Arriving in Athens after a long boat ride from Mykonos, I was happy to be there. I had been told by several others how dirty and ugly Athens is, and how ungodly hot it was. I found none to be true, but maybe that’s because I have been to REALLY HOT places or have been to REALLY UGLY places too lol. I will give Athens the award for the most tagged city ever, for every piece of wall, train car, building façade, etc was covered in graffiti.
I arrived at night and did per the directions of the hostel and rode the metro into the city center. When I emerged, there was a street of people strolling along next to a park. The street was dimly lit, and pedestrian use only, and vendors were all along the side selling who knows what.
I made my way to the Circus Hostel, which was a beautiful old building taken over and made into a new hip hostel. I got set up in my room, and Robert had just arrived as well. We met up after checkin, and found our way to a kebap place to have a late night snack.
The next morning, we went on the free guided tour of Athens. When we arrived, the guy was introducing everyone one by one, which became annoying because the longer he waited in that spot, the more people found us, and the introductions continued to linger. Finally after 15 minutes later, we were off on our free explanation tour of the surrounds.
It was really educational and engaging, but still left a bit of history and storytelling out, which overall left me with an impression of having not learned an amazing amount. We did hit many of the sites around the bottom of the Acropolis, which gave us a good orientation of where to return to on our own.
After our tour, we stopped for a bite to eat and walk around more. We looked at the shops and simply wandered around the city aimlessly. That evening, we made the long haul hike up the mountain to get stunning views of the Acropolis at sunset from across the city. It was really great, and I enjoyed being able to see the Acropolis from this vantage point and enjoyed the walk up, even though it was quite a hike.
After a while and speaking with some guys who were about to join an oil rig for 5 months shipping around the world, (as you do), we went back down the hill and had dinner for super cheap, along with dessert (as always.)
That night we enjoyed the rooftop of our hostel and looked at the Acropolis from an amazing viewpoint and it was so sparkling white and pristine at night.
The next morning, we headed out to check out the acropolis and Parthenon. We walked with a couple from my room and when we got to the base, Robert and I thought we got dumped–they decided to ‘go and get a hat’. Well, they left and we went on without them only to not see them again until I returned that night to my room. Apparently it was too hot for them, but for Robert and I, I guess we are just accustomed to the heat of Texas.
Walking up to the Acropolis is really amazing. The fact that these roads were traversed by so many people before, so many amazing thinkers, and history shapers, it was incredible to think the same stone pathways were also walked upon these people. The columns were absolutely incredible, and pictures cannot do such a grandiose place justice. The overall size of these columns I couldn’t stop looking at, and trying to imagine, how in the world were they able to build this, why did they think to make it fatter in the middle, did they do tests before, how did they fail, did they fail? All these questions kept swirling around, and made for a thoughtful afternoon as we continued walking thoroughly through each of the places we’d seen on the tour the previous day.
Finally, we ended our tour of Athens, and started to head to a museum to check out, but before that, I found a cool auction house that had an amazing old ship compass from the Netherlands. I thought it was such a cool piece. The cost however, was not so cool, and they wanted $1000USD for it. So I quickly googled, researched, and found the same model, size and everything, that was sold at auction for $350, with a value estimated at the same worth. Fortunately, this helped bring me back to earth and realize it wasn’t the right time to buy such a thing, but I loved it, so I will try to find my own auction and get one instead :)
We then enjoyed a museum for a while and went back to the hostel to be ready for our trip to Hydra the next day.