18 -21 May
Leaving Prague was a little hairy scary in the middle of the night, by tram, train and plane we made it to Athens. I couldn’t wait to get stuck into the Ancient sites, and Ben couldn’t wait to get stuck into some Mythos (local brew) and Souvlaki/Gyros.
One of the first things we noticed was how all the buildings were white in colour, but going to the rooftop of our accommodation, we had a perfect view of the Acropolis, lit up in the night. You could also see other Ancient Sites lit up the lower surrounds that we were also going to discover. In easy walking distance we could see remains of Libraries, Agora’s and Temples, with the remains of columns, mosaic tile decorations. We could see where the city was once centred, even where the public toilets were, right next to the Tower of Winds.
We visited the Panathenaic Stadium built in 4 BC, this was truly an amazing site. Built to house the Panathenaic Games it went on to host the modern Olympic Games in 1896 and held some events during the 2004 Games. It also is the finishing point to the Athens Marathon where the Greek soldier Pheidippides first ran the distance that now measure a marathon, and is where Athletes such as Michael Booth in 2010 have completed this event. The white marble really makes it stunning. Even the seating is a delight to see, the ornate thrones and seating where dignitaries sat for the perfect view, where my mother would sit waiting for Dad to finish. It always comes down to the little things. I loved how thought was put into the construction for something so old, such as when people are walking at the base, the first tier’s views are not obstructed as it sits lower than the field. The draining tiles that appear around this circular walkway are the original and have not gone through any change or alteration since it was first built and still drains the Stadium perfectly. The self-guided tour to the athletes tunnel is awe inspiring, and can get a glimpse of how the athletes must have felt entering the arena.
We saw the changing of the Guard right on the site of the riots that occurred recently. Quite different to others I’ve seen, although I would have to comment the outfits didn’t seem Greek to me.
Other sites included Dionysos Theatre, Parthenon, Temple of Zeus. The best part was having a few drinks and/or having a dip in the Jacuzzi while admiring the grand Acropolis! Priceless.
Having been enthralled in seeing the sites of those I’d studied it occurred to me that every site were very particular to ensure you had the right ticket, stood in the right areas, although feral cats and dogs roamed as they pleased, and uh em did what they pleased on these ancient sacred sites. It saddened me it was not taken better care of, especially at the Acropolis where they must be spending a lot of money (that Greece cannot afford) on reconstruction.
Loved Athens – have to go back.