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  • Writer's picturerachrachchang

MAY 2023 - Athens, Greece 🇬🇷 (3/3)

DAY 9 // 28 May, Sunday | We arrived at Athens International Airport at 12.30 pm, we got our luggage and went across to another building outside the airport to get to the train station:

We got the round trip, two ways airport ticket! (save money)


The airport train departs every 30 minutes, and it was quite a long ride from the airport to where we were heading. Us at Syntagma station:


Then changed to another train line, to get to Acropoli Station! Once we arrived and were leaving the station, Apple: this is where our trouble begins...


(recalling our painful walk to our Hotel in Santorini)


According to Gmaps, it says 15 minutes walk but it was less than 8 minutes and we reached our accommodation for the next 4 nights!

Hotel Phaedra

It was on a corner along a street of shops, and we almost missed it hahaha


Security level: not that great. Personally, I didn't like the room keys hanging near the door with the receptionist concept.


Room 216!

(this time we remembered to knock, before entering)


After we have settled down, and dressed lighter, it was time to head out for late lunch! It was already 3 plus pm in Greece.


Athens is warmer compared to the other cities we visited, I had to change my top because it was too hot!


BOX LIFT (part 2)!!!!

(First, was in our Hotel in Crete)

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Loving the blue skies and the colours of the building~


RESTAURANT SCHOLARHIO


We ordered a Pork Stew with Wine, and Cod Fillet with Garlic Sauce! The portions weren't big, meant for sharing, and not a meal on its own. The waiter asked if we wanted bread to go with the stew, but we weren't very hungry and declined, but I get why it would have gone well with bread hah


I ordered a Loux Gazoza, tastes a lot like Sprite:

(for the experience)


Also, they gave us water (for free, I think) and we filled our bottles before leaving!


Earlier, right next to this restaurant, we saw a Gelato place and wanted to get ice cream on a hot sunny day like today hehe

Tahiti Vanilla~


I almost got hit by a car. A reminder to self: do not take pictures on the road without watching the traffic.

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We have to gather at the meeting place for our free Walking Tour (Athens Free Tour) by 5 pm!


Meeting place: Pl. Manou Rallous

I dressed in all black hahaha, and one of the tour guides was also in a similar concept hah, I love this look~


Our tour guide, Dionysus (the name of the God of Theatre, and many others, wine-making, orchards and fruit, vegetation, fertility, festivity, insanity, ritual madness, and religious ecstasy) started the tour by getting us to introduce ourselves, your name and where you are from, and the story of how the city is named Athens.


The name-giving of Athens: Poseidon and Athena met on the sacred hill of the Acropolis to contest to claim the city. Poseidon struck his trident on the ground and sea water came out, but the people were not pleased as the city is surrounded by water, his gift was met with limited enthusiasm by the people. Athena, on the other hand, planted a seed, and it grew into an Olive Tree. The tree was a high-quality timber source while its fruit was nutritional and could be used to make olive oil. Athena won the contest, and the city is named after her, Athens.

Dionysus is the guy in front. We also managed to chat with him more and he told us he graduated from Medical School recently. He then shared further it was in July but this (graduation) is considered recent to him, and perhaps don't know what to do from here with his life. Okay, we can totally relate.


I asked if Medical School was difficult. He said if it's about getting into Medical School, it's difficult but graduating from Medical School was okay, you just need to memorise things.


Zappeion Megaron

(we saw it from afar)


Part of the National heritage of Greek civilization!


First Olympic Village


"Evangelis Zappas, a Greek patriot and benefactor from North Epirus, envisaged the rebirth of the spirit of ancient Greece and devoted his life to the revival of the Olympic Games and the promotion of the Αrts."


Panathinaiko Stadium

As this is a brief guide on all the places of interest, it was more like a touch and go and come back another time to wonder more. We will be back on another day, just realised can buy ticket and go in to see!


George Karaiskakis is depicted riding his horse in battle, wearing a Greek traditional uniform, the one that has inspired the ceremonial uniform of the Presidential Guard.


Apparently, it is general knowledge to know if the horse is positioned with 2 legs up, which means the person depicted in the statue, died in battle!


(okay I did not know that)


There are huge stretches of trees, and there are oranges up there. Dionysus clarified there is no significance for the oranges, and they are very bitter so nobody wants them:

(tan line problem is real)


Presidential Guards

We came back to see their Presidential Guard Uniform only hah, visitors can catch the changing of the Guards every hour on the hour, day or night, at the monument of the Unknown Soldier erected after the First World War, to commemorate the soldiers that have fallen for the freedom and the independence of our country.


The Presidential Guard stands there, guarding the Monument day and night, throughout the year. The Members of the Presidential Guard are Greeks doing their military service, mandatory for every male above the age of 18. After having gone through a very demanding selection process and very tough training, the Members of the Presidential Guard are some of the best-trained soldiers in Greece.


According to Dionysus, they are also the most good-looking men to be able to be a Presidential Guard. This guy (in the picture) was guarding the President's home.


The uniform of the soldiers -varying depending on the day or the season- is inspired by different battles the Greeks have fought throughout the ages.


  • Their red hats show the blood that was shed in the battles

  • The black decorations hanging from their socks symbolize tears for those who fell in the battlefield.

  • Black cloth by their face represents the tears of their mothers

They also have to do a few positions during their duty, there is one where they have to kick their leg up and stomp on the guard hard, this is to let their ancestors (underground) know that their people are still free!!!!


National Gardens

(spot the animal with an identity crisis among turtles!)


As Greece does not have royal blood in their country, they ask royal families in Europe if they want to take it up. The garden was designed in the 1830s by Queen Amalia, the first Queen of Greece. She aimed at creating a scientific botanical garden with trees from around Greece and across the globe, the trees and plants in the national garden are from other countries.


Dionysus's add-on: As the Royal blood were not Greeks, and don't speak the language, eventually, they were exiled in the end.


We saw the Hellenic Parliament House from far:

(Dionysus: ugly beige building)


"Dedicated to the Annunciation of the Mother of God, the three-aisled domed basilica stands in the very center of Athens as a reminder of the importance of Orthodox Christianity to the Greek nation."


The way the Greeks pray is with 3 fingers, crossing, and then lighting a candle. They also kiss the statues from right to left and have to leave the Church, looking at the cross.


(covid problems??)


We managed to go in for a quick look, but have to plan to come back to visit on another day. There is also the Holy Church of the Virgin Mary next to this, which was closed when we arrived:


Dionysus also mentioned ancient people stealing marbles from one place to another to build another structure, but I missed out on which ones were he referring to, during the tour.


Then we stopped for a 10 minutes break for us to get drinks or go to the toilet! I got an iced latte~


Hadrian's Library

It is one of the highly recommended must-visit places by Dionysus.


(the scrolls were destroyed)



Other notes:

  • Monastiraki Street, there are many bars with great views!

  • Monastiraki Square has colourful places to buy stuff, and where the Central Market is at

  • On the left of the Square, it is the Athens Flea Market

  • Ancient Agora is a must-visit!

  • And the Temple of Zeus!!!

  • Go Acropolis Museum first, then visit the Acropolis

Dionysus taught the tour group how to read and pronounce some words, but I completely catch no balls:

I know the first word means "Street" and that's all I know.


Greeks say No with their eyebrows moving up, which seems contradicting to "No" HAHAHA


Random street things:


The tour ended at 8.06 pm, we gave Dionysus some tips (you can choose not to), and went for dinner at McDonald's! We wanted to see if McDonald's tastes better, especially if they sell pork.

The cheapest meal I had in Greece is 7.55€, at McDonald's!


The night view of the Acropolis from our Hotel window:


 

DAY 10 // 29 May, Monday | We left our Hotel at 9.20 am and made our way to Acropolis Museum, we intend to see what we can get along the way for breakfast!


Akropolis Station


Coffee Island ~

I ordered a Freddo (Iced) Expresso Ristretto and Caramel Toffee Muffin, we also saw all the Coffee Island collection of capsules, so gonna be back to buy them later!


We arrived at the Museum around 10.45 am:

Acropolis Museum

What I like about this Museum's architecture, is the glass panels surrounding the building, this allows us to have a panoramic view of the Acropolis and modern Athens!


Street View:


Acropolis:


Also, 面包脸 collection here:


There are lots to look at, I'm just gonna feature a few things that I like at Acropolis Museum!

Dionysus and Theatric Masks


This reminds me of chemistry class, once again hahaha


Endless statues here, I take particular interest in Kora!



The West Pediment


Reconstruction of West Pediment of The Parthenon

(depicting how Athens got her name)


Reconstruction of East Pediment of The Parthenon

The Birth of Athena: Zeus swallowed the Goddess of Prudence, Metis when she was pregnant with Athena. When it was time for her to give birth, Zeus felt great pain in his head and ordered Hephaistus to splay it open with an axe, and Athena sprang out fully armed and dressed, before the God of Olympus. Small winged Nike was ready to crown the goddess.


There were also places showing clips of restoration work of these symbolic sites, v insightful!


By 2 pm, we went to their gift shop, Apple bought an Owl figurine that represents Goddess Athena and her wisdom~


Then next, we moved to the excavation site right below the Museum:

COOL~


It is a huge place, and we saw the excavation efforts over a change in weather/seasons and years in video clips!


We were done with the excavation site at 2.47 pm, and off we go for lunch!

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KITTY KITTY


😍😍😍😍


We went to Zorbas Tavern for lunch, main reasons were the platter and price, and the flowers!!!!


Changing seats for photos heh

Mamos is delicious!!!!


This platter has Fried Zucchini Balls, Greek Sausage, Cheese Pie, Grilled Feta Cheese with Tomato, Fried Peppers (stuffed with cheese), Fried Meatballs, and Cheese Saganaki!


I still think there is alcohol in their Zorbas Coffee... got this bitter alcohol taste after tasting the coffee!

FRIED CHEESE!


We were done around 4.30 pm, it was really a late lunch. We also got a Gelato after lunch~

(Mango)


On our way back, we grabbed Coffee Island Capsules (24.80€) and went back to Hotel to put things down before our next adventure!


Dionysiou Areopagitou Promenade

This photo doesn't do this most scenic street justice. Somehow we were accompanied by students on a school trip hahaha


We walked along this stretch and saw an entrance point to the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and took it! (Note: there are many ways to get up to the Acropolis)


We walked up and found a ticket office, and got a combined ticket at 30€ each, with 5 days validity to the 7 archaeological sites!


Towards and upwards: Acropolis and Slope!!!!

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

I remember watching some travel shows, and people could go in and sit around, and watch a performance. I guess if we don't watch a play here, then not allowed to admit to this site ):


After passing by this, we continued our journey up the Acropolis, this is the entrance:


The Parthenon

(gloomy skies)


Me with The Parthenon:


Me with cat:


My biggest joy on the Acropolis is this:

Never knew a water fountain/cooler can make me this happy, I felt so dehydrated and even if we can have more water, we also worry about not being able to find toilets. At this point, I refilled my bottle twice le hahaha


What I like most about the attraction sites in Athens, is the availability of facilities, such as toilets at each site!


Love this picture, but then got this guy photobomb us:


Erechtheum


Also, this is the Olive Tree from Goddess Athena?


The view of the city from the Acropolis:

Apparently, they can't build any buildings taller than the Acropolis to keep this location the highest point (good location during war or crisis), plus the country doesn't have enough money to buy skyscrapers (according to our tour guide, Dionysus)

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We went to buy stuff, I got olive wood cutleries (for grandma) and Murano glass earrings for Suz and SL from Athens Protasis!

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The view of the Acropolis (close to sunset):


We had dinner almost close to 10 pm at Erota, very close to our Hotel! Apple has been talking about fresh fish for the longest time and here is ours:


(contact lens going to drop out liao)

 

DAY 11 // 30 May, Tuesday | Starting our morning with behind-the-scenes, we wanted to take a cool lift video!

(sorry Apple, your face got cut off in this photo)

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9.17 am, Diogenes Food Hall


I ordered a Praline Croissant and a Freddo Cappucino Latte! Normally I like getting savory food, even for breakfast but today felt like the Praline Croissant was calling out to me 😋


It is so good, I paid 2.20€ for another Praline Croissant 😂

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It was a 15-minute walk, but the weather is good, and we didn't need to take a train over~


Saw this cat on our way, and it started drizzling...


Ancient Agora

Ancient Agora is one of the major archaeological sites, AKA the Forum of Athens where people used to gather. The entrance fee is 12€, but because we got the pass yesterday so that's settled!


I'm in love with all these columns:


But I found someone who is even more excited than me!!!!


There are people around doing restoration work, like cleaning, etc.



The Museum wasn't a huge hall, there is also a level 2 and other areas to visit at the Ancient Agora.


I have never seen a queue for the men's washroom, and today we're in luck with a rare sight:


While waiting for Apple to return from the washroom, I took a selfie here:

(why do I look kiddy here ah)


Then chanced upon a not-so-obvious stairway, and found Level 2!


Lots of things to see, but featuring what interest me the most:


Then later we walked out to explore the rest of Ancient Agora:


Emperor Hadrian


Temple of Hephaestus

We saw a group of students doing sketches later, and belatedly googled their school, and found out they are architecture students from other European countries!

(suddenly missing all the school field trip days)


Then we left at 12 ish pm, Apple had to help me wipe my dress from dusty sandy particles on my butt area (wonder where I sat on HAHAHA)


As we were making our way out of the Ancient Agora, it started raining so we decided to just stop somewhere for a quick break:

I got Stracciatella!


We saw a few pretty cool shops around this area and will come back later for some shopping after we clear our next itinerary.



Hadrian's Library (for real)



(HAHAHA Apple caught on camera touching things)


It was raining again, so we were holding our umbrellas in this place. With the metal bars surrounding this place, at times we feel we are zoo animals when people look in from outside the bars haha


Also cat!!!!!!


We were done with the library at 1.33 pm and went to grab our lunch (oops didn't record the name of the restaurant)


I like the restaurant vibes and the hospitality of the staff (and their nice arms)!!!!! We started the meal off with bread and olive paste spread!



We ordered Tigania (juicy pork tenderloin) and a plate of thin pork chop. It's a lot of pork horrrr

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Then later we shop around Monastiraki and here are some exciting pictures from our quick gai gai:


Then we went to Monastiraki station and got two-trips tickets at €2.40 to move to our next destination!


We took to Omonoia and walked over:

Omg, there were so many birds here (and I can hear SL screaming in the back of my head hahaha), I saw two birds midair fighting over a piece of food, which looks like raw chicken???? I was so scared that the "raw chicken" will drop on my face when we move past these birds to get to the Museum!


National Archaeological Museum

It is the largest archaeological museum in Greece and one of the most important museums in the world devoted to ancient Greek art. Dionysus told us during the free walking tour that it will take a good 4 hours to explore the Museum, I guess arriving here at 4 ish pm, isn't too bad.


Really a lot of things to see here, I don't think 4 hours is even enough! Putting a few highlights from the Museum visit:

This doesn't look like there is any glass covering the whole exhibit and we went to touch then realised got glass cover la, just that somehow we can't see it lol


Many statues, my eyes hurt from reading all the small text descriptions, and also they were spelling errors 😂


Aphrodite and Pan


The greatest debate!!!! Bronze statue of Zeus or Poseidon? Was he holding a lighting bolt or trident hmmmm


When we went to the toilets, we then saw the rest area is so huge and it is a relaxing place to chill, but too bad, we no chance to sit here today:


The last admission was at 7.30 pm, we left at 7.37 pm with our bags in the cloak area! We decided to walk to Viktoria station and take the Metro back to Monastiraki.


We had dinner at Geros Tou Moria:

There were music and dancing here, but we sat upstairs at their rooftop seats.


Fried Zucchini and Grilled Squid!


We ordered a beer to share, and finally found out what's the name of the beer we liked on day 1 of our trip - it's Alpha beer!


We finished our food close to 9 ish pm, then walked back to our Hotel, it was 10 ish pm le.

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Apple fitting her new hippie pants: