Myths and legends are my favourite type of stories growing up, I read about ancient Gods from Egypt, Greeks even Viking. Going to Greece is one of the things I always wanted to do, I am not sure why it took me this long to finally go. Athens was… how can I put it, unexpectedly reminds me a bit of Jakarta. Chaotic, lots of motorcycle, few beggars and buskers, obviously it is different because of it’s ancient monuments. For those who knows Indonesia some parts of it is a bit like Mangga Besar. Anyway, unlike Jakarta, Athens offers clean air, cheap food, hot and dry air, no malls, a lot more to see and monuments that are more than 2000 years old. The first temple we went to was build BC and completed in AD, Temple of Olympian Zeus, it was 3 euros to go in the complex or 12 Euros for this temple, Acropolis/Parthenon, Agora, Keraimikos Cemetery etc. It is free for students, don’t forget to bring your student card with you when you visit Athens, everything (visitors attraction) is free for you. I think it is really good value. Next is the Parthenon in Acropolis, which is on steep hill, very full of people, it made me wonder how can it withstand the wear and tear of the amount of people there. Plus they are only charging effectively 3 euros for the privilege. I think they could and should have charge more, to be able to afford the conservation and preservation of the site. Despite the fact that it has cranes poking out of them, Acropolis with Parthenon is an amazing site. Built in 438 BC, it has gone through the ages, changes, wars and millions of tourist feet. As Wikipedia say:
The Parthenon is an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy, western civilization and one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments
Anyway, it is a must see, you can find pictures of Parthenon everywhere but definitely not the same as being there and seeing it for yourself. This picture is of Erechtheion is on the side of Parthenon in Acropolis. If you look closely on the temple, there are statues that are acting as columns holding the roof of the temple, of ladies wearing draped clothing, they are called the Caryatids, this is the south porch you are looking at. In the 1800s Lord Elgin from the British Empire removed one of the column and one of the Caryatids of the East porch to decorate his mansion in Scotland. This sounds like a horrendous these days, it is just unimaginable why someone would do that. There is a legend that when Lord Elgin removed this Caryatid, the other five wailed in the night at the lost of their sister. You can read more about it here. Walking down the hill from Acropolis you will find yourself in Ancient Agora of Athens, in which stood the Temple of Hephaestus, the God of Metalworking and Craftsmanship. There were plenty to see in this Ancient Agora, ruins are everywhere. If you continue your walk to the outside of the confined area, you will find yourself in a market which is also interesting to see. We also went to the Acropolis museum, it was an impressive building and well done, but as far as a museum in Europe goes, this one is slightly boring. You are also not allowed to take any pictures in the inside. I still find this way of thinking for a museum is slightly backwards, I can understand a Gallery or a design museum, but a museum that mainly shows ancient artifacts, no. I think the Archaeological Museum of Athens had more collection and much more interesting. Here you can take pictures in most of the rooms. I took lots of pictures of the designs and drawings on their artifacts, but won’t bore you with that. Here is my favourite object, a tiny blue monkey from Egypt.
There are more to see of course in Athens, but here are my favourites:
Place to Eat
Gazi College Cafe, in Gazi. The place is so coool, offers good and cheap food. Where we sit there was a designed book shelf full of books, all in different subjects and languages.
Food and Drink
I would say the Greek Zuchini/courgette pie and for dessert Greek yogurth with honey and walnuts. And I drank a lot of their Cappucino Fredo, which is cold cappucino as you may have gathered. Greek coffee is different from italian coffee they are somewhat more tangy. They also offer cold espresso which I find very weird.
Place to visit
I would highly recommend going to Lycabettus Hill, just when it is near dusk. To go there you have to climb a steep hill, a couple sets of stairs and a funicular. The funicular is every 30 minutes, it cost 7 euros, which is probably the most expensive attraction in Athens that we have been to, but it is worth it. So many times in this blog I say that photos just doesn’t do justice to some of the places I have been. But it was brilliant. There is a little cafe, not the restaurant, but the cafe that serves dinner and yogurth for a reasonable price. We had a starter, moussaka, and a glass of wine for 12 Euros, you can sit by glass windows and see the view of night time Athens, very romantic. Mythologically, Lycabettus is credited to Athena, who created it when she dropped a mountain she had been carrying from Pallene for the construction of the Acropolis after the box holding Erichthonius was opened.