Around Ancient Greece (5 Mar and 10 Mar)

Following the mega trip in the countryside, the plan for Sunday was a more leisurely trip around Athens taking in the standard tourist sites, on foot. It was a glorious blue-sky but cool day.

I headed out from the hotel down past the birthplace of the modern Olympics (Panathenaic Stadium) and then to the complex containing the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Arch of Hadrian. Being the nervous tourist, I was a bit worried when it seemed you didn’t need to pay to enter the gated/fenced area. I was to find out why later.

The Acropolis dominates from everywhere around central Athens – every time you turn around it’s staring down at you.

From here it was across the road and down some back streets to the Acropolis Museum. This is a modern museum built in the shadow of the Acropolis with many artifacts preserved. It’s built on many ruins, so in places you look down and realise you’re on a glass floor with ancient walls meters below. Apparently you’re not allowed to take photo’s in some parts.

From here is was up the Acropolis. I didn’t have to pay here either. Seems that on the first Sunday of the month all the sites are free. That would explain why it was wall-to-wall locals. I passed the Theatre of Dionysus and continued up the hill to the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a very impressive theatre.

There’s a slight logistical problem in accessing the sites on top of the Acropolis – there’s only one single way on to the top of the hill. There were thousands of people trying to get through a small entrance two-people wide – it took ages. The top of the Acropolis is like some large garden supplies yard with building rubble everywhere and giant cranes covering the Parthenon. Still it was worth the effort, and crowds. The view out over Athens is amazing, and if you work at it you can get a photo without scaffolding or cranes.

From here it was back down the hill (over half an hour to get off the hill). Across from the Acropolis (south-west) is a small hill that gives amazing views back to the Acropolis. I returned there on the Friday evening. I was hoping to see the Temple of Hephaestus, but it closed at 3pm (and the lady was pretty insistent of me not entering at 2:50). So I wandered back to the hotel.

The following Friday evening (10 Mar) I headed back with camera and tripod hoping to get some reasonable evening shots. I started with the area around the Acropolis.

I couldn’t wait for sunset, so I wandered around the popular shopping district and around the catholic cathedral, with lots of little greek orthodox churches in the most interesting places (like in the middle of the main shopping mall).

This was one of my favourite shots, the cathedral seen from one of the little laneways. I finished the evening with a few shots of the Aropolis lit up at night. After the cathedral I was tempted to head back to the hotel, but decided to try exploring a few back alleys and found some interesting spots.

All the Athens photos can be found at: