However, the one place I knew I needed to see was the Parthenon.
Word of advice: If a travel book suggests that you go see a popular tourist site very early in the morning or later in the afternoon, I would listen to that advice. Otherwise, you will get stuck behind a massive amount of people who came from a cruise. Also, bring sunscreen.
Actually, let me backtrack. Before we hit the area where the Parthenon stood, we explored the lower section of the Acropolis (which actually means the highest point of the city) where the Theater of Dionysus proudly sits. It was amazing to see some of the detail in etched in the marble and to notice the one very prominent seat in the center aisle.
|Theater of Dionysus|
|I wonder how much these box seats cost?|
|Can't you just imagine the shows that took place?|
|Perhaps next time we will pencil in time to see a show here.|
|Click on the image to read about the reconstruction.|
|Under the Propylaia|
|Bring good walking shoes!|
|Parthenon and its admirers|
|2 Ladies conquering the world|
|Eastern wall of the Erechtheion|
|The Caryatids, which is a name for columns that are shaped like people.|
|Click to view all the images.|
Among all the different places at the bottom of the Acropolis that were welcoming us to eat at their restaurant, we ended up settling at one place that had interesting looking chairs. I was admiring the artwork of the restaurants awning when I realized that we had settled on a place called "Taverna Seirines." How cool is that?
So, here's another tip about traveling, though it's just a good tip in general. If you plan on wearing a shirt or dress, and you have some thigh chaffing that occurs, talc powder is really good for that. The best that I was able to do in a travel-size was Gold Bond, but I know of a product that's much better at preventing the chaffing.
As we proceeding to continue walking through the city, we found ourselves in Plaka, another neighborhood of Athens that is filled with shops and restaurants. My friend and I both realize that we desperately need to reapply some talc powder to our thighs! It's starting to hurt a bit.
We eventually find a street that wasn't too busy with tourists, and one of us hides behind a car or a wall while the other is the lookout. Luckily, we both packed our travel-size talc powders, and just reapplied as much as we could under the pressure of accidentally flashing people! Suffice it to say, that was perhaps one of the most hilarious moments of our time in Athens.
Considering that Greece was the birthplace of democracy, it was interesting to be there at a very turbulent time. We were warned about staying away from Parliament so as to avoid any random demonstrations that might pop up, as well as making sure we are prepared for any strikes.
|Wandering around accidentally lead us right to Parliament.|
Later that day, as we rode the Metro back to our hotel, we overheard an announcement saying that the Metro was to be closed all day on the 8th due to the strike. We felt so lucky to hear that announcement! We worked with the staff at our hotel to get a taxi to pick us up the next morning. He then told us that a demonstration was occurring at 11am on the 8th, from Omonia Square (where we were staying) to Parliament, so it was good that we were leaving as early as we were.
As I was checking the news on my Droid (which I didn't have time to mod as a world phone in time for the trip, thus I had limited interweb access) the next day, I realized that we narrowly escaped a massive striking day!
Let me review. From 5am til midnight, when the Metro usually runs, there would be no Metro trains, no buses, no public transportation except for taxis. There were no ferries running out of Pireaus, the major port in Athens, or any other port near the city until midnight. The airport was joining the strike at 10am, thus no flights were arriving or departing from the international airport after 10am.
I must say that I was a bit impressed with how much the city was going to be shut down. I don't know if I would ever see anything like that in the US without it going horribly awry.
We got so lucky! But just for that one day.
Coming up next: Kalimera, Santorini.