We’re now on our second day in Athens, half of it dedicated to a guided tour around the city and the Acropolis. We also visited some other sites on our own and ate the biggest, sweetest, chocolatiest pancakes of all time (almost not exaggerating).
Guided tour of the City
While preparing our trip I booked a combined guided tour of the city and the Acropolis with Athens Walking Tours. For 39e per person we had a guide walking us around the city and showing the different points of interest like the Parliament, the National Gardens etc. then through the Temple of Zeus and finally the Acropolis. Note that in that price is not included the entrance fees to the temples but we used our combo ticket (explained in my previous post).
We started from the Syntagma metro station, first we were divided into smaller groups (ours was of 18, the maximum for that tour company), then we started by a tour of the station itself as it shows the different layers of earth and so civilisations of Athens and has a small museum. We then walked to the Parliament for some explanation and to see the change of guards. It was super busy as it’s the starting time of many tour groups so I would suggest to go at another time (what we did and it was way nicer!).
After that unusual “show”, we walked through the National Gardens to the Zappeion, a building built for the first modern Olympic Games.
It was then time to go to one of the main sites of Athens: the Olympieion or Zeus Temple. It was without a doubt my favourite site of them all (yes, even over the Acropolis). I felt some peace when we were there, it was really special! There’s not much left of the temple, only 15 standing columns and 1 laying, but it’s still the one that spoke the most to me. It was pretty empty as well which was nice. The guide talked about it for a while then let us wander around.
We finally headed up to the Acropolis. We stopped a few times on the way up to get some information about the different temples and theatres then get to the top and talked about the main buildings. It didn’t talk to me as much as some other places unfortunately, probably because there were way more people or just because I was expecting more. I had such a big idea of it, so many expectations, that I was a bit disappointed. The Parthenon is impressive and it’s very interesting to see how the optical trick works (it was built with slightly curved lines so it appears straight from any point of view). The guide was very good and gave us a lot of information about the different parts of the top. It wasn’t the WOW I was expecting, but it was still alright. And I have to admit that the views from the top are pretty incredible!
A last visit by ourselves
The visit was finished and we were quite hungry! We stopped in one of the super touristy restaurants right next to the Ancient Agora for a nice Greek style lunch. It wasn’t as expensive as expected and pretty good!
After that, we decided to go and visit one of the sites left on our combo tickets: Kerameikos. It’s the name of a whole district that was once the potters’ area. It includes an impressive cemetery that you can visit as well as a museum included in the combo ticket. It was actually way more interesting than I thought and was worth the visit. I have only 1 picture of the outside area, I stopped taking them right after finding out it was a cemetery (just because I don’t like taking pictures in that kind of places).
End of the day
We ended the day by going back to Clumsies bar (I’m talking about it in my previous post) to try their tasting board of 4 cocktails, then getting some MASSIVE pancakes and waffles at Estrella, a cafe that makes amazing breakfasts, bagels and desserts. My pancakes were delicious but so big I couldn’t finish! I was too impatient to eat them to take a picture beforehand but I invite you to look for them on the Internet or Facebook to see what I’m talking about!
We then got back to the flat to have an early night as the next day we were going to Delphi for the day! I’ll tell you all about it in my next post! Stay tuned 🙂