Day 4: Pireas/Athens, hold onto your bags.

Athens Travel Blog

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A clean shot of a church in Piraes, thanks to Roger (X Drive)
For todays task we had to find the Metro station in Pireas, which is Athens harbor. We were told by the German tourist advisor on board that it was easy to get to THE Acropolis if you take the Metro train. He explained how many stops and where to switch trains. I funniest thing was that he advise against booking the excursion from the cruise line. Hmmm. I don't know. I guess he's not afraid of getting fired. haha

The advice was good. We made it to the Pireas metro station, a 30 minute walk from the harbor. Beautifully renovated for the Olympics in 2004. This is where the green line starts. After buying our tickets, 1 Euro/person, we got on the train and got out at the 8th stop at Omnia. Then we had to find the red line. We got to the right platform, which was packed. A bunch of shady people lingering around, not that you would notice right away.
Theater of Dionysos on the Acropolis grounds
When the train arrived and everyone started pushing into the train, my thoughts were There's no way everyone's going to fit. Irene got in, Dad was inside and got pushed back toward the exit. I was right behind him, so I pushed against him, telling him to stay inside. The doors started buzzing, telling me In or Out! So I stepped back after I was sure that Dad was on that train, shouting over the noisy "See you in 3 stops Acropolis, make sure you get out and wait for me there! " My dad's not an idiot, but I wanted him to know that, neither am I. haha

So I arrived at the Acropolis metro station 12 or 13 minutes after I was separated from my dad and step mommy. They were already waiting. My dad filming my arrival, go figure. We worked our way to the top and outside. A beautiful, quiet street greeted us. Is this the right place? Turned around,  OH!, yup it is!   There she is, THE Acropolis.
Close up of the seats in the front row
There are many in Greece but this one seems to have mastered THE status of being the THE Acropolis, meaning city on the rock/hill, or something like that.

We found the entrance and were immediately shocked by the steep prizes. There were two. One for 12 Euros and the other being... can't remember exactly but it was far less. We asked what the difference was, but the lady either didn't understand or she didn't want to. She was kind of rude actually. The first rude person I've come across on this whole trip. So we paid the 12 Euro/person and got our tickets. Dad was already upset. He didn't want to come here. But I convinced him that when in Athens, you have to see the Acropolis, errr THE Acropolis. (I'm not going to admit that step mom and I didn't leave him a choice, cause we were going to leave without him. Am I siding with her? I must be crazy.
Looking back at the theater of Dionysos
)


So we started hiking upward. We reached the Theater of Dionysus first. Or the first thing you could actually make out. The engravings on the marble are visible to this day, but there isn't much left. Dad was already sounding his disappointment. At this point Irene was digging in her little backpack, looking for something. Oh dear. We had been warned about pick pockets and left everything, wallets, credit cards, etc. on board. So what could they have taken, or what is she looking for. A minute later, it was clear that her digital camera was gone. She said she had felt a tugging behind her, but they had been crammed into the metro in a way that she couldn't even turn around. Dad hadn't seen anything either, although he is 6 ft tall. So WARNING. When on the train in Athens hold on to your belongs tightly! So there go all the pictures with me on it.
Odeion of Herodes Atticus
Fortunately, I took enough pictures everywhere to be enough for a group of 20 people. (e.g. 200 just in Santorini).

Next stop was the Odeon of Herodes. Now this was nice! Completely rebuilt. A theater with marble everything and a view over Athens to die for. But we're not all the way on the top yet. Right after we passed the Odeon, we were asked for our tickets again. They ripped off a piece and let us continue. So *insert light bulb here* if you don't get the expensive ticket, you're not getting to THE Acropolis. After further examining the ticket I found the English. *shame* Ticket is good for Ancient Agora, Theater of Dionysos, Roman Agora, Kerameikos, Temple of Zeus and the Hadrian Library. AH! Well, back when I read this, not any of these things sounded familiar to me, or at least I didn't know what they looked like exactly.
Odeion of Herodes Atticus again from further up, Hill of the Muses in the back


Finally at the almost top, we had reached the entry way to the Acropolis, the Propylaea. Next to it the Temple of Nike . There was a line to climb the stairs, which were sometime a good 13 inches high. Climbing higher and higher, following the masses, snapping more pictures than anyone would ever care to see, there it is, I can see it!! The Parthenon . Its construction began in 447BC and was completed in 432BC. Built for the protector of the city, Athena, greek goddess. In 1687, the Parthenon was partially destroyed when the Venicians attacked Athens, and the Ottoman Turks, ruling over Athens at the time,  fortified the Acropolis and used the building as a gunpowder magazine.
Parthenon of Athens
Over the years many more countries sieged Athens. Carrying off marble from the Acropolis to England and France, where it is now displayed in the British Museum and the Louvre. Reconstruction started in the 1970. I can't say they've come far. I was surprised how much some of the pictures you see are doctored to make it seem like, there is still a lot remaining of the original structure.  Also the scaffolding isn't visible either, but it's there. Trust me. Well, of course I understand that they need it in order to reconstruct. I'm just saying. ;)

Did I mention that we have beautiful weather today. I'm burning up. So much better than snow. So we also saw the Erechtheum and the leftovers of the Temple of Athena which was destroyed a long time ago by the Persians. We took in the incredible view over Athens, which is a  HUGE city.
The temple of Zeus, the columns in the center
Off in the distance we saw, what I later found out, the Temple of Zeus.

It was almost 1:00 pm now and we had to back at the ship by 4:00pm. We decided to move on.  We had seen another temple which looked like it was in one piece (not destroyed) at the foot of the Acropolis. We climbed back down through the Propylaea and made our toward the Agora of Athens.  One more piece of the ticket gone. I guess it paid off after all. We climbed down a path and reached Agora at the Church of the Holy Apostels. A very colorful church, compared to all the white/grey marble laying around. Oh, here's where we got a sense of, don't step on the marble.
Parthenon again
While I was taking a picture of Irene standing in front of the church, a whistle started blowing in the distance. We didn't think anything by it and continued, figuring they can't mean us. Well, they did. But by the time the girl with the whistle had reached us we already had untouched/stepped off any rock/boulder/ancient piece of rock. Ooops.

We had our goal. The temple that was looking good compared to all the other rocks. When we finally reached it we learned that it was the Temple of Hephaestus. Never heard of him? Neither had I. But his temple, turns out, is the best preserved ancient Greek temple. Congratulations Hephaestus! But seriously now. There was a lot of detail left on this temple. A little darkened from the element but otherwise incredible. From here we were overlooking the whole site of Ancient Agora and from the slight elevation you can guess at what it must have looked like when people had lived here, with the Acropolis towering over it.
Overlooking the eastern tip of the Acropolis sight


We saw a couple more things along the way back to the metro that lies right by the sight. If you wanna come here first, you'll need to get off the train in Monastiraki. There's a market with lots of vendors right by the station. You'll walk past the Hadrian library and the completely reconstructed  Stoa of Attalus.

Well, we had a ship to catch so we got back on the green line toward Pireas. From there we had to still walk back to the ship, our feet killing us at this point. I had a hidden agenda though. I had spotted a Starbucks on the way. hihihi.. I'm getting Starbucks, I'm getting Starbucks.

Ehmm.. Hope you enjoyed your visit to Athens.


missandrea81 says:
Oh thank you. I'm glad you can get something out of my ramblings. :) I hope you have a wonderful time! It's such a beautiful place. It will be hot when you're going so take plenty of water with you and maybe wear a hat.
Posted on: May 26, 2011
MelissaBeth says:
Loved reading your blog! I am going on a similiar Greek Isles cruise in June so this is very helpful. I will certainly watch my belongings! It's a shame she lost her camera!
Posted on: May 04, 2011
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A clean shot of a church in Piraes…
A clean shot of a church in Pirae…
Theater of Dionysos on the Acropol…
Theater of Dionysos on the Acropo…
Close up of the seats in the front…
Close up of the seats in the fron…
Looking back at the theater of Dio…
Looking back at the theater of Di…
Odeion of Herodes Atticus
Odeion of Herodes Atticus
Odeion of Herodes Atticus again fr…
Odeion of Herodes Atticus again f…
Parthenon of Athens
Parthenon of Athens
The temple of Zeus, the columns in…
The temple of Zeus, the columns i…
Parthenon again
Parthenon again
Overlooking the eastern tip of the…
Overlooking the eastern tip of th…
Mount Lycabettus
Mount Lycabettus
Looking down toward the Temple of …
Looking down toward the Temple of…
Dad and I at the Acropolis
Dad and I at the Acropolis
The Erechtheum
The Erechtheum
Erechtheum from a different angle
Erechtheum from a different angle
Erechtheum again
Erechtheum again
Looking out at Athens from the Pro…
Looking out at Athens from the Pr…
Hope my dad didnt see this mess, …
Hope my dad didn't see this mess,…
Looking out over the Ancient Agora…
Looking out over the Ancient Agor…
Propylaea, passage to the Parthenon
Propylaea, passage to the Parthenon
Dont mess with the rocks!
Don't mess with the rocks!
Church of the Holy Apostel, A.D. 1…
Church of the Holy Apostel, A.D. …
Ceiling inside the church
Ceiling inside the church
Part of a column
Part of a column
Middle Stoa from 180 - 140 B.C.
Middle Stoa from 180 - 140 B.C.
Emperor Hadrian 117 - 138 A.D.
Emperor Hadrian 117 - 138 A.D.
Temple of Hephaestus
Temple of Hephaestus
Looking back at the Acropolis
Looking back at the Acropolis
Stoa of Attalos in the back was re…
Stoa of Attalos in the back was r…
Temple of Hephaestus from up close
Temple of Hephaestus from up close
Remaining detail
Remaining detail
More detail along the side of the …
More detail along the side of the…
One statue, part of the Palace of …
One statue, part of the Palace of…
Another statue, part of the Palace…
Another statue, part of the Palac…
Stoa of Attalos again
Stoa of Attalos again
Stoa of Attalos
Stoa of Attalos
Near the metro station
Near the metro station
Im sorry, but you would NEVER cat…
I'm sorry, but you would NEVER ca…
Sunset over the Greek mailand
Sunset over the Greek mailand
Sunset
Sunset
The church in Piraeas, before the …
The church in Piraeas, before the…
Athens
photo by: Johnpro