Tuesday, June 20, 2017

2017 - Greece - Day 11 [Athens]

Today, we wander around Athens with the 5 day Museum Pass which covers the following places (Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Hadrian's Library, Roman Agora, Kerameikos (Cemetery), Olympieion (Template of Zeus), and Lykeion (Gymnasium)). The museum pass cost 30 euros and is valid for 5 continuous days starting from when you buy it. It is recommended that you get it from anywhere other than Acropolis since it is very busy there. Note, since the Acropolis is already 20 euros on its own, if you visit 2 other sites, the extra 10 euros will be earned back fairly quickly.

Athen's multi-site 5 day pass
Our first breakfast at Hermes Hotel and it was also a breakfast buffet. The food was okay, not as extravagant as the last few places, but it'll do.

Hermes Hotel Breakfast
Hermes Hotel Breakfast
Hermes Hotel Breakfast
Hermes Hotel Breakfast
First stop, Temple of Zeus! This one was a bit disappointing in my mind since you can see it fairly well from the road and when you go inside, you don't actually see much else besides you being able to get closer to it. It only took us about 15-20 minutes to go through it all. Basically, just loop around the columns, look at the gate and go. It cost 6 euros at the time if bought separately from the multi-site pass.

Temple of Zeus
Next stop, Panathenaic Stadium. We saw that it was close by and decided to go pay it a visit. This was a tough one for me. Allison can attest to how hard I thought about going inside. It only cost us 5 euros, but I kept thinking that you would only walk on the bottom path and not be able to wander anywhere. After Allison convinced me to ask the ticket booth operator, we paid and went in!

Panathenaic Stadium torch/poster collection
Panathenaic Stadium 
Included at 5 euros is an audio guide per person and it talks about the history of the site. There is a little museum exhibit inside where you get to see the old Olympic torches, as well as the old Olympic posters. It seemed to be mostly for the summer Olympics, but there were quite a few of them inside dating back all the way to 1904! It is the only marble stadium in the world to boot.

Panathenaic Stadium 
Panathenaic Stadium 
After that, it was free reign to explore the site. You can go all the way up to the top and take pictures wherever you like. You can run around the lap and even take pictures on the fake podium that they have in place. We saw a couple that only took pictures near the podium for the entire time we were there. So, your enjoyable is based on how much fun you have with taking photos. We spent about an hour here.

Natural Gardens
Our expensive snack (I think it cost us 5 euros)
We ended up walking around the Natural Gardens. It is a very nice place, reminds me of a smaller Central Park. There is even a small zoo inside. We had a snack at the shop inside, which was a bit expensive, but does provide a nice backdrop. Overall, I wouldn't suggest the snack shop, but that's just me. The Natural Gardens itself though is nice and worth a stroll if you are in the area.

Walked to Aristotle Lycrium, didn't really enjoy it and spent maybe 15-20 minutes here but since it was included in the multi-site pass, it was okay. I wouldn't suggest it, but I also didn't spend a lot of time reading the information boards that are placed everywhere here, so I didn't appreciate what I was looking at.

Changing of the Guard
Changing of the Guard was next which happens hourly in front of the parliament building. It was pretty different from what we have seen before. They have some funky outfits, which were apparently summer outfits, so I'm unclear as to how they survive when it gets hotter. Anyways, the bottoms of their shoes have some metal attaches and it reminds me of tap shoes.

It was an interesting experience, odds are, if you are in the area, you'll be able to catch this and it is worth a peak at least to see their outfit and their movements.

Everest snack
Snack #2 was at Everest nearby. Their computer registers weren't working when we arrived and it was chaos there. It cost us 5,55 euros for a sandwich, a slice of pizza and an orange juice which we believe was in error since they were trying very hard to get their old school register to work. In Greece, it seems to be mandatory that you get a receipt for what you buy, I believe it has to do with Greece trying to minimize tax fraud. So, without a receipt, we wouldn't have been able to buy anything there.

Fruit vendors
Flea Market
Nearby was the local flea market (Monastiraki Flea Market), which we sort of walked into by accident. Pedestrian roads with lots of souvenir shops, not really uncommon from the trips that I've been on, but it is always neat to see.

Aspro Alogo, mixed souvlaki on left, anchovies on right
Lemoncello and cake
Dinner was at the shop nearby the hotel (Aspro Alogo) where we ordered anchovies and mixed souvlaki which came out to 16 euros. The owner also offered us free lemoncello, a slice of cake each, and free bottles of water each as well. Very nice fellow. Food was good, I would suggest it.

Acropolis from Plaka Hotel
Our hotel owns a nearby hotel called Plaka which has nice views of the Acropolis which we went to see. It is indeed very nice up there and worth checking out. If you happen to stay at either hotel.

Afterwards, we called it a night since we needed to pack up for our 2 day Meteora trip starting tomorrow.