Day 4: Pireas/Athens, hold onto your bags.
Athens Travel Blog› entry 9 of 13 › view all entries
October 22nd, 2009 – by: missandrea81
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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