Trip Start May 01, 2010
33Trip End Jul 10, 2010
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Well we are loving this hot weather in Athens after a fair bit of crappy weather during the first half of our trip. We have been away for a month now which to me feels longer. I guess we have done a lot of stuff in that month that is why it feels like two months!
This morning we had to get up at a decent time to pack up everything yet again because it was our last day in Athens. After checking out we headed for the central square of Athens, Syntagma Square where we were to meet a guide for a walking tour of Athens archaeological sites. My cousin Caroline and her boyfriend Aaron gave us a guided tour of Athens for our wedding present which is a must do in order to see and understand the city properly.
The guide was a middle aged Greek lady with fairly good English although a bit quiet. Our tour actually started in the Metro station where we were told of the problems of constructing a metro system in one of the oldest cities in the world. Every time the engineers would begin to dig for the metro, they discover yet more archaeological sites which first needed to be carefully excavated and catalogued before digging could resume. The metro station actually has some of the finds behind glass so that you can see what was found during the construction. There was also a huge cross-section of earth showing the different layers of soil and how they pertain to different periods of history right back to the bronze age. This was all a good introduction and really showed you just how ancient Athens is.
I won’t bore you with all the stops on the tour but I will mention some highlights!
We stopped at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (apparently the first ‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier’ before the concept was copied around the world) and saw the changing of the guard. You may have seen amusing video of the Russian’s marching during the changing of the guard in St Petersburg but the Greeks may be even funnier, I’ll let you decide by checking out the video I’ve uploaded and you can add a comment
We saw the huge remaining columns of the temple of Zeus built around 2500 years ago and yet they are still standing today. From there we could see the Acropolis in the distance which looked like a long walk in the heat. It was over 30 degrees by now so every time the guide stopped to speak we dashed for the shade. A bit of a change from our other walking tours where we sought out the sunny spots.
The walk up to the top of the acropolis wasn’t too bad after all. Having to repeatedly say “no thank you” to all the Bangladeshi illegals offering us sun umbrellas distracted us from the walk I guess. Once we got to the top there was a nice breeze which was much appreciated. There were certainly a lot of Americans around as evidenced by their loud voices. If you can hear a tourist, then they will usually have an American accent. It can be quite annoying when there is a loud voice in your ear shouting ‘OHH MY GOD! LOOK AT THAT TREE ABIGAIL!’ or ‘WOW LOOK AT THAT ROCK JIM!’ (Jim can be replaced by any other three letter American name such as Joe, Bud, Abe etc). At least they don’t blow smoke in your face while you are trying to eat dinner like the European tourists I guess
Thanks again to Caroline and Aaron for the tour, we both learnt a lot and saw some amazing sites which hopefully you can see in the pictures.
After the tour was over we walked back through Plaka which is a very historic neighbourhood filled with restaurants and touristy shops. It was so hard to work out which restaurant was good because they were all busy and all had basically the same menu. Lunch was pretty much like all of our meals in Greece, grilled meat and salad.
We went back to the hotel and picked up our bags and then walked to the metro station where we caught the train to the airport. At the airport I bought more spinach pie which I have been trying everywhere but again it was a disappointment. I still believe my Aunty Kelly’s mother makes the best spinach pie and unfortunately nothing here has come close yet but I will keep tasting!
Off to the Greek isles, next stop the Santorini!
Daniel + Ly