Athens Sightseeing Day 1

The first day of being in a new city is always the most exciting for me.  It’s just so thrilling to know that you’re going to see so many new places and experience so many new things.  Today started with needing to see the front desk of the hotel.  Kyle’s cot kept collapsing with him on it.  We thought we’d fixed the issue ourselves by securing the supports underneath the bed, but we heard yet another crash (the 3rd) at around 2am.  Sure enough, Kyle was on the floor again!

Kyle’s bed kept collapsing

I’d hate to see what the situation would be like with someone heavier than Kyle.  We also had to change rooms because when Fred tried to plug in a converter, it started sparking and the electricity went out completely.  We were told later that we would be charged 50 euros for the service call to the electrician.  Needless to say, Fred and I were both annoyed with the situation and complained – especially since we did nothing wrong and he could have been injured.  In the end, after quite a bit of negotiation, we ended up with two adjacent rooms.  The kids are now sleeping on actual beds and feeling a lot safer.

With all of the hotel issues resolved, we had breakfast locally and headed out to the local subway around 11:30.  It’s a straight shot from the Piraeus metro station to the Monastiraki station, which is where you get off for the Acropolis.  Since I forgot the guide books at home for both Athens and Rome & we didn’t yet have a map, we ended up overshooting one station (Omonia), and walking back.  Here are the kids on the metro, looking very energetic and ready for the day 🙂

The kids are ready for a day of sightseeing

When we got to the Acropolis, we were greeted with an hour-long wait in the hot sun.  While we waited to get tickets, we passed the time talking with the people around us and there is a fair amount of shade, so it’s not a big deal.  Most of the folks waiting were from the cruise ships.  My bet is that if you go later in the day, you’ll probably be able to miss some of the longer lines.  Also you could go to one of the smaller archaeological sites, such as Hadrian’s Library, and purchase a pass there that covers all of the sites.  Then you can easily skip the lines because the smaller sites have no significant lines.  Also bring lots of water if it’s a hot day, because it is not easily found once you reach the Acropolis.  They do sell drinks, but they are quite expensive.  We paid 5 euros for one small frozen lemonade.  Here’s a video that Kyle took for me of the ticket line.

One of the first things you see upon entering is a marvelous ancient theatre known as the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.  It’s stunning to see such an ancient structure with the backdrop of the modern city behind it.

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus

I didn’t take any photos of the Beulé gate from the stairs due to all of the people congregated there, but here’s a shot as we were walking through.  It must have been quite something to see in ancient times.  I cannot imagine the power, beauty, and overall magnificence this gate must have inspired when people walked through it in those days.

Walking through what remains of the city gates of the Acropolis

And here’s a look back at the Beulé gate once you’ve passed through it.

Looking back at the Beulé gate once you’ve walked through

Once of the most amazing sites for me during the day was seeing the Parthenon for the first time.  They are currently doing restoration, but even with all of the scaffolding, it is still quite impressive.  Here’s a photo of Fred standing in front of it.

Fred standing in front of the Parthenon

Across from the Parthenon is the Erechtheion.  I don’t really know a lot about this structure, but there are some detailed sculptures of figures that you can see in the background of a photo I snapped of the kids.  Zoom in if you want to take a closer look at the porch.  They are really something.

Kayla and Kyle standing in front of the Erechtheion

Even if the ancient architecture wasn’t a draw for this place, the city views alone would entice me to come.  There is an almost 360 degree panoramic view of the city below.  It’s truly breathtaking.  Here’s just one of the images I took.

Just one of the fabulous views of the city from the Acropolis

After leaving the Acropolis, we headed straight for a much-needed lunch.  The kids were starving, so we stopped at a place called Just Pita that was just across from the Metro.  The kids ordered a huge plate of food to share.  It was a lovely presentation and they say it tasted as good as it looks.

The kids shared a mound of food after the day spent at the Acropolis
A closeup of the shared platter at Just Pita

After re-fueling, we headed to Hadrian’s Library.  Here are a few shots from our time there.

The family at Hadrian’s Library
Overview of part of the site at Hadrian’s Library
Fred presenting the detail of a column at Hadrian’s Library
The kids at Hadrian’s Library

We got scolded for this one.  Apparently Fred got too close to the sculpture, but in the end it was one of my favorite photos of the day!

Fred and a sculpture at Hadrian’s Library

That’s it for now!  We are heading out again for day two of sightseeing, so keep checking back.