Acropolis, Parthenon, Theater of Dionysos, Hadrian’s Arch, Temple of Zeus, Plaka
Weather: Extremely hot, scorching sun, had to stay hydrated. Evening became bearable.
First off, I am so flattered how many of you are appreciating this mini series! I’m just trying to do my best in giving pointers to traveling to different countries without panicking (that’s literally the best way I can describe it). Ladies, I cannot express how EXCITED I was to traveling to Greece…here’s a little background information about me. I was always very fond of World History growing up. I was an Art student in College, studied alot about the “Ancient” times, and LOVED my Art History classes. To me, this location was a dream come true…out of the books! The amount of excitement I had traveling to Athens (and Rome) were just out of this world. You know, when your growing up and learn about these places you dream of visiting one day (not knowing if you really ever will) but when you do, it’s a feeling of thankfulness of how God can make things work in mysterious ways Alhamdulilah (Thank God). My mysterious way was/is my husband ❤ thank you for making my dreams come true, not just here but always.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh… ATHENS! Oh my goodness, this place was AH-MAZING. Like I said earlier, I read and dreamt of coming here and I did, I knew all the history of every single place, literally. I definitely made an itinerary for 2 days in Athens, because one day would NOT have worked. Well, we arrived a little later than our actual arrival time because our flight was delayed 3 times in Bulgaria due to weather conditions. So it was probably around 10-11pm that we arrived to our AirBNB, settled-in, we were starving so went out and found a cute corner cafe “Repeat Canteen”, and must I say…HIGHLY recommended if you go. We had a fresh oven-baked pizza and some yummy pastries. We then headed back, had a good nights sleep and next morning it was adventure time! This is when our honeymoon became “action packed adventure”. Breakfast was again at, Repeat Canteen, I finally had a delicious espresso (I hate coffee) but this was something else…I had 2 of them. Yup. That was my go-to drink in Greece…”Freddo Espresso”. I have asked Starbucks here and they look at me like “huh” so if any of you know the name or what I can get similar here PLEASE share.
We were then off to our first location of the day: “Acropolis”. Majority of the historical locations were here.Also related to as the “High City”, a huge hill looking over the city this is also the home of the famous “Parthenon”. The Acropolis is the authentic symbol of Greek Civilization (going back to the Neolithic Period) with its most important main structures: The Parthenon, The Propylaea, The Erechtheum and The Temple of Athena. Standing at the top of this high hill, you can see almost all of Athens, and remaining sites of Greek mythology. I was overly excited to get this day started, so we walked up through the “Beule Gate” (we did have to purchase tickets to enter) and then there was more walking towards the top of the Acropolis. Today was the day that we officially became sun burnt…we forgot to apply sunscreen when leaving and now it was just too late. In the photos you can see how near the sun was, literally in our faces. We both dressed accordingly to what I read about the weather, HOT. But hey, it was ALL worth it.
We took our time getting to the top, because we were both so fascinated by the architecture and this is where we came across the “Theater of Dionysos” also known as the birth place of European theater (how cool). The Greeks would hold rituals for the God Dionysos but now unfortunately the theater has become very old, so it has limited performances, while we were there they were preparing for an orchestra. It was beautiful to see. As we began to make our way to the top of the Acropolis, it was peak time of “tourist traffic”. I think this was the most difficult place to take pictures, it took us plenty of tries to get a few good shots ( P.S. this is when my husband started getting annoyed of me LOL). Now since this is a very old location, there were some handles made to hold on to and ramps on top of cracks and holes for the safety of the tourists it was still a little dangerous but the security did a great job of monitoring everyone so two thumbs up there!
And finally we were at the top of the Acropolis and like a kid in a candy store I stood there, looked around and spotted my eye candy…the Parthenon. My smile, if it could stretch off of my face in that moment I’m sure it would have, yeah THAT’S how happy I was. It was so beautiful, so historic, so real. This was the worlds most ancient surviving structure of Ancient Greece, let that sink in. Built for the Goddess Athena, this structure has gone through many places of worship- a fortress, a mosque and a church. I had a final on this image, and I remembered every little detail I had written on my 5 page essay (known by heart) on this piece. And I was there, standing right in front of it, knowing every details of the columns, representation, and so much more. Ladies, I’m literally pouring my heart out here haha.
My husband was standing next to me, and saw all those expressions on my face and was like “wow, this meant THAT much to you?” Yeah husband, it did. I think the entire time we were up there, I kept turning around to him and saying “thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing me here” and just smiled back and said “I’ve learned so much from you, you have so much knowledge of all these places”. Now that was the cherry on top <3. I promise ladies, I am trying to make this post VERY to the point because if I sit here and go into details, trust me it’ll end up being a book. We then explored around, took our time reading, took many photos, bumped into so many different kinds of people from around the world. Acropolis was done and checked off the list, and we began to head towards “Hadrian’s Arch” and the “Temple of Zeus” they were literally right next to eachother.
Hadrian’s Arch was a quick stop because it was a huge Arch on the road way, which basically divided “Old Athens” and “New Athens”. With that checked off, we made our way to the temple. Now this was the largest temple in Ancient Greece, bigger than the Parthenon. The temple used to have statues inside, but due to time they became ruined. One huge pillar is on the floor, it was mentioned of an earthquake had ruined the temple. By this time, the crowd had become less and we just sat down and took a break watching the sun getting ready to set and have its rays on the temple. The weather had become a liiiiiittttllleeee bit cooler than what we were going through. After a good half and hour of relaxing, we made our way to find some food and that was towards “Plaka”.
Plaka, as I read would be one the most “enchanting places in Athens” and you know what? It lived up to that sentence. This was a village within a city. Narrow streets filled with beautiful homes turned into strips of cafes, restaurants, live entertainment and loads of shops for shopping. It was extremely busy, but I loved the vibe. Each restaurant/cafe had their menu listed outside, we read through them and noticed majority of the menus were the same so we just picked a romantic restaurant and sat outside. The vibes of this place was so beautiful, we had a live violinist, candle lit dinner, delicious foods (we tried the Greek speciality which were stuffed tomatoes) and drinks. I must say, everyone was SO welcoming and kind, positive vibes everywhere that I felt like a true honored guest ❤
After having a beautiful dinner experience, we just explored around Plaka. Of course I had to get myself some souvenirs, so we shopped around. As we were walking around, I saw so many people with this interesting looking ice cream and those who know me know I LOVE ice cream. We then came across a long line, and guess what it was? The cool looking ice cream! I forgot the flavor I got, but oh my goodness it was SO delicious. I obviously didn’t want to share so made my husband get me my own :-). The remaining of the night we just enjoyed in Plaka, the weather became lovely and Athens was extremely lit at night. And that ladies, concludes part 1 in Greece. Stay tuned for my next post because it’ll take your BREATH away! Trust me ❤