Flying to Greece was honestly the most grueling trip we have taken. We almost didn’t make it out of Honolulu. Our flight was delayed an hour because of mechanical error. As we were standing in line, the ticket agents announced that they would be issuing new tickets on the plane only, and won’t be rebooking any flights. Because it was such a long flight, and having a connecting flight in Athens with a different airline, we stood in line anyway. Then Todd came along, a ticket agent for the airline, with his portable ticket booth. I made friends with him right away. He saw that we would miss our flight out to Paris to Athens, he worked his magic, and we were booked on a new flight. He probably got in trouble, but he seemed really passive about it. If it wasn’t for him, we would’ve lost our luggage, and our minds.
The Acropolis is the main attraction in Athens. These ruins date back from the 6th century b.c. where the Parthenon was used for a temple to the Gods. Before we started our days journey we stopped at Lulu’s Cafe for a baguette and espresso. We then started walking up winding cobblestone roads straight out of a Lonley Planet Guide Book. The streets curved to the left then right, sprinkled with colourful flower pots, and painted window shutters in reds, yellows, and blues.
Entrance fees to the Acropolis is 20 Euros. About $25 USD. Even though it’s expensive, it is worth traveling back in time to where ancient civilizations first developed modern society. To think that Marc Antony and Cleopatra stood together on the steps to the Parthenon brings emotional tears to my humbled eyes. Around the Parthenon you’ll find an amphitheatre designed to hold 5,000 people to watch plays, and entertainment. You’ll see statues of Athina, posed with her spear in one hand, and her shield in another. Clearly the Greeks favorite Goddess as she is abundantly found throughout Athens, and Greece. There’s also the Temple of Nike, Erechtheion, and down below in the city square of Athens is the Temple of Zeus.
Greece has long stood to maintain its cultural heritage. In 1941, during World War II, a younger man stood atop of the Acropolis protecting the Greek flag proudly flying upon the hill. Two German soldiers ordered the man to take down the flag, and replace it with a Nazi flag. The man calmly took down the flag, wrapped it around himself gingerly leaning over the hill, and falling to his death. The Nazi’s did put up their flag. Two days later some teenage boys scaled the cliffs of the Acropolis hill. They took down the Nazi flag and hoisted again the Greek flag before scaling down the cliff side again. Greece was the first country to revolt against the Nazi’s, and pave the way for other countries to do the same. Even in the 20th Century, Greeks were establishing democracy.
Over the years, the Parthenon took its toll of wars, being destroyed by humans, and wear from acid rain. It’s constantly under construction for restoration, so don’t be surprised if you see cranes up there preserving what they can for the next 2,000 years.
Take your time walking around the Parthenon, and get there early to avoid long ticket lines. Bring sunscreen as there is no escape from the mid-afternoon sun. Many people will go later in the day to catch the sunset from Mars Hill. We didn’t do this ourselves because the hill was connected with tourists. But it makes for the best shots of the Parthenon.
We casually strolled the Athens Museum which offered a full view of how big the excavation is. Upon entering the museum look under your feet through the clear plexiglass to see ruin after ruin being discovered. You can’t go below to tour, but there are some open areas where you can see ancient pottery, and aquaduct systems. Entrance fee is 6 Euros, or $7.00 USD. Most people spend about two hours at the museum. We spent close to five hours. Don’t rush through as there’s so much to take in.
After our day at the museum We found a beer pub near our hotel called Athens Beer. With resonably good beer and a laid back atmosphere. A perfect way to finish our visit to Athens.