It was honeymoon time and the first stop on our trip (minus a layover in Hot-lanta), was Athens Greece! Originally, Athens was just a layover, and international airport on our trip to Santorini, but it seemed absolutely foolish to go all the way to Athens, and not spend any time in one of the more historic cities in the world. So we chose to stay at the Athens Gate Hotel, a nice modern hotel, with a prime location for a quick visit to Athens since it was right in the middle of all the sites you would want to see. From the rooftop bar, you could see all around the city, and the view of the Acropolis was stunning at first sight;
The coolest part of the hotel, is that it faces the great Temple of Zeus, which is directly across the street in the other direction. It made for quite the view from our room!
Fighting jet-lag, I woke up and rolled over to a great view of the temple, just as the dawn was breaking that first morning;
That day, we were off early to see some sights, and try to get a jump on the heat, which was supposed to be over 100 degrees. First stop of course was the Acropolis. I could bore you with a bunch of observations and discussions about the architecture and design on the buildings, but I'll just skip to the photos and let you do your own research. Here is a great "tour guide" though, to give a brief description of the history, and structures.
Going through the gates of the Acropolis is very cool in it's own right, and every time you are impressed by the size of one structure, the next is even larger. Then you come out on top, and are faced with the Parthenon;
The Erecthion, and it's "Porch of Maidens". A very cool site, until you read that the maidens have actually been replaced with copies, as several of the originals are in museums, and another one was stolen by some inbred English Lord and put into the British Museum.
You can look into the Theater of Herod Atticus below the Acropolis, which is still used today;
But cooler than that one, just down the way, is the Theater of Dionysious. It features some really cool stone seating and sculptures, and is a good half century older than the other one. Also supposedly the first of the stone theaters, and Jessica even gave us a quick performance while we were there;
After that, we took a short break, before heading off to the Temple of Zeus. While we had seen it from across the street, you really have to get up close to appreciate the massive size and complex Corinthian architecture of this temple. The columns are 55.5 feet tall, and though only a few remain, there were originally 104 of them!
We strolled our way through the National Gardens near the Temple, mostly for the shade, but also to check out all the different plants and trees that we weren't used to. We stopped to briefly check out the Zappion Building, but our main goal was the Olympic Stadium. Originally built in 330 BC, but then rebuilt in 1896 completely in marble for the first of the modern Olympics. It's truly an impressive stadium.
Still not done, we also made a trip through the Ancient Agora which looks mostly like a jumble of rocks, sculpture and monuments thrown into one area, but was really a busy neighborhood in ancient times. We checked out a lot of the sites, and wound through the museum there, but also climbed up to the Temple of Thission.
Of course, while we were in Athens, we took in a dinner with traditional food and entertainment, wandered the maze of streets and shops, watched the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and just plain wandered around town... when we weren't trying to catch up on sleep. Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the airport for our flight to Santorini!