Athens. The final stop on our Mediterranean cruise and first European adventure. I loved every single place that we visited but Athens has a really strong hold on my heart.
We were able to disembark from the ship between 7:00-8:00 AM, which gave us lots of time to explore. We took a cab to the Athens Gate Hotel, where we were staying for the night. It was way too early for check-in but they happily took our luggage and safely locked it away. This hotel was the most perfect spot I could have picked. It had a rooftop bar and restaurant, where you could see monuments from both sides. http://www.athensgate.gr/
Now we were on our adventure to see the monuments! You can start at any of them and buy a ticket for all so it’s very easy and convenient. First stop was the Theatre of Dionysus. Like I said in my Rome post, it’s incredible to see how old these places are! Growing up in America, it is difficult to wrap your mind around it.
Our next stop was the Parthenon. Up until this point, I had only seen the replica building in Nashville, TN. It was beautiful to see in person and amazing to think that humans were able to construct such an elaborate structure all those years ago.
After the Parthenon, we went to Ancient Agora of Athens. Some ancient structures no longer exist here, but there will still be signs that explain the history of what once stood.
At this point, I was hungry (per usual). We went to a tiny hole-in-the-wall called O Kostas, not to be confused with Kosta’s Souvlaki. You MUST stop here and order a €2 souvlaki… don’t change anything, just order it how they make it. Sorry if this grosses you out, but even my burps were incredible after eating here! Cameron was a little embarrassed when I shouted that fact, but it was the truth!! Even local men who eat there often were proclaiming how amazing it was as they were walking out and taking their first bite.
As we walked and ate, we headed for the National Garden for a stroll. On the way there we were lucky to catch the changing of the guards at Syntagma Square.
After a stroll through the park we made our way back toward the hotel and stopped to see the Arch of Hadrian, the Temple of Olympian Zues, and the Panathenaic Stadium.
We knew by this point that it was plenty late enough to check-in to the hotel so we went back to rest a bit and get ready for dinner. Anywhere that you choose to eat will be delicious and very authentic. Our server was great and talked us into ordering a few things we wouldn’t have on our own and they were fantastic! I recommend the grilled feta.
After dinner, we walked around to buy souvenirs for our family. As with any place that you travel, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Cameron is always so impressed with the fact that I can get any price lowered, but I promise it’s easier than it looks. The worst they can say is no!
After shopping, we went back to the hotel to end our adventure with drinks at the rooftop bar. This trip, and all of the experiences that came with it, is something that I will cherish forever.