We went to Athens for the a long weekend. It proved to be a very good choice. The historic centre is on a very human scale and all the people we met were very welcoming. When combined with a mild weather and plenty to see, all within walking distance, what more could one want.
It is always an early start to get to the airport for a morning flight. Even if the flight departure time seems reasonable, the parking, check in and security processes, meant that we started getting ready at 4am. I feel for the staff as the place was in full swing when we arrived at the terminal at 0515.
A good flight- we could glimpse at those who paid the higher business class fares-their seating was 4 abreast instead of 6 and they were given breakfast. The actual journey however was the same whatever class you were travelling.
Do you know your European time zones ? We were surprised that Greece was 2 hours ahead of UK-instead of the usual 1 hour difference.
Place to stay
We were lucky as we found a well appointed apartment- within 5 minute walking distance the Acropolis. It even came with a coffee maker with capsules, dishwasher and 3 large screen TV’s with Netflix. I discussed this with the host – he seems a seasoned traveller and said this would be welcome after a long day as a tourist. As we had already been awake 13 hours I fully understood that.
Seeing the key attractions of a place are a combination of luck and timing. We were lucky that the queues were not that long and with timing as we were before the main season. It was also dry but not too hot although the sun was unexpectedly strong.
The Acropolis dominates the city and is visible from many places. To hear that there had been a monument here for thousands of years BC does seem remarkable. Slowly clambering up the slopes one begins to imagine those who were there before you.
The Theatre of Theatre of Dionysus and Odeon of Herodes Atticus
These two places are clear reminders that our football stadiums and concert halls follow a well established pattern. Can you imagine an actor/politician of that time walking the boards? Even now we use Odeon for a cinema or auditorium.
A temple to the goddess Athena started in 447 BC. It is still very impressive despite an Ottoman ammunition dump inside it being detonated on 26 September 1687. The place has been repaired on several occasions and it was striking to read that one of the cranes for the current repair programme had just been replaced after 37 years service.
Nearby was Erechtheion with 6 draped statues
A little way down the hill there is the Temple of Athena Nike.
The goddess Athena Nike represented being victorious in war. It is not surprising that the name is used by Nike, the sportswear company.
We finished the day with a visit to one of the many roof top bars nearby and saw the spectacular views of the Acropolis by night.