Friday, August 15, 2014

Athens, Greece: The Acropolis

Actual date of this event: 7 June

After our flight from Corfu, we landed in Athens around 15:30. We decided to take a taxi from the airport as it was cheaper for four of us rather than public transport. I am always hesitant on taxis because they can scam you, but Athens taxis are a flat rate of 35 euro from the airport to the city center. After dropping our bags at our hotel, located just a few blocks from Monastiraki Square, we immediately went to tour the Acropolis. Every piece of information I read on the googlenets said to do the Acropolis in the early morning or the evening - we decided on the latter.
Just like Rome, Athens has ruins right in the middle of the city. It is amazing how long some of the pieces have been sitting in their exact location. How natural disasters haven't destroyed it all. Obviously, the city does not look exactly as it used to, but information signs paint you a pretty good picture of what it used to be. Along the way to the Acropolis, we passed by several other ruin sites - Hadrian's Library and the Ancient Forum. We chose not to go into these at this time, as we were keeping our eye on the prize!

One of the most amazing aspects about Athens is how flat the city is, and then all of a sudden there is a massive hill just out of nowhere. It reminded Luke and I of Edinburgh and Salzburg. To get to the Acropolis, one must go up a hill. The streets that surround the hill are a maze with many restaurants and shops.
We chose to enter the Acropolis by walking along Dionysiou Street (on the south side of the hill), past the Dionysus Theater entrance, past the Acropolis Museum, past the Herodhion Theater, then up and around where we finally reached the ticket booth. We bought the all inclusive ticket, so we could access other sites as well. When we entered, we were still going uphill, and we saw the Herodhion Theater from above. 

Still going uphill, we climbed steps which brought us to the entrance to the city. I have failed to mention that we were thankful to have purchased some bottled water on our walk earlier because it was so hot up top! We saw one man who looked like he was on the verge of having a heat stroke. This was early June, so I can't even imagine what August is like!

After getting to the top and walking through the "entrance", we immediately saw giant pillars, ruined buildings, and marble stones lying everywhere. It is quite amazing how a whole city can be built on top of a hill like this.

I had heard that it is very windy at the top of the hill, but during our visit, there was nothing, which did not help with the heat.
The views of the rest of Athens were pretty spectacular. We could see just how flat the city is, and then bam, another hill in the distance just like the one we were standing on. I would have loved to visit the other hill, but we didn't have enough time (the other hill has a funicular, though).

{Hadrian's Arch and Temple of Olympian Zeus}
{Theatre of Dionysus}
The most popular of the buildings on the Acropolis is the Parthenon, the symbol of Athens. Although it is said to be built in 438 B.C., it is believed another temple stood in its spot previously.

We took a walk around on the hill looking at everything possible - the sculptures, the views, the unstable but somehow still standing pillars - and then we began eyeing rooftops where we could have dinner.

On our way up, we had seen a bride and groom on a big rock next to the Acropolis. I was stunned at this as I was so hot from the sun and lack of wind and imagining myself in a wedding dress - wow, brutal! On our way down, we decided to go check out the rock as it seemed to be a popular spot. Although the Parthenon was not visible from the rock, the rest of the view was really great, so I can see why the newlyweds chose it for wedding photos.

From there, we headed all the way down the hill to begin our first evening in Athens.

Other posts from Greece: IntroCorfuThe Acropolis in AthensPanathenaic Stadium in AthensGeneral AthensIsland of Milos (Day 1)Sarakino in MilosIsland of Milos (Day 2)Santorini SailingSantorini Wine TourTHE Santorini SunsetGeneral SantoriniWrap-Up

It is important to wear appropriate shoes when visiting the Acropolis ruins. Apparently, this girl did not know that. How she did not break her ankle(s), I will never know!

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