Greece – Athens

As my final stop in Greece, I arrived at one of the oldest cities in the world – Athens.

Everybody I talked to before arriving told me in a very worried way to be extremely careful, so I was a little uncomfortable and paranoid while visiting.

So while I saw some amazing things, including things that have been on my list for years, I’m not sure if I can say I enjoyed myself. I didn’t have any problems at all, but maybe it was because I was in high alert. Since all of the hostels available had ratings that mentioned how dangerous the area was, I ended up in my first Air BnB a metro ride away from downtown. 

Uneasiness aside, I forced myself to go out each day, which I’m glad I did. 

I love Greek Mythology, and here was the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The sheer size of these pillars was surprising.

16 of the original 104 columns remain, one of them having fallen. 

Nearby is Hadrian’s Gate.

I was working my way around the Acropolis, saving the Parthenon for last. I soon came upon The Tower of the Winds, an octagonal tower with the eight wind deities represented on each face.

I got a pretty good view from outside and decided to save myself the ticket price and move on. I really liked the tower though.

I walked by the best preserved temple, the Temple of Hephaestus, which was near the Stoa of Attalos.

The next day I final made it up to the Parthenon! I first went to the nearby Mars Hill for a view of the Acropolis and surrounding city.

Something I got used to traveling through the Balkans was never really having to stand in line. I had to remind myself that this was one of the most iconic places on earth, so a line wasn’t a big deal. This guy kept me company in line and accurately summed up how I felt.

Before too long though I was in!

The first sight off to the side was this Odeon of Herodes Atticus, where musicians seemed to be practicing.

The Acropolis is the name of the citadel sitting atop the rocks, encompassing all of the buildings on top.

This is the Parthenon.

The views of the city were amazing. This is the Theatre of Dionysus.

Also visible was the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

There were many more things I would have liked to see, but with one day remaining my priority was the National Archaeological Museum.

This helmet was made from boar’s tusks.

There were two things in particular I wanted to see. The first was this statue of either Zeus or Poseidon.

And the second was the Mask of Agamemnon, a gold funeral mask from Mycenae.

The Mycenaeans really liked gold.

It was cool walking through the museum and recognising the symbols that identified the statues, like Asclepius here with the snake.

So much of the museum I had already seen pictures of in books, sometimes years ago, so it was strange to recognise so much in a place I’d never been.

Greece is a Schengen Area country, and I left on the last possible day I was allowed to be there.

I really enjoyed my time in Greece. Thessaloniki and Athens were overwhelming with how much there was to see and do, there’s just an incredible amount of history here. I was happiest in Kalabaka and Delphi, which were quieter than the bigger cities but no less impressive. 

My next stop is the island nation of Cyprus, and my final European destination.

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