Athens was the start of our trip. We flew 13 hours with a small layover in Amsterdam. All in total we were awake for 27 hours but we got our second wind when we landed in the gorgeous city of Athens!
Unfortunately, our time in Athens was very short. We had heard from many people that you could see Athens in one day. I somewhat disagree with this! It would have been good to have maybe two whole days to experience different sides of Athens. However, the views were breathtaking!
Step 1: Get me to a Greek bed
We stayed at the Athens Choice Hotel/Hostel in a private room. The interior of the building was very well kept and modern. However, we found the location to be a little bit surprising. As we walked up to our hostel there were two drunk men getting ready to get into a fist fight and a shop owner peeing down the alley beside his shop. It’s these little quirks that make you giggle when you think back to your experience.
Due to the location being a little bit sketchy, we opted out of experiencing Athens at night – that and also the fact that we had to wake up at 2am to make our way to the airport.
Beating jet lag was a success
Our first day, we were up early (sans jet lag, hooray!) and went for the free breakfast provided by the hotel. Mmmm it was delicious! Who else can’t get enough Greek Salad for breakfast?! Briskly after that we were on our way to the infamous Acropolis site. We figured making it there first thing would be better before the hordes and hordes of Tourists show up.
Due to it being off season they offered two deals at a lower rate. 10 euros for the slope and top, then 3 euros for all sites. We decided we would go for the 30 euro deal because it’s as valid for 5 days – thinking we would be there again with our day off. However, the next day we realized that we wouldn’t have time as we had to rush to our train. We probably should have gone for the 10 euro deal so we didn’t have to rush to try to see all the sites we had paid for.
Get me to the Acropolis!
Visiting the Acropolis was absolutely fascinating. I will write more about the history in another post. Anyway, the fact that the marble is so perfect and smooth is curious and stunning. Currently, and for a while, it will be under restoration, so you can expect to hear the loud machinery noises and see scaffoldings around the site.
From here you can see stunning views of Athens. There are also many dogs who (I’m going to assume) live on the grounds, rather than the streets (fingers crossed). They are friendly and wander around with the tourists. There is so much to see in just those grounds alone. From all the slopes to the very top! We spent hours just goggling at the Parthenon and surrounding sites of the Acropolis.
Authentic Greek food is MUST
The food in Athens is to die for. For lunch we ended up going to a place in Monstraki Square called Grecos. They had Gyros for 2,90 Euro and they were so filling. They even had some vegetarian options thankfully! It works perfectly for those travelling on a budget like us! As I write this, my mouth is watering in memory of it.
24 hours and goodbye Athens
I had heard prior to leaving that Athens isn’t so safe at night. When we asked reception at our Hostel they had said instead of taking a taxi to the Syntagma Square to bus to the airport to just pay the extra for the taxi directly. This cost us 60 euros just there – ouch. Over budget day 2!
From Athens we were off to the beautiful island of Zakynthos.
PS. We did end back up in Athens on a few other occasions as this was our main hub to fly out of… so…
ATHENS: ROUND 2, our first hand scam experience
When we did go back for one night (we landed at 1am and the next flight didn’t leave until 5pm). So we ended up taking the metro back to the airport (before we took the taxi) since it was during the day.
Two kids, around 8 and 10, swarmed each side of us at the electronic machine. I noticed the one that covered the bill slot after I put the bill in – thinking the payment was processing. These kids are ninjas! The second kid came out of no where and cancelled our ticket purchase (on the screen) and went to grab the change. As I swatted his hand away and said “No!” he started screaming! While this happened, apparently they were so fast that the payment didn’t process and the 20 Euro bill popped back out. The kid covering the slot then started running away shouting at the other kid as he then took off too. In the end, I hope those kids had a good meal with that!
It did, unfortunately, leave a bad taste in our mouths about Athens in the end.