Two days ago we ate a wonderful buffet provided to us by our hotel. The free buffet almost made up for the fact that our hotel charges for wifi…almost. After hitting up the local Starbucks we headed back to Syntagma Square where we hoped to wander by the Acropolis and see the Parthenon. We decided to travel off the beaten path and ended up in a terrifying and sketchy area. The sketchy thing about the area wasn’t the people it was the buildings, everything was decrepit suddenly the sidewalks were motorcycle lanes and everything smelt bad. Buildings were abandoned and covered in graffiti with stray cats and dogs everywhere. We hurried towards Monastiraki Square, (where we were yesterday) and decided to take the train to the Parthenon instead. In the midst of this decision we got approached by a beggar woman with flowers. She gave me a rose and told me I looked like Angelina Jolie (of all famous people in existence she is someone I do not look like) and told gavin he looked like George Clooney (when oddly Gavin looks more like Brad Pitt). The woman told me my rose was free then gave Gavin a rose to give to me. She then said that Gavin’s rose was not free to which we tried to give the roses back to her and she’s says, “I have a baby to feed, I have a baby to feed” we tried to give the roses back and she refuses to take them insisting that Gavin give her money to pay her. Gavin relented and gave her two euros. To which she says one more. So Gavin pulls out a handful of change and he tries to hand her one euro she then digs through the change in his hand and takes at least four more Euros…. Gavin and I were dumbstruck. We got swindled for at least 5 euros from a beggar…. This moment pretty much changed our outlook for the day. We almost ran back to our hotel with embarrassment over what had happened but changed our minds at went to the Acropolis anyway.
The Acropolis is famous ruins on the top of a hill. Unsure of how to even get to the ruins and also not particularily interested in the trek to the top of the hill We went to the Acropolis Museum instead. The Acropolis museum is the nicest place in Athens. There is no graffiti everything is modern, it appeared as if the government poured all of the money they had into this one building. The museum was a detailed look at what the Parthenon used to look like as well as how it was changed into a church and mosque over its 2,500 year history. While we enjoyed the museum we did not enjoy being kicked out at 4:45 because they planned to close at 5:00.
After the museum we tried to see how we would even get to Parthenon and saw a gate to the entrance. What is particular to this gate was that there was well over two dozen feral cats hanging around, I have never seen so many feral cats before in my entire life.
We went to dinner at a local restaurant then headed straight back to our hotel.
Yesterday we went back to the Acropolis to see the Parthenon. We were cocky and decided we didn’t need our jackets because the weather had been so nice. As we traveled we noticed everyone wearing down coats and giving us strange looks for wearing t shirts in 16 degree weather. Unfortunately for us as we climbed the Acropolis we got rained on. After the bit of rain we saw the Parthenon and got to see other sites on the hill too. Gavin tried some Greek coffee. It came in a small espresso cup and packed a punch, though was unfiltered so half the cup was just coffee grounds.
We are not pleased to be here another few days before our Contiki tour. This city really has nothing to offer other than the ruins and food and decently warm weather. Unless you are VERY interested in the ruins we suggest you don’t waste your time or money on coming to Athens (especially money it’s more expensive here than in Germany!). I can’t wait to leave Athens And see the Greek Islands. Santorini is supposed to be beautiful, and the others should be interesting. But Athens….not my cup of tea.
After three days in Athens our visit can best be described by the tourist information lady we spoke with: “You only need to spend two days in Athens, one for the Acropolis, one for the park. If you are here longer It’s good to take a bus and see else where.”