A is for Athens

A is for Alpha, Attica, Athens, Acropolis, Agora, Archeology, and my aching feet.

There are layers and layers of many millennia of history, legend, myth, culture, art, religion and war to explore in Greece.

Let’s begin on the Acropolis in Athens.

Right in the center of Athens is the Acropolis with the most famous and easily recognized 5th century BC architectural gem, the Parthenon, a Temple to Athena. Yes, that is snow on the ground!

Winter entrance fees are reduced. There are less crowds as well.

The Temple to Athena was visible to those arriving by sea at the Piraeus Harbor.
The Roman Forum

The well preserved Western Gate of the Roman Forum was built by Roman Emperor Augustus (31BC – 14AC) and connected by paved road a new commercial district with the Ancient Greek Agora.

The Acropolis overlooks the Tower of the Winds in the Roman Forum.

.

The Greek Agora

The Ancient Agora was the administrative and trade center – or marketplace – of the city in the 6th century BC. Anyone remember what is agoraphobia?

The Stoa of ancient Athens was destroyed in 267 and the ruins became part of a fortification wall easily seen in modern times. In 1952, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens funded by the Rockefeller family, faithfully reconstructed the ancient stoa on its original foundations. It houses the Ancient Agora Museum.

A stoa is a covered portico and shops – we’d call it a shopping mall. The stoic philosophers are called “stoics” because they met at the stoa (see Acts 17:18).

The Temple of Hephaestus is a well-preserved Greek temple; it remains standing largely as built in 430-435 BC.

From the 7th century AD until 1834, it served as a Greek Orthodox Church.

Doric columns of the Temple of Hephaestus,the god of thunder and blacksmithing.

The Greek call their country Hellas and its official name is the Hellenic Republic. In English, the country is called Greece, which comes from Latin Graecia and literally means ‘the land of the Greeks’.

The Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Parliament happens at the top of every hour – day and night.

Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilization – the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, Western literature, historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, Western drama and the Olympic Games.

Everyone ought to visit Athens!

Athens Free Walking Tours was a perfect introduction for us.

View from our hotel on our first morning in Athens. Snow is not as unusual as it seems. On average it snows in Athens about 4.5 days a year.

The Athens Itinerary

Arrived at Athens airport. Took the metro (€10 per person) to Syntagma Square and then walked to the Hotel Adonis in the Plaka.

Day 1: Free Athens Walking Tour, Roman Agora, Changing of the Guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Day 2: Acropolis, Parthenon, Mars Hill, Greek Agora

Day 3: National Archeological Museum

Day 4: Laundry, bus to Kalamata

Days 5-14: Peloponnese and return to Athens

Day 15: Panathenic Stadium, National Garden, Temple of Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, Cape Sounio

Day 16: Blog and Laundry

Day 17: Wander

Day 18: Metro to airport, fly to Thessaloniki.

Days 19 – 22: Thessaloniki

It took 62 years to restore to its original glory in order to host the first MODERN Olympic Games in 1896. The original Olympic stadium in Athens is so old that it was renovated in 329BC. After the games were banned, the stadium was stripped of its marble and buried under tons of debris.

Day trip to Cape Sounion

Cape Sounion (also written Sounio) is situated at the southernmost point of the Attica peninsula and is noted for its Temple of Poseidon (god of the seas) one of the major monuments of the Golden Age of Athens. The remains are perched on the headland, surrounded on three sides by the Aegean Sea.

According to legend, it was from Sounion that Aegeus, King of Athens, leapt to his death upon seeing a black sail on his son Theseus’s ship and thinking him dead. Theseus had slain the Minotaur at Crete, but tragically forgot to hoist a white sail to send the message of his victory.

The temple of Poseidon at Sounion was constructed in 444–440 BC.

Our hotel clerk told us where to catch the bus to Sounio. After traveling about an hour an attendant got on and sold us a round trip ticket. The trip is just under 2 hours each way. At Sounio the bus drops off and picks up in the same place. The final 2 daily returns to Athens depart at 17:00 and 19:00. There is a cafe, bar, gift shop and restroom facilities.

We boarded in Athens at 14:15PM, arrived in Sounio at 16:05, and had enough time – just under an hour, before catching the 17:00 bus back. Many like to watch the sunset at Cape Sounion.

The cost was €12.50 round trip per person.

Greek Miscellany

Tap water is good and safe for drinking.

Toilet paper is not to be flushed.

No fees to use public toilet facilities.

Cigarette smoking is common inside cafes and coffee shops.

Hotel beds have not been comfortable.

There are some homeless living on the streets.

We have always felt safe.

We see lots of cats in Greece!

Athens is huge! Here’s a view from the Acropolis of the Plaka where the Hotel Adonis is located on the street behind that little church.

For our second stay of 4 nights in Athens we booked via Booking.com a private 1-bedroom apartment with kitchen, living room and balcony in the residential neighborhood of Koukaki. We especially enjoy having a sitting place other than the bed and the space to spread out. The price per night is less than we paid at the Hotel Adonis.

I use Booking.com for most of our accommodation reservations. If you book using this referral link you’ll get a US$20 reward when you get back from your trip – and I too!

https://www.booking.com/s/43_8/645a2c02

We’re getting accustomed to walking again. It’s a good thing too – or we’d have to lay off of eating so much bread and phyllo pies.

How about I Meet You in the Morning from The Peloponnese!

One response to “A is for Athens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.