“The pillars on the Bank of Greece are different to the Academy. They are Doric, these are Ironic. Not much is happening at the Bank of Greece recently,” he said. It took us a moment to pick up on the joke and then we all laughed.
The Athens Free Walking Tour (called that) was very highly rated on TripAdvisor. Our guide was an Archaeologist whose wit and knowledge made a walking tour bearable on a warm summer’s day. A girl from my hostel and I listened avidly to stories about the Battle of Marathon and Greek mythology as we walked between famous landmarks.
We mentioned the fact that there seem to be a lot of dogs around, wandering without owners. He told us that Athens monitors the stray dogs; feed them, vaccinate them, care for them. That’s why they have collars. The people care for them too.
After the tour, she and I visited the Acropolis Museum (free entry for EU students) and we navigated the back alleys in search of somewhere good for lunch.
Back at my room in the late afternoon, I met two of my new roommates, a guy and a girl from America When I was asked “If you’ve just spent two weeks in the sun, why aren’t you tanned,” I laughed and knew I’d found some friends. With a Northern Irish mum and an English dad, I guess I don’t really fit the typical Australian image of a tanned surfer. I’m just pale!
The three of us headed out to visit the Archaeology Museum (free again for EU students) and spent about an hour and a half looking at artefacts. They were amazing, but we didn’t even reach the second level before we admitted defeat. There was just so much…stuff. After a while, it all began to look the same and their are only so many naked statues I can look at in one day.
On day two, the three of us visited the Acropolis (free for EU students) and marvelled at the architecture and structures that had survived the test of time. The scaffolding was a bit ugly but unfortunately looks like it will be there for quite some time. I overheard a conversation of an American tourist admiring the statues at the Acropolis, and she said “I think the problem now is that, being lawyer, I just keep saying statute rather than statue.”
I returned to the Acropolis Museum for round two and in the late afternoon we bought Baklava and Fredo Cappuccinos (iced coffee with frothy milk) and sat outside a cafe watching the world.
That evening, we found a typically Greek place called Karamanlidika (post about that to come) and enjoyed a feast fit for Greek Gods. I would say Kings, but you know…when in Athens!
We ate too many gyros and found a fantastic frozen Greek yoghurt place. The culture and vibrancy of this city astounded me and I really enjoyed my time there. There’s also something about sitting on the rooftop terrace of your hostel at midnight with beers and people from different nationalities bonding over travel that creates fond memories of a city. I wasn’t ready to leave Greece but Budapest was calling my name! I’ll be back.