Modern Olympics in ancient Athens

Akropolis

House with high ceilings

After a couple of days in Santorini we where heading for the next stop – Athens.  We decided to take one of the night ferries from Santorini to Athens, which wasn’t the best of experiences. When booking the tickets from home, I remembered my backpacker days in my youth when I was boat hopping in the Greece archipelago as a fun and pleasant memory.

With the experience I had from this trip I wouldn’t do it again, to be fair, this was a night trip without a cabin. We shared space with all other locals in a closed restaurant. People was smoking inside and children was playing loudly and the draft from the constantly unclosed door gave me a terrible headache. Of course, a day trip in the sun is something totally different compared with this experience.

 Athena Parthenos

Anyway, after the boat trip from hell we finally arrived Piraeus, the port of Athens. Jumped on to the metro with direction of Athens city centre and the metro station Monastiraki where our hotel 360 Degrees was located. We should only stay for one night and decided to go for a kind of backpacker hotel, mainly because of the price and where it was situated.Find more hotels at Booking.com

We left our backpacks in our hotel and walked slowly all the way up to Acropolis and the mighty Parthenon. Just so You know, it might get both crowded and hot up there, so don’t forget a bottle of water, your camera and bunch of patience, but it’s totally worth it.

Odeon theatre

In addition to Parthenon, the main building (or what’s left of it) You will see many ancient buildings and constructions. From Acropolis You will have a magnificent view over Athens and the surrounding. Just after You enter Acropolis You will see Odeon theatre which is still in use for musical events. The theatre of Dionysius which was a major open-air theatre who could take up to 17000 people.

 

AcropolisIn the distance You can get a glimpse of the Panathenaic stadium that was built already back in 330 BC. The stadium has been rebuilt several times since then, lately for the Olympic games back in 1896 and in more recent time 2004. Another name for the stadium is Kallimarmaro that means beautifully marbled. Reason for that name is that the stadium is entirely built-in white marble, a must see. Fun fact: If a “modern” sprinter would to run on Kallimarmaros tracks, they would very likely be thrown out due to the centrifugal force of the sharp curves. That’s why they couldent use it as a running arena at the Olympic games in 2004.

Now turn your head slightly to left and You will see Lycabettus Hill, another must visit for the trip. The view from Lycabettus Hill over Acropolis and Athens is just amazing. There are several ways to reach the top of Lycabettus Hill. Cab, walking, my suggestion is the Teleferik or cable car which easily takes You to the top and back.

Lycabettus Hill

I mention that the Greeks renovated the stadium for the Olympics games in 2004. It was not the only thing they renovated. Many new roads were built and even the metro got a major refresh. When they went through renovation of the metros they found many ancient sites underground that they really wanted to use in some way. When You enter the metro You will see some on site exhibition that are just stunning, so don’t just run through and jump on the metro, You can take the next one. Hey, You are not on your way to work.

Syntagma square and the Greek Parliament

Our last stop was Syntagma square and the Greek Parliament, both in walking distance from our hotel. After two very exciting days in Athens we went to the airport and our next stop, Crete.

 


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