13.09.2012 - 14.09.2012 84 °F
Update: Just added a few pictures! We're uploading each day's pictures every day so just in case a Barcelona camera stealing episode happens again! So check the pictures section!
Day 1 - complete!
We started our day yesterday at 7:30am leaving for Rockland so Erika could drive us to the airport by 1pm. Andrew slept pretttty much the whole way because we only got to bed at 3:30am since Jocelyn left at 1am and we still had to book our hotel and pack haha... By the time I got on the plane, I was exhausted from getting 3 hours of sleep and having to drive 5 hours back home. Well Andrew passed right out again and slept for most of the plane ride. The only problem was he kept leaning his head on me and then his head would slowly drop forward and then he'd jolt back up... slowly drop forward and then jolt back up. Over and over and over for HOURS. So I couldn't sleep. Luckily Delta's awesome and had dozens of movies/shows/games to choose from to entertain myself and I watched 3 movies in a row... 7 hours into our trip I tried to fall asleep again and because of Andrew's head bobbing I only got in about 2 1/2 hours of sleep before we were about to land. So day 1: 3 hours of sleep, Day 2: 2.5. Awesome.
We get into Athens and go find the metro... after a 45 minute ride, we arrive pretty close to our hotel so we walk it and find it. The area is kind of seedy looking (as reviews mentioned, but each one promised it was just "looking" seedy and was really safe - Athens is actually a really safe city). Our hotel is really cool. Each floor is painted a different color - blue, pink, green - ours is yellow. We even have a little balcony which is really cute.
After checking in, we go find a place to eat b/c at this point it's about noon and we haven't eaten since Delta Dinner. We found a place (Jazz Cafe) with omeletes and they were surprisingly really good. Then we started our sight seeing. Our first stop was Ancient Agora. It was only 2 euro to get in each (we've prettymuch gotten everything half off with our student ID cards lol). Agora was pretty cool. We just noticed how much "crap" there is - ancient ruins that are essentially a bunch of rocks but have no significance except for their age and so it's practically a crime to throw them out - but they just sit in piles for people to walk by and pay to see. There was a little museum in there with some ancient pottery and other things that were fun to read about. We also went up to the Basilica which was just gorgeous with tons of columns (columns EVERYWHERE here!! Andrew loves it!)
Our next stop was Arios Pagos, this big hill that you can see the entire city from. It's bizarre how from every single direction it's just straight buildings for miles. The view was gorgeous and I ate a little mango ice cream at the top because by this point, I was losing energy fast. I was running on no sleep and we had already walked more miles than I can count (and of course it's hilly everywhere so you're always climbing either a hill or steps)
Next up was Acropolis, which is pretty much what everyone thinks of when they come to Greece. We saw the Parthenon, which would have been a lot more breathtaking if half of it wasn't covered by scaffolding and construction equipment. It was a HUGE bummer, but from the other side, you can take pictures without the machinery in them. The views from up there were just as amazing as on the hill and we were up there for a while since there was a lot to see - Propylaea was gorgeous (it's what we walked through when we first entered Acropolis).. 2 theaters that were really cool.. one was just huge and gorgeous and had marble stadium seating.. the other was supposedly bigger but just looked like a bunch of rubble and then about a dozen rows of seating. This one (the Theatre of Dionysus) was actually really cool b/c the front row seating was a lot nicer and we wanted to try it out but it was all blocked off - so we were stuck in the cheap seats.
Our last big stop was the Acropolis Museum which was cool.. the first floor was everything in Acropolis except the Parthenon, the 2nd floor had food and a store and the 3rd floor was dedicated solely to the Parthenon. There was a video playing too that was really informative. After we left the museum, we walked past Hadrian's Arch which was the arch between Old Athens and Rome. It was nice to see but a quick stop. We really went down to see the Temple of Olympian Zeus, but it was closed off for the day for some reason. That would have been a quick stop as well since there's not much to see so we'll see if it's open tomorrow and if we have time.
We left there and walked up and down Adrianou Street - this cool street that has a ton of little shops and restaurants - definitely a touristy street that would probably be a native's nightmare. This ultimately led us to the place we ate dinner.. some place we had planned on going to and also happened to be where we ended up.. called Taverna "Platanos" - idk why the quotes - We got to sit outside and have some wine with dinner and it was wonderful. The weather is perfect. After that we kind of just wandered back home and here we are! We just had some tea on our porch and now we're just planning out the rest of our trip!
A couple notes:
-There are stray dogs EVERYWHERE. In the sights. sitting on ancient ruins... and a few cats too. It's so weird. I saw one with tags on, but I think his owner owned a little shop and I didn't notice any on the other dogs - but I might just not have been looking. They're all big dogs too and they all look SO sad.. It's heartbreaking
-September is the PERFECT time to travel. The weather is still amazing and all the attractions are craze-free. There are always tourists around but its not nearly as bad as going during the summer. It's wonderful - no waiting and we can see everything we want quickly!
Well tomorrow's another jam-packed day so I'm gonna go shower and finish planning and now Andrew has to write his entry. Goodnight. We miss you and we love you fam!