So, Jon quasi surprised me with a trip to Athens, Greece for my 30th birthday.
It was a quick trip but we made the most of our time there.
Our Hotel was amazing and the company wasn’t bad either!
First ever Goldfish… she loved them!!!
Athens will tucker a little one out!
The next morning it was off to Sunion and the Temple of Poseidon with our driver, Konstantin. Konstantin is a native Athenian and was a wealth of knowledge. He used to be a Middle school music teacher, but Greece doesn’t pay their teachers very much (less than 1000euros a month) so he took over his father’s taxi company after he passed away.
The Temple of Poseidon is known for its amazing sunsets but with a baby, we opted for a morning trip instead… well, we had the place to ourselves… and it was awesome!
That night we got a babysitter for the first time in a foreign country… her name was Stella and she didn’t speak any English, but Leighton LOVED her! Our munchkin actually loved her so much that she played with her until 11pm when Jon and I got home… if you are keeping track it is 1AM Dubai time!
We started the night with drinks at The Alexander Bar, apparently voted one of the best hotel bars in the world.
Then it was off to dinner at Strofi and it was phenomenal! Ouzo, fried feta with honey and sesame seeds, smoked eggplant, pork and wine… how could you go wrong?!?
The next morning, we took a walking tour of Athens with George from Free walking Tours of Athens… Leave it to Jon to find a “free” tour. George walked us all around the city, showed us a ton, and shared a great deal of knowledge!
Olympic Stadium….it was the stadium for the first ever modern Olympics in 1896, the starting point of the 2004 games, and the finish line at the 2010 Athens Marathon which commemorated 2500 years since the first runner ran from Marathon to Athens (26.2 miles) to tell of a battle won… and then dropped dead of exhaustion mind you.
The stairs Saint Paul stood on top of to spread the word…
The arch the Roman ruler, Hadrian built for the Athenians showing the old style of architecture (Greek on top) and the new (Roman on the bottom). Hadrian spent more time in Greece than any other Roman ruler… he was a Hellenophile and enjoyed all things Greek.
It’s hard business being carried around all day!
Every Sunday the Greek Army has a parade in traditional outfits that ends at the Parliament. I was amazed at how tall all the men were… George told us that you have to be at least 6’1” to be considered for that branch.
After leaving the walking tour, we headed up to the Acropolis to see the Parthenon. They are in the process of trying to rebuild the Acropolis and they are adding new marble to replace the sections that have been lost.
George told us that the Ottomans kept their gunpowder supply in the Parthenon…. Well they were in a battle with the Venetians once and when they fired up the hill, they blew apart the Parthenon… genius right?
There are 4.5+ million people that live in Athens… that’s a lot of people is a little space!
One of these ladies is in a London Museum and is a very sore subject for the Greek people.
The next day we walked around the Ancient Agora and checked out all it had to offer…
Themis… trying to get Leighton ready to be a Zeta Lady!
And the last stop was Syntagma Square and the Parliament again for Leighton to watch the changing of the guard.
She just couldn’t figure out why this big guy had pompoms on his shoes…
One thing that caught me off guard about Greece was all the dogs! And not starving, half alive street rats… these dogs are BIG dogs and well fed! I asked the doorman who owned these dogs, because they all have collars on and he said,” well, WE do… they are our dogs. They are the dogs of the Greek people!” Apparently a government van drives around and neuters and/or vaccinates the dogs yearly. Our hotel took care of two dogs... Babis and Gulekous! Gulekous’ owner was an old man who died a few years back and the people that moved into his apartment did not want the dog, so they put him out on the streets… the hotel took him in and now he has a place on the front steps of a five star hotel… not too shabby! And trust me, he is not hurting in the food department either!
The “RIOT” dog, as he has been named…
When we planned this trip we knew we were taking a chance with the debt talks going on, but we did our best to fit it in between important debt meetings… well, while we were there we saw a few protests… apparently our hotel is the place where the press stays to get great footage of Syntagma square and the protests/riots!
Smartest guy out there… selling Sesame Rings to the Protesters!
I am glad we left when we did though…
It is amazing when you actually stop and think about how old this place really is… how many people have stood and walked where I walked… it makes you feel really small, but fulfilled at the same time! Greece has been ruled by numerous empires, but always comes back to its original owners, the brain children of democracy. The Grecians are prideful and joyful and will get through this hurdle that lays in front of them now. Even with the debt cloud in the air, Jon and I had an amazing time in Greece! The people were so endearing and the food was…. Perfection! (I am surprised I did not turn into a giant block of feta!) Once again our CBE (coolest baby ever) lived up to her name… she makes it so easy that we might just have to plan another trip in the near future!