Saturday, 18 April 2015


We arrived in Athens very late Thursday night/Friday morning. Our flight was not long after the Germanwings crash in France in which the co-pilot allegedly deliberately crashed the plane. Flying Lufthansa (Germanwings' parent company) just a few days later, it was certainly on our minds. Then the pilot comes on with the welcome announcement and says, "Up front we are happy, feeling fine, and looking forward to getting you safely to Athens."

Odeon of Herodes Atticus
We spent our first full day in Greece in the Acropolis, of course! It was an easy walk from our apartment in Plaka (a neighborhood in the center of the city). Seeing something in person that you've seen in hundreds of pictures is always fun. It was a beautiful day; while there were plenty of people around, it wasn't as crowded as I imagine it is in the summertime. First we visited the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (an ancient theater.) 

Propylaea (entrance)

Then we walked all around the Acropolis complex and saw the entrance gate (the Propylaea), the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion with the porch of the Caryatids, and had a late picnic lunch on Mars Hill, where long ago the Apostle Paul preached to the Athenians.
Visiting the Parthenon

Gail at the Parthenon

Greek flag flying over the Acropolis
After lunch we went to the Acropolis Museum. We weren't expecting it to be open on a Monday, but we were pleasantly surprised. The museum is a beautiful building, though most of the exhibits require quite a bit of imagination. There are lots of archaeological fragments, though the Caryatids and the models of the Parthenon pediments were my favorite things.
Parthenon Pediment Model - Athena and Poseidon competing for the patronship of Athens

There's no doubt that the Elgin Marbles (currently residing at the British Museum) would be a wonderful addition.

At the Acropolis museum:
me:  "We have an hour and a half - what would you most like to see?"
Gail: "The exit."

That evening Wayne and I went out to dinner and I had baked Feta cheese, which was lovely and unlike any feta I've had anywhere else.

On Tuesday we visited the Temple of the Olympian Zeus and Arch of Hadrian, then saw the Theater of Dionysus, which is at the base of the Acropolis. We then caught the subway up to the National Archaeological Museum, which was a wonderful museum full of the art of ancient Greece. It's also a very pleasant building, with a cafĂ© in a courtyard. 
National Archaeological Museum
Temple of Zeus
For dinner we had Greek pies from Ariston. My favorite was definitely the red pepper pie - kind of like spanikopita but with red peppers and onions. After dinner we took a walk to see the Acropolis at night, which was beautiful.

Parthenon at night

And, of course, in our continuing efforts to eat local . . . .
Our new favorite snack food: Oregano Lays!
On our trip back to Athens on our way to Santorini we visited the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio.

And on the very last day, between our flight in from Santorini and our flight out to Frankfurt, I made a solo trip into town to see a few more things . . .
Hephaistos Temple at the Agora

 Church of Agia Filotheis (notice the recycled materials!)

Monastiraki Square

Changing of the Guard (Syntagma Square)

Macedonian reception room in the Benaki Museum

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