Grecian Rendezvous

Earlier this fall, Tony learned he would be able to take a week of leave from his deployment.  While he was not allowed to come to the States, he basically was able to go anywhere else.  After much consideration, we settled on Athens, Greece.  My class was not over until mid-December, and so we planned to spend Christmas together.

 

A few random tidbits from our travels

-JFK airport SUCKS

-I am grateful to be short, and able to stretch my legs out on the plane (It was a 10 hour flight!)

-I stayed up all night long sitting in airports (JFK and Istanbul).  After so much time awake (about 26 hours both times), I think I reached delirium.

-We met up in the airport at Istanbul.  I arrived about 30 minutes before he did, and I sat at our gate anxiously looking for him.  It was quite romantic to see him coming through the sea of strangers’ faces.  We then flew into Athens together.

-After we landed in Athens, we were supposed to take the metro to the apartment we rented for the week.  The metro was closed, as the workers were on strike.  The Greek woman we asked about where the metro was said, “They are on strike. Welcome to Athens”.  This apparently is a common occurrence.

-We found the apartment through airbnb.com, and it is something we would definitely do again.  We experienced Athens more from a local’s perspective, instead of staying in a hotel room.

-Do not flush toilet paper!  There are signs most places, with a little trashcan next to the toilet to discard trash in.  How odd (and gross)!

-Everyone spoke English, and they were very friendly and helpful.  All of the signs were in Greek and English too.

-Mopeds were everywhere, and streets are filled with little cars, mopeds, and pedestrians.

 

From a tourist standpoint

We had an idea of things to see and places to go.  We were very relaxed about the trip though, not making any certain plans, and taking things as they came.  We walked around the city every day, stopping for an espresso or pastry, or to shop wherever.  I am normally a planner, but this spontaneous perspective made the trip much more enjoyable.  It was amazing to see the architectural marvels, some that were over 2300 years old, and to experience the Greek culture.  The city was a mixture of old and new.  We would be walking, and come across ruins or an old church in the middle of a normal city street or square (have I mentioned I LOVE old churches?!).  It was a memorable, fabulous trip.  All of the major Athens sites were within about a 15 minute walk from our apartment, including:

The Acropolis: (containing the Propylaia, the Erechtheion, the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, Aeropagus Hill, Odeon of Herodes Atticus) From almost anywhere in Athens, you could see the Acropolis on the hill.  It was a breathtaking view.  I loved the Erechtheion, with the “Porch of the Maidens”, 6 female figures acting as the columns. Aeropagus Hill was where the Apostle Paul preached to the Athenians.  We spent one entire day exploring all of these sites.

Keramikos

Temple of Olympian Zeus: This was built to honor Zeus.  The size of these enormous, marble columns (actually, all of the structures everywhere for that matter) was staggering.

Hadrian’s Arch and Hadrian’s Library

Theatre of Dionysus: This was an outdoor amphitheatre on the hill beside the Acropolis.

Zapion Congress Hall

Ancient Agora, and the Museum of the Athenian Agora: The Ancient Agora was the social, political, and cultural center of Athens.  It is said that Socrates, Plato, and the Apostle Paul spent time there.

Temple of Hephaestus: This was a mostly intact temple in the Ancient Agora.  Again, the massive size of the structure and that it had survived for so many years was amazing!

Roman Agora

The National Historical Museum

The National Archeological Museum:  This museum was incredible.  It is listed as one of the top 10 museums in the world!  We spent 2 hours there, but I could have easily spent twice as much time there.  All tourist sites close at 3pm for some reason.  But, when they say 3pm, they mean everyone out, lights out, locked up by before that time.  They started clearing out the museum at 2:30, so we were even more rushed.

 

Photos for you to enjoy (click on the photo to see it enlarged)

One of many squares throughout Athens

An old church

The Acropolis….I never tired of this view

Odeon of Herodes Atticus as viewed from standing on the Acropolis

Back of the Parthenon

Tony captured me admiring the view of Athens from the front of Propylaia

At the Acropolis

Look at the detail in the marble

Apostolou Pavlou (St. Paul’s Avenue) runs beside the Acropolis

At a small cafe, eating vine leaves and drinking a latte.  The food was amazing!

Tony at the cafe.  We enjoyed that there weren’t many chain restaurants.  Instead, they were small, family run businesses.

Gate of Athena Archegetis, constructed by donations from Julius Caeser and Augustus, located in the Roman Agora

Ruins of the Roman Agora

Us in the Roman Agora

What a stud

To put in perspective how massive these structures were, here I am sitting in the Theatre of Dionysus.  I look like a little ant!

Us

Temple of Olympian Zeus, with the Acropolis in the background

The National Archeological Museum

We took the Metro west to the city of Piraeus in an attempt to see a beautiful beach.  Our idea was a little naive as it was the largest port in Europe.

Us in Piraeus

I am so grateful that we were able to make this trip.  Spending a week with Tony definitely broke up the deployment, and was something to count down to.  We are more than halfway through the deployment, maybe even 2/3 through now!  It was great to spend a week with my husband, in a foreign city, with no cell phone to distract us from each other’s company.  I hope you all had a memorable Christmas as well!

    • C.C.
    • January 1st, 2013

    I got teary just looking at these. So amazing that not only you got to spend quality time together but that you were able to do it in an ancient city! Love you guys and I hope 2013 brings you endless blessings.

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