Saturday, July 10, 2010

Going Greek!

Day 2: Anything for the View

Yassou (Hello)!

Seeing as our travels thus far have left much sleep to be desired, we took the liberty of getting some extra shut-eye. Around 9am we start to stir and slowly collect ourselves (and our belongings) to check out. There’s a lot to see and do today and little time. The whole of Athens awaits our eager exploration.

Round about noon, we make our way out of the hostel and get our expedition started. Acropolis is our first destination, however, we wind up stopping at multiple accessory shops along the meandering marble streets. What can we say? Girls will be girls and fashion has its place in our hearts. After a few good purchases and a Starbucks stop we finally make it to Acropolis and start the climb to this wonder on a hill. Looming high above our heads, prominent Ionic and Doric designs invite us to come and admire. And we oblige. One by one the magnificent structures resign us to awe: the Archaic fountain, Pelargic wall, Sanctuary of Nymph, Temple of Dionysos Eleuthereus, Temple of Nike, Temple and of course the famed Parthenon – home of Athena (of which Athens gets it’s name).  Each providing ample photo opps for the four of us to strike a pose. BTW, the views from atop the Acropolis are unbelievable. Perched high above the sprawling city of Athens you can see as far as the mountains and to the sea.

After a long couple of hours we embark on a wild goose chase to find the Acropolis Museum - where many of the artifacts and sculptures are stored. A few wrong turns didn’t deter us. Now, museums (well history in general) aren’t my forte, so my expectations were pretty low (fortunately so was the price - 5 Euros), but this museum totally took me by surprise. The museum is built over the top of ancient ruins that are being excavated so as you walk on the glass floors you can see the ruins below you – pretty awesome! Also, we were able to see tons of artifacts – coins, pottery, knickknacks and sculptures that were soooo old! I’d highly recommend it!

At this point we are famished and desperate for Greek gyros. Unfortunately, we are in the one neighborhood in all of Greece that is absent of any sign of the quick, cheap, hand-held type, so we opt for a sit down restaurant for a gyro meal that turned out to be delish!

Once we’re fueled we head off to see the mighty Zeus temple. Except it wasn’t so mighty. We collectively agreed that Zeus was the least impressive of the ruins and spent all of 5 minutes politely paying our homage.

Now’s the part where our day gets interesting. After several failed attempts we catch a taxi to take us to the “Church on the Hill”. From the first day, this impressive hill has captured my attention and I won’t leave till I conquer it. Fortunately, the girls were up for an adventure. First off, the cab driver has NO idea what we are talking about when we tell him where we want to go (mind you, it’s a GINORMOUS hill in the middle of Athens with a prominent church on top). Frustrating. We end up driving around and stopping to ask not one, or two, but more like 8 people how to get there. I’m pretty fed up with him at this point because he is driving in circles like a maniac running up our fare. Finally, upon passing another taxi driver a second time I take the initiative to yell to him and see if he can help. He tells us that our destination can be reached by a set of stairs only feet away from where we are and we decide to get out of the taxi. I open my door and am trying to figure out the cost as our driver rudely tries to drive off! I tell him to stop and that we are getting out and he tells me no and tries to pull off again while my door is open. I am livid at this point and tell him to stop and that we are getting out.  I tell the girls to get out and we do so at once. He’s lucky we paid him at all! That was undoubtedly the worst cab experience I’ve ever had and I was glad for the hike we had ahead of ourselves to let off some steam! It was a pretty long jaunt, but so worth it! Not only did we get an incredible 360 view of Athens, but also got ourselves into a little pickle…and by us I mean Ashley and Lindsay! They decided it was a good idea to
sneak into one of the back rooms at the church and put on the robes they found and take funny pictures. It was all fun and games until a loud crashing metal object alerted the church attendant who frantically runs over shouting who knows what in Greek at them. The girls shimmied out of their robes at lightning speed - I’ve never seen them or an old man move so fast! And we all bolted for the door and down the steps with the fear of God, and man, close on our heels.

It was probably best that this was our last stop of the day. By the time we plowed down the hill we were the epitome of weary travelers. Nothing a little gelato couldn’t take care of. J  An hour or so later we are in yet another crazy cab headed to Piraeus, the port of Athens for our 9:30pm ferry departure for Mykonos. We are excited to spend 2 nights on this crazy beautiful island! 

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