Stl - Phl - Athens

Athens Travel Blog

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Day 1 ��" Athens

We made it!  Sorry for the delay.  Jetlag, way too much walking, and problems accessing internet on first day of this great ancient city ��" ATHENS,  but I’m really not complaining.

There’s so much to see in Athens, you don’t realize it until you’re actually here, even though you’ve read all the guide books.  It’s spread out and it takes a bit to maneuver the maps and guides ��" especially when the large wall maps on the street or subway are only in Greek! We began with a  3 day metro pass.  This is a real bargain.  Phenomonel actually as we have used it over 10 times just today, our first day ��" so it’s already paid for itself.

Hotel in Main Square, city center Athens. Can get free internet access here. The Nazi flag flew from this site in WWII when the Nazi's invaded Greece. People forget about that area being invaded.
  It’s  good on buses, trains, trolleys, subway, metro.   It’s 15 Euros, around 21 USD, and that’s only $7 a day. 

Our hotel was the Athenaeum Intercontinental Athens Hotel as we got a great rate (airline), so we’re very happy.   It doesn’t over look the Acropolis, YES IT DOES, we got an upgrade, thanks to Rich's Gold Priority Card Member Card......you must try this all you Holiday Inn People!!!! --- but the Guest Services Manager has given us an offer we can’t refuse, so it looks like the next night will be upgraded along with the ability to have free internet, (we actually got 3 FREE hours, and here, that is a bloody miracle)  which is quite expensive if you have to pay for it outright.   (It’s 9 euros for 1 hour or about 15 USD.  ) Then we will have the Acropolis view from our hotel window, and The Parthenon which we have to see now from the 9th floor if we want to see it from our hotel.

Subway EVERYWHERE. Easy, cheap.
    Tomorrow we stay with David’s cousin in the city  (IMMITOS) so that will be nice.  Then we’ll be back at the hotel with our special deal.   (Hopefully) YES!  We got it!! ----  I need the internet!  And breakfast would be nice too!  It’s normally $45 dollars for a breakfast here.  Needless to say, I ate my packaged homemade trail mix and so did my companions! If you’re really jetlagged, which you undoubtedly will be when you arrive, if you are lucky to have your first night in a hotel with a pool, that would be a good thing.   The swim as soon as we arrived, revived us a great deal. The pool was outdoors and is not open  in any season except summer.   Magnificant pool!    

The first thing we did after purchasing our metro pass was to visit the Sunday market  It’s the oldest Ottoman marketplace in Greece and has run continually for thousands of years - never ever closing down!    It’s where the 5th century BC vendors sold their stuff.

First Olympic stadium - 1896. Wanted the anniversary here in 2006, but they couldn't get it together. Atlanta won out.
You have to see it even if you don’t buy a thing, but of course you will. There are great and beautiful and unique wares, antiques, and  stuff.  Lovely.

The bus from the airport to the city center is about 23 minutes.    Parliament is right here as well, so see it before you move on, or come back to it.   The still colorful guards are interesting to watch and you may have your picture taken with them.       Interesting subway system in that it’s very clean and spacious and contains phenomenal artifacts  and  Christian graves which were left untouched as they built this particular subway. It’s encased in glass and it’s like being in a museum.   It’s very impressive and very worth seeing, even if you don’t take the subway.

Parthenon Acropolis 2009
  The name of the subway station in the city center is Syntagma Subway station.  From there we went to the main square where the market is held if Plateia Monostraki.   It has a beautiful 16 century Church.   It also has a McDonalds.   Richard’s such a connoisseur!

We saw the ruins of the Library of Hadrian, which is opened on Sundays and free that day.   This Hadrians library was seriously damaged by the barbarian race of Herulians in AD267 , so says the Guide book. 

 We continued walking along the market area viewing and haggling about a few things ,.  and some stores have set prices.  Cash will be the better deal usually, but not always.

New Acropolis Museum built over amazing ruins.
  So many people, so many shops and so many beautiful colors everywhere  - pottery, clothing, quilts, baubles, necklaces, bracelets, calendars, beautifully packaged liquor sets, shot glasses (which, if you’re a creative sort could use for other small  food items other than liquor.  They’re beautiful.)   Many packaged food and candy items, their best known sweet being Turkish Delight, which I shouldn’t be eating while I’m typing this because it gets all over the keyboard with it’s fine white powdered sugar, but boy it is yummy!

We also saw the Roman Agora, which was an ancient market place area which was lined with stalls selling sacred objects.  Visitors could buy last minute offerings to the Oracle  oh, so long ago.  After being out in the market area &  traipsing up and down many steep stairs we headed back on the subway/trolley to our hotel .

From the hotel balcony.
  We were getting good at this by now……  Or Richard was, as he IS  the all consummate tour guide, (my friend /colleague from my airline), plus he has this uncanny ability to be a human GPS!  Honestly.    It’s amazing how he just senses the right way to travel ��" on foot or by public transport.  The only thing that puzzled him were the large maps  on the wall that were totally in Greek, so we couldn’t compare our street names to the ones on the map.   Darn!  

The Internet is not as accessible here as in other cities …… probably costs more here, for one thing, and not sure why.   Most of the time you can find these cafes everywhere, but not in Greece  or Athens anyway as we just never came upon one.

  The map from the hotel says the internet café is widely available here in Athens, but we never saw them.  There is one at the Stigmata Square (by the City Center) But we haven’t found it yet.

I will be writing a review about the Athenaeum Intercontinental Athens Hotel.  It’s associated with Holiday Inn, so if you stay there in the US and you’re a gold card member, they’ll do some better things for you. So check this out.  It ‘s a really great hotel.  A bit far out I thought at first, but with the great public transportation, it all came together.

Day 1 went off without a hitch really, except I tried not to talk too much because everytime I opened my mouth, I sounded a little drunk or stupid. My words kept garbling, or fading off.   It was pure fatigue as it is a long flight ��" like over 10 hours  from St Louis  and even though the answer to sleeping on the plane is simply DRUGS, (well , you know, a sleeping pill), it still is oh so very long.

subway was great!
   We did more today on our FIRST day anywhere, than I have in a long time, but I haven’t traveled in awhile and I was ready to GO!  My husband dragged behind me occasionally, but the Turkish beer bought in a little market , sitting down on some ancient wall while watching  the world go by, vendors selling, people strolling, sure  revved him up a bit and we just had a jolly good time,   The three of us continued dashing about this great ancient city of Athens.

Tomorrow morning (early) is the Parthenon/Acropolis, which I have taken a zillon photos of already , especially as it was lit up tonight,   and can’t wait to see this up close and personal.  I can wait to climb those steps,  (NEVER CLIMB AT NOON!!)  but somehow, I will make it.

Museum in Athens in the SUBWAY! They built around the ruins. imagine what they found when digging!
   It does seem so very high up!  Then the new Acropolis Museum which is beautifully designed with the ruins and famed marble sculptures of the Acropolis the features as the museum is built around them so they can be viewed from above.   Awesome.

I should be more on tract once the jetlag leaves my body and will write more, hopefully.

Thanks for checking in!

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Hotel in Main Square, city center …
Hotel in Main Square, city center…
Subway EVERYWHERE.  Easy, cheap.
Subway EVERYWHERE. Easy, cheap.
First Olympic stadium - 1896. Want…
First Olympic stadium - 1896. Wan…
Parthenon
Acropolis 2009
Parthenon Acropolis 2009
New Acropolis Museum built over am…
New Acropolis Museum built over a…
From the hotel balcony.
From the hotel balcony.
subway was great!
subway was great!
Museum in Athens in the SUBWAY! Th…
Museum in Athens in the SUBWAY! T…
Ah, so easy
Ah, so easy
Hadrians library just uncovered
Hadrian's library just uncovered
Athens
photo by: Johnpro