I also liked the temple dedicated to Nike and there was plenty more on the slopes of the Acropolis. The highlights for me were the Theatre of Dionysus, Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the cave on the south-eastern slope.

    After being in Greece for a number of days we were yet to try souvlaki, we had been recommended to try Thanasis Souvlaki in Monasteraki. To be frank this was the most disappointing meal of the trip to date. It was tough, unflavoured, chewy meat and there was minimal sauce leaving us with a very boring and tasteless souvlaki.

    We finished the night A for Athens, a roof top bar in Monasteraki. It has amazing views of the Acropolis and lovely (but pricey) cocktails. A perfect to finish a big day. Despite the price this place is worth a visit.
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  • Day12

    Today I took a tour off the ship, A Taste of Athens, Mim Lawson stayed on board as she has been to the Ancient sites of Athens previously. We spent some time at Athens Acropolis which means the highest point of the city. On the Acropolis a number of ancient sites are found. Firstly you climb the slippery marble steps, both formed and unformed, to walk through the Propylaea, the entry gate with its imposing columns. Once through the entry gate the Parthenon, a former temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, overwhelms the site. The Parthenon construction began around 447 BC so understandably today they are undertaking repairs to maintain the buildings integrity. The other building on the site, which is still in good repair, is the Erechtheion which was a Temple dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. On one side there is a large porch with six ionic columns, and on the other side is the "Porch of the Maidens", six draped female figures (caryatids) used as supporting columns. After visiting the Acropolis we had a bus tour of the town finishing in the Pláka, the old historical neighborhood which sits beneath the Acropolis. This area is a great spot for everything Greek, food and of course the tourist shops.Read more

  • Day13

    We continued our mega tourist day with a walk though the Ancient Agora. The word agora means public space and this space is huge; we could of easily spent an entire day in this space. The space was originally a residential and burial area but by the early 6th Century BC it was redesigned into a public space. This space has been continually excavated by archaeologists since 1931. However it had been previously excavated over the years dating back to 1859. So as you can imagine there is a lot to be seen.

    The Stoa of Attalos, a trade centre and commercial hub built in approximately 150BC has been restored and now houses an museum focusing on Athenian Democracy. We skipped this however given the lack of signage in the grounds if I was to visit again I might start here to get a better understanding of the area.

    The highlight for me was Temple of Hephaestus which was constructed between 449 - 415BC and is the best preserved building from this time period. While not as grand as the Parthenon, it's completeness gives you an idea of the grandness of ancient Athenian architecture. The building is so well maintained due to it being in use until 1934. It served as a Greek Orthodox church until 1834 until King Otto (the first King of Greece) decreed the building should be used as a museum. In 1934 the use of the building as a museum discontinued and archaeological research on the site began. If you are wondering Hephaestus is the patron god of metal work, craftsmanship and fire.

    The other ruins are interesting too, there are a number of houses that are remarkably well preserved. But I really like the idea that I have now walked the same streets as Socrates did thousands of years ago.

    Nearby is Hadrian's Library, the highlight for me in this area was the statue of Nike (goddess if victory) despite losing her wings, arms and head she was beautiful. Also I love that the religious figurehead for winning, victories and competitiveness was female. Girl Power!

    The Roman Agora was again more ruins, I probably found this area the least interesting out if the three. Mostly like being a combination of it felt like it was more of the same and it wasn't particularly well sign posted so I wasn't sure what I was looking at.

    If I was to do this again I'd look at downloading some sort of audio tour to my phone before visiting any of these sites just so I could have some better context at what I was looking at.
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  • Day12

    We said 'antío' to Paros and set off for Athens. For our ferry ride back we had purchased economy tickets and found that so had every one else. There was no where to sit except black plastic chairs in front of the toilets. It didn't take us long to pay the 5€ for the upgrade to a designated seat. Definitely worth it, would of been a long 5 hours otherwise.

    Athens and Greek public transport is easy to use. We purchased a multi day pass which allowed us to bus and train all round Athens. As we were now the queens of the metro, we quickly navigated to Kerameikos station and walked the breezy 40 metres to our apartment.

    Our apartment is, or was at some stage a shag pad. It had a pallet bed side table, a racy red futon, a tyres stack with a pane of glass on top for a coffee table and an easel. The thing that really gives you the sense that this is a shag pad is that it is directly above a gay nightclub and seems to have matching colour schemes.

    After settling in we packed up a rather large amount of dirty clothes and went to find the nearest laundry. We trekked and trekked.... And found a dry cleaner with an old man that did not speak a word of English. As we speak no more than five words of Greek none of which relate to laundry, it was a very short conversation.

    Finally 2 hours after setting out we found a laundromat it was three metro stations from our apartment so a bit of a hike. We wanted our clothes and partially dried some (we ran out of coins). We packed up our clothes and caught the metro home.

    We needed to dry our clothes so utilised every possible drying surface in our apartment, cupboard doors, TV, coat hangers, chairs and an easel. It looked ridiculous.

    We finished the night off with dinner at Good Wolf, it had a great atmosphere, pleasant staff but the food was mostly forgettable.

    Sleeping was fun too, I found myself waking up singing to very loud club music more than once.
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  • Day8

    Der letzte Abend. - gegen 16:30 brachten wir Drea und Jimmy zu Bahnstation um danach im Hotel noch etwas zu chillen und uns frisch zu machen.
    Es regnete und wir gingen erneut Richtung Akropolis um etwas zu essen. Danach ein Drink in einer netten Bar und ein Absacker Ouzo auf der Dachterrasse des Hotels.

  • Day1

    Der Burgberg in der Abendsonne

You might also know this place by the following names:

Athens, Athen, Atenas, أثينا, ܐܬܝܢܐ, Afina, Атэны, Атина, Aten, Atina, Atenes, Athény, Аѳины, Αθήνα, Ateno, Ateena, آتن, Athènes, Atene, An Aithin, Atenas - Αθήνα, Ἀθῆναι, Atena, אתונה, Athén, Աթենք, ATH, Kota Athena, Athina, Aþena, アテネ, ათენი, 아테네, Athenae, Atėnai, Atēnas, अथेन्स, Athene, Ateny, Афины, Ateni, Atény, ஏதென்ஸ், เอเธนส์, Lungsod ng Athína, ئافېنا, Афіни, 雅典

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