Athens, known as the capital and largest city of Greece is a no-brainer. Almost everybody is familiar with it. Yet for those not acquainted, let me guide you through.
Greece is one of the world’s popular tourist destinations in the world. It is located in Southeastern Europe and was very influential in ancient times. It is well-known for its Greek Mythology wherein twelve Olympians (gods and goddesses) ruled the universe atop Greece’s Mount Olympus.
This is how our leg of the race started.
We started our journey with a flight from Dubai to Athens with a one hour stopover in Bahrain. By the way, these are my co-travelers: Jessa (left) and Sheila (center). It is wonderful to travel with friends since more heads and more pockets are better than one (if you know what I mean). 😉
It was a 5-hour flight from Dubai so there was ample time for us to slumber. I found unoccupied seats at the occiput part of the aircraft and made use of it so I can extend my legs while sleeping.
We arrived at 9pm in our accommodation which is the Achillion Hotel. Greece is 1 hour behind Dubai that is why jet lag was never an issue. After we left our things in the hotel, we went out directly without wasting time, roamed the streets and looked for food because we were totally famished.
While we were strolling around the center of the city, there are five things I assimilated that spellbound me.
- The National Bank of Greece is preserved and it is now 175 years old! They preserved the vault wherein it serves as an alluring facade of the building today.
- Tamed, stray dogs are everywhere; not to mention they are quite massive! They are seen on streets always sleeping, or if not, always tranquil and meek. These are fed by the local restaurants and are petted by everyone, they are harmless yet people still needs to be cautious. Surprisingly, they enjoy veterinary care, vaccination and parasite control in addition to a food provision scheme since Greece established a special section which implements a stray protection program for them. Cool! We in the Philippines don’t have that yet.
- Our Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte is very prominent. Our guide in the hotel, a Russian female, asked us about our president and compared him to her president, Vladimir Putin. It was a political interrogation regarding all what was happening in the news haha! Additionally, while walking on the street trying to look for a decent restaurant for us to try, we saw this restaurateur and asked us about our president too. He then gamely grabbed our shoulders for a quick photo-op with him.
Graffiti is everywhere. Yes, they have it in every wall, every vicinity, every space on the street, every suburb; total liberty in the public space per se. Some of the art are picturesque yet most of them hurts the eye. I believe that freedom of speech is a fundamental right but it should not be in this chaotic way. It is still deemed illegal.
- And lastly, they have an amazing view at night, the Acropolis! Acropolis, which means a citadel or fortified part of an ancient Greek city that is typically built on a hill, is the illustrious tableau of every night in Monastiraki Square. It is well lighted with warm ambiance at the loftiest part of the city and is implicating the history of Athens: it’s origin, it’s symbolization and it’s meaning of existence. It is just too powerful to explain.
Peculiarly, the best thing that happened to me in Athens was the food! It was extraordinary since it is full of vegetables (which is very healthy) and feta cheese and kebab and gyros yet every serving is way too economical! Our usual dine-in in Dubai would cost us around AED 100 each, but in Athens, we can eat for AED 30 per pax with complete meal from A to D! Yes, from appetizer to dessert!
This one below is a menu book from Thanasis Restaurant Monasteraki Square. I can doubtlessly live in a country that sells uncostly meal. It was a big relief for us knowing that for the next meals that we will be having, we will only pay for a quarter of our budget. (This is applicable to Athens though, Santorini is a different story). 😉
First night has ended. Too quick yet too informative. We proceeded to our hotel to get ready for our flight the next morning to Santorini. Click the link below to catch a glimpse of our white island getaway.
If you have read the link, you would come to know that we came back to Athens via Blue Star Ferries. Basically we arrived at past 11 in the evening and headed immediately to our hotel back to Achillion. It was a very tiring day since we hiked for hours that morning thus we decided to stay in the hotel and relax.
Next day came and we went to our rendezvous, the Monastiraki Square. There I met my secondary school classmate Kristen with her husband and they toured me and my friends around the city. This is another good tip: to connect with your friends who are in the vicinity. Not only you get to reunite with them, but also because they are well acquainted with what are the best views in the city.
Fist stop. Ruins. And more ruins!
We bought a one-day ticket tour around Athens wherein we can enter all the Historical sites and Museums which was around EURO 40 each. Not a bad price knowing that we were not able to use it all since we lack time.
These magnificent ruins are only on the center square, we did not walk far-flung to reach this spectacular creation which means these ruins are everywhere, it’s customary to them!
Upon walking towards the Acropolis since it’s located on a hill, I bumped again on these images. These, are in a way artistic and creative than the ones I saw the night we came. Yet it does not change the fact that it’s prohibited and unlawful.
Acropolis! What is that and why was it built?
The Acropolis of Athens (Ancient Greek: Ἀκρόπολις, tr. Akrópolis;Modern Greek: Ακρόπολη Αθηνών, tr. Akrópoli Athenón is an ancient citadel located on an extremely rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. – Wikipedia
It was built during the 400BC to ward off enemies from reaching their territories.
Upon reaching Acropolis, I was enticed with the eye-catching hollow landscape on that uphill, and that is the Odeon of Herodes Atticus which is a stone theatre structure!
Acropolis at last! We reached the peak and were astonished by almost every ruin possible. In front of this structure is the entrance towards the distinguished and outstanding Parthenon! But wait, let me finish that on the second part of this issue.
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