Friday, June 21, 2013

Greece: Day 1 in Athens

OK, technically it was day 2 in Athens, but we didn't leave our hotel on the day that we got there.  Our first day started with breakfast at the hotel.  It was SO much more than I could have imagined!!!  They had amazing options, and it was so much more than an American continental breakfast!

See that orange juice?  They had a juicer that had a thing in the middle that spun.  You took an orange, cut it in half and the spinny thing juiced your orange for you - super fresh, super delicious - hard to explain!!!!

After breakfast, we got picked up for a tour of the city, the Acropolis and the Acropolis museum.  We started at the Olympic stadium, which is the old stadium.  It's still used once a year for the marathon - you know, the one that starts in the city of Marathon?  It's made of marble and it's beautiful!  Marble in Greece is like plastic here in the US - it's EVERYWHERE, and obviously prettier that plastic.

We then moved on to the Acropolis, which is the hill where you'll find The Parthenon.  Most people use the names interchangeably and incorrectly.  Also on The Acropolis, you'll find the Old Temple of Athena (where she fought Poseidon to be the patron of the city) and the Temple of Nike.

The Parthenon

The Old Temple of Athena

The Temple of Nike
From there, we went on to The New Acropolis Museum.  It was opened in 2009 and while it's very modern and somewhat industrial, it does a great job of keeping the attention on the contents of the museum.  They are also excavating what is essentially a city that has been found under the museum and you can see it through Plexiglas floors in various places throughout the museum.

One of the coolest things that you were able to see in the museum is the artistry and skill of the sculptors during the time.  The details and the movement of the statues is amazing.  One example is the level of detail used to show things like the way a dress drapes, or the veins in a hand.

After the museum, we went to have lunch at the Plaka.  It's an area of Athens where you'll find shops, restaurants and cafes and it's a great area to just sit and relax.  We stopped at a restaurant and each got a beer (Mythos Greek beer), and we shared Greek salads and an appetizer platter.  Greeks put a lot of emphasis on eating while you're drinking - they don't like drunk people  :)

After lunch, we took a long route back to the hotel and walked through some of the botanical gardens and through the Zappeion Hall grounds.  It was built as a facility that was used for the revival of the Olympic games (the modern Olympics) and was used for press during the 2004 Olympics.

After a long, hot day of walking around (and sweating a lot) we went back to the hotel and showered and went to dinner at a restaurant that also has a Greek dancing show.  The wine was great, the food was good, and the dancers were entertaining.

When the show was over, we went back to the hotel to rest up for another day of sight seeing!!


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