I didn’t know what to expect from Athens. I had heard both good and not so good things about it. In the end, I really liked it.
Getting to Athens from Rome wasn’t as easy as we had expected. We had a morning flight so we had to be at the airport relatively early however public transport to the airport stops running at midnight. This meant we had to leave at 11pm the night before leaving us with a solid 8 hours at the airport.
The flight was good enough and once we landed we found the train we needed and wearily made our way to our accommodation. We had been looking forward to this place as it was a B&B so we got a whole house to ourselves. That’s right, no bunk beds, no need for thongs (flip flops, jandals, slippers, pluggers etc.) in the shower and we had our own rooms.
Since it was a house, that meant we had a kitchen. Forcing ourselves to stay awake, we decided to find a grocery store. This grocery store we searched for turned into a humid 40 minute walk. We had initially tried closer grocery shops, all of which were run down or closed. On our way back however, we decided to enter our street on the opposite end to where we had left. What did we find? A grocery store. Practically on our street. Exactly what you want to see after being awake for more than 24 hours and battling the humidity for some pasta.
The next day wasn’t so tragic. We had a sleep in then headed into Plaka, wandered through the Athens Flea Market and saw Hadrians Arch.
The day after we went to the Acropolis where we bought a package ticket that allowed us to see seven attractions for 30 euro, or 15 euro for students. Well worth it when they average 8 euros each so I highly recommend it. The Acropolis was really interesting to compare to the ruins we saw in Rome.
As well as the Acropolis, we saw the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysus, both really impressive. It was especially nice to sit in the remains of the theatre and imagine what would have gone on in it.
After spending a chunk of the afternoon exploring the Acropolis, we went home via the shopping area where I tried to find a shirt to replace one I had set on fire the night before. Whilst wearing it. Let’s just say a match broke as it was igniting and went backwards rather than forwards. All was fine thank goodness, just a few singed hairs and a decision to eat indoors where lights are available, rather than tea lights.
We spent the fourth day ticking the boxes on our package ticket. We visited Hadrian’s Library, the Roman Agora, the Ancient Agora and Zeus’ Temple. Whilst it was good to have a walk around all of these areas, I found Zeus’ Temple a nice break from piles of rocks. It seems there are many plans to rebuild meaning a lot of piles and maintenance sites here and there. What we were able to see was good but after a while it all just seems like rubble. But that’s just my opinion, those who are more into their history may love it to bits.
On the fifth day we went to the Panathenaic Stadium which I thought was great! Upon arrival you get a free audio guide and you can wander around the stadium at your own pace, including inside where the changerooms are and an exhibition that contains almost all of the Olympic torches and posters over the years.
After that we briefly wandered through the National Garden and stopped at a coffee shop on the way home. This coffee shop had caught our eye for a few days. It has witches hats hanging up outside with the person greeting you at the door dressed up as a witch. When you enter you find the inside is covered with spiderweb and has a witch on a broomstick in the middle and a fake tree growing from the inside of the building, out the window. Unfortunately we didn’t buy any cake there but oh my did they look delicious!
We spent our final day wandering around the National Garden which it turns out, has animals in it! It was funny watching the rabbits run around with the goats. We watched a rabbit try to dig its way out of the enclosure under the fence, but one of the goats was having none of it.
Athens really grew on us. Our first day wasn’t the best and I’ll admit the area we were in made us a bit uneasy in our delirious state but as time went on, we discovered that’s just how the streets are. The people are lovely, the history is interesting and there’s so much to do and see.