Today was as good as it gets. We woke up once again to another amazing sun rise over the city of Athens. (I love having my travel happen while I sleep rather than spend a day in airports, trains and taxis.)
Today turned out perfectly. When we got off the boat we hired a taxi for the day. Bill (Vasillis) was our taxi driver. He was great. When he was in a hurry he would drive in the right turn only lane to the front of the street then turn in front of the motorcycles so he could be in the front of the line of cars for when the light changed. He is the taxi driver that I think that I’d want in the Amazing Race.
A man selling food to the people in the morning commute.
Apartments in Athens
We drove to the Acropolis. Bill stayed in the taxi holding parking lot while we looked around all the different sites (again felt like the amazing race as our taxi stayed and waited for us). It was amazing to see all that they have done to restore the Acropolis. There are cranes and scaffolding on many of the buildings. There was marble on the ground, but they had covered some of it with a cement type of surface so that it isn’t so slippery. You have to use your imagination to see the whole structure from the ruins, but it is amazing to think that they built such great structures so many years ago. The view from on top of the Acropolis is unreal. You have a 360 degree view of Athens which is huge and goes on and on in every direction. Just more and more white buildings as far as you can see.
Olives groves at the base of the acropolis.
Looking out through a hole in the wall.
We then walked past and saw the theatres of Dionysus
and Odean of Herodes Atticus which are below the Acropolis. Here there were great plays and speakers. The Odeon of Herodes Atticus has been refurbished and is currently used for performances.
The Temple of Zeus was our next stop. There were only 13 remaining columns of the 72 or 75 original columns. One of the 13 has been blown down, but is still present. The others were carried off to other countries or used for building materials elsewhere over the centuries. It is an imposing structure. Each column was huge. It must have been quite amazing, and worthy of their most powerful Diety in its day.
We then headed to the President of Greece’s home to see the changing of the guards. Our taxi driver told us that all men must serve in the military for 10 months. The most amazing thing was to watch the taxi’s drive up and drop off their passengers to watch this change. Many people don’t have a clue what a white line means (don’t cross) and the poor military officer had to keep telling people to move behind the white line. Check out our pictures and Owen had a stay at being a guard.
We then went to the Olympic stadium. My dream was to run around the track of the original Olympic stadium. I truly thought I’d be able to until we paid to get inside and saw it was blocked off. There were a couple of openings and I was very tempted to run just a little bit while Owen filmed me. I was trying to get up the nerve until the construction crew got back from their lunch and then I knew I had missed my chance. I climbed up to the top of the stadium instead. It is amazing that the whole stands are built out of marble. No aluminum steps here. It was a very impressive site.
We were able to go up into the underground tunnel which lead to the other side of the hill in olden days or to the changing rooms in modern days, and from which the athletes enter into the stadium.
We then told Bill that we wanted to see the Plaka which was the old town area with lots of shops. He asked if we wanted to buy souvenirs, but we said no just take pictures. He then drove us through many of the small streets to show us the sites. When I wasn’t getting good shots he took my camera and while driving would stop and take shots of the cool streets. Owen has the whole ride on video. It was a great way to see the sites in fast forward.
We then headed back to towards the boat for lunch. We turned the corner on a cute church. I took a picture and he stopped the taxi and took us into the Greek Orthodox Church. He said his prayers upon entering. It was beautiful inside. As we left he picked up 4 candles to light for us and our family. It was a nice peaceful place and I loved to watch him as he honored his religion and shared it with us.
We then headed near the Marina for lunch. We stopped at an amazing little restaurant on the marina. No wall or door between you and the water. We were seated right on the water, but under a cover.
They cooked the food in a building across the street and would bring it to you in the seating area. They have the most amazing way of choosing what you want to eat. They bring it to you to pick (seafood that is).
Lunch was amazing. I have fallen in love with tomato cucumber salad. Check out our photos and look at the size of the tomatoes. They were huge.
Owen got snapper fish and I got a pork chop.
It was so fun enjoy an amazing lunch with an incredible view. While we were there, the weather changed and there was a bit of lightening/thunder and a nice rain shower. We have really lucked out so far that the rain showers so far on this trip have all happened after we’ve had beautiful skies and are eating amazing lunches.
Once we finished lunch we headed back to the boat. All in all, I don’t know how the day could have been better! I loved spending time with Owen exploring yet another amazing place. Many people say that they find Athens to be a dirty city. Granted I didn’t ride the trains like we did in Rome and Naples, but I found it to be less dirty with much less graffiti than Naples. Paris so far has been the cleanest city.
Tomorrow we are visiting Turkey, and the city of Ephesus. Stay tuned!