Theatre of Herodes Atticus as seen from the Acropolis.
Day two started with a free breakfast in the executive lounge of the hotel. One of the perks of staying in an executive room :)~ Our driver, Loucis, was picking us up in front of the hotel for our ½ day tour of the city at 10:00am, so we had plenty of time.
It was another hot day in Athens, so lots of cold bottled water would be needed. The only good thing about the heat, it seemed to keep some of the crowds away from the more popular sites. As you can see in the pictures, there are not very many people around.
Our first stop was the Acropolis.
There was a lot of work being done to restore this site, so there was a lot of scaffolding around. It was not very picturesque, but still very inspiring to be at a place that has so much history. Maybe being an American, I’m a bit more amazed at places like this. I should be, to us anything older than 300 years is ancient, but here I am at a place that is thousands of years old…amazing! I am fairly new to traveling outside of my own country, so seeing sites this old with so much history is still aw inspiring to me. I hope that feeling never goes away, no matter how many places we travel to. After walking around the Acropolis and visiting the museum they had there, which was air conditioned, and very crowded, we made our way back down to meet up with Loucis.
Me at the Acropolis
The next stop was the ancient Agora and the Temple of Hephaestus. This was a large market place, the political and administrative center of ancient Athens as well as the place where social, commercial and religious activities took place.
We took our time looking around this site, and even sat on an ancient bench we found in the shade for a break from the heat. After an hour or so of walking around and looking at all the different things here, we met back up with Loucis for our next stop, The Temple of Zeus.
The Temple of Zeus is not much to look at, just some very large columns, some still standing and some not. But, looking at the size of the site and the drawings on the sign posted nearby, you get an idea of how large this temple actually was.
Our next stop on our tour was to watch the changing of the guard at the presidential palace. I’ve seen the changing of the guard here in the US at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Arlington National Cemetery, and it is similar.
But, every country has its ceremonial differences, so it was fun to watch. After the changing takes place, you can get right next to the guards and have a picture taken, just do not touch them! Show some respect for these guys, this is serious business to them!
Lena and me in front of the Parthenon.
After the guard change, we headed to the Roman Stadium, the site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1895. The stadium was empty, except for a stage in the center that was being assembled for a future concert or event of some kind. The place looked as if it was built a few years ago, but it was first built in the 4th century BC. You would never know just by looking at it.
This was the end of our tour of Athens with Loucis. It was lunch time and we were ready to get back to the hotel to eat and hang out by the pool.
Again, it was around 105F and we were hot & exhausted. Lunch by the pool was very nice and the staff was very attentive.
That's me in the giant doorway.
That evening, as the sun started to go down, along with the temperature, we walked to the Plaka, just a few blocks from our hotel. This is the oldest section of Athens and full of shops, restaurants, cafes and stores of all kinds. Though some of the larger stores closed at night, most of the smaller shops are open late. Of course, this is where we ate dinner for our last night in Athens. Just look at the menus as you walk by, and pick one. Some of the restaurants will have people standing outside trying to pull you in. We chose one that didn’t need to do this to get customers. If you need to talk people into coming in your restaurant, then maybe that is not the place to eat! For more infomation on the Plaka, visit http://www.athensguide.com/plaka.html
The next morning, Loucis picked us up in front of the hotel right on time and drove us to the airport. We had a great time in Athens and were very happy we had someone to show us a round. We would have never been able to see all that we did in the time we had if it wasn’t for have a tour guide. Thanks Mom & Wes for that great gift to start out our honeymoon!