About three weeks ago, I packed my suitcase and headed off to LHR. Taking the tube with a massive suitcase (okay, that one was my fault) whilst it was 28 degrees outside was definitely a delightful start to this journey but I didn’t mind that much, the excitement of the upcoming holiday quickly made me forget about the sauna experience on the tube. At LHR I popped into Eat to get a sandwich and off I was. The stewardesses on the plane were really lovely and even got me a vegan meal although I’d completely forgotten to pre-order it (sorry guys, but I’m used to flying with EasyJet). Having arrived in Athens I took the metro to Monastiraki, where we would stay for the next 2 nights. Being the perfectionist that I am, I tried to follow where the metro was going on Google Maps so that I wouldn’t miss the stop – considering that nearly all the names were in Greek that was close to impossible but hey, I made it and didn’t miss my stop. So let me talk about one of my favourite things about our stay in Athens: the hotel. The room was simply gorgeous and the facilities were amazing – we had a rain shower (!!), a coffee machine that even had decaf coffee, a very interesting lamp that looked a bit like a fan and an old radio and typewriter (that both served as decoration although of course my dad tried to turn on the radio). The view from the room was amazing as well and I just happened to arrive as the sun was going down, it was beautiful. But speaking of beautiful views, our hotel was called 360° because of its rooftop bar. I remember taking the elevator up the first night and simply being blown away, it was that beautiful. We had a perfect view over Acropolis and over the city and in typical blogger fashion, I couldn’t stop taking photos (and snapchats). My dad and me had cocktails and an amazing risotto – the waiter tried to talk me out of having it without cheesing saying it wouldn’t taste the same but well, it was absolutely delicious! And let’s be honest, that scenery would have made anything taste great.
The next day, we got up relatively early (according to my definition, not my dad’s) and after an amazing breakfast we went out and explored the city. We walked all the way through Monastiraki and its flea market to the Ancient Agora. The Ancient Agora is what’s used to be the centre of ancient Athens and it was simply stunning, especially the Hephaisteion, an old temple that has remained nearly completely intact. You can see it in the second photo above and if I’m very honest, I found it even more impressive than Acropolis. Whilst we were wandering around and exploring the Ancient Agora I tried to imagine what life what must have been like all the years ago and I loved the thought of walking the same grounds as our ancestors did back then. Whilst I was thinking about all of that, we were surprised by a sudden shower and ended up sitting under a tree for a good 30 minutes. It was weirdly romantic. Plus we watched a tortoise slowly crawling underneath a bush to hide itself from the rain. Finally, the rain stopped and we walked around to take some more photos and look at the stoa of Attalos before heading off to get lunch at a typical Greek restaurant. I ended up having stuffed vine leaves which is my favourite Greek dish. My dad went for a salad and we sat there talking about Athens and temples and thought about what to do for the rest of the day.
Acropolis was a must of course. So after a short break we walked all the way up there to see the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike and all the other famous ancient sites. My favourite thing about Acropolis was the view over the city though, it was simply stunning. There is no other city where you can see so many temples and ancient ruins from above (although Athens might be competing with Rome in that aspect) and it was amazing to see how all the different parts of the city were connected. And Athens is certainly the dream for anyone who loves rooftop bars because let me tell you, there are many (our hotel rooftop bar being the best one of course). Whilst we were looking at the temples we were again surprised by rain, this time accompanied by a thunderstorm. Imagine the situation – I might not believe in Greek gods but yes, it was scary. And thrilling at the same time, it was like being part of an old movie. After the rain had stopped, we walked back down and strolled through Plaka and stopped for some freshly squeezed orange juice (because I could never say no to that!). In the evening we got a takeaway (yas to stuffed veggies) and just spent some time reading and relaxing.
The next day, we realised how lucky we had been concerning the weather – Athens without clouds and showers is very hot and we mostly tried to stay in the shade, as much as that was possible. In the morning we visited Hadrian’s Library (last two photos) and did a bit of shopping near Syntagma Square (can you believe the we went to Sephora for my dad and not for me?!) before having lunch at a Greek restaurant. I have to admit that my choice of meal wasn’t very Greek but well, this girl needed pasta. The restaurant offered an amazing selection of tea and I ended up choosing vanilla and caramel tea. After lunch it was time to say goodbye to the city (or at least, to the city centre) and we packed our bags to head down to Piraeus, where the next part of our journey would begin. All in all, we only had a day in Athens but we definitely made it count. Looking back, I have to say that Athens is one of the most interesting (and overwhelming) cities I have ever seen and I can recommend it to anyone who is interested in culture. Or rooftop bars.
Have you been to Athens or anywhere else in Greece? xx