Fall Vacation '18 (Part 4): Athens & Santorini
Updated: Jun 24, 2019
After two days being at sea, we were excited for our second stop in Piraeus (Athen's port). My dad was looking forward to this port the most to see the Acropolis. From being cold in Italy to getting rained on in Croatia, Greece greeted us with very warm weather.
We had a half day guided tour booked for Athens. Our first stop, Panathenaic Stadium, is home to modern Olympic Games. It is the world's only all marble stadium where the Olympic flame is passed to the next hosting country. It was a quick stop for pictures.
It was about a 10-15 minute ride from the Panathenaic Stadium to the Acropolis. On our way there, we passed by the Greek Parliament.
In the picture below is a closer look of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Evzone Guards, conveniently located in front of the Parliament building, is considered the center of Athens' modern history. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a carving of an Unknown Soldier with a cross and tomb underneath. On either sides of the tomb are names of Greek military battles. Evzone guards are Greek army's elite infantry unit that stands guarding the tomb and changes guards every top of the hour.
Arch of Hadrian and Temple of Olympian Zeus, an arch that divides the ancient city and Hardian's (Roman Emperor) new "Roman" city.
Once parked at the base of the Acropolis, we made our way up to the summit and passed by the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a 5,000 seat amphitheater that is still in operation today (I read that in my Tower of Terror voice).
The Acropolis, "high city" in Greek, is the heart of Athens and the most influential site in the Western world. On top of the Acropolis are four major monuments: Parthenon, Erechtheion, Propylaea, and Temple of Athena Nike.
*drumroll* The view we have all been waiting for.
The Parthenon was once served as a temple for the cult of Virgin Athena and as the treasury of Athens. It is considered the most finest temple in the ancient world, and the monument is full of optical illusions.
The Erectheion, a temple dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon, is one of the oldest sites on the Acropolis as it was the Mycenaeans' palace in 1400 B.C.
Making our way back through the Propylaea.
Pictures of the city as we were passing through taken by my dad.
This was a restaurant at our port. The gyro may look average but was super delicious!
Our 2nd port in Greece was the beautiful, picturesque Thira, but most popularly known as Santorini. Santorini sits on a collapsed volcanic crater that is a thousand feet above sea level. To get to the top, there are three options: a 3-minute ride via cable car (which we did), hike the 587 steps, or ride a donkey. We were very fortunate this day as our ship was the only one docked, otherwise we would've had to wait much longer for the cable cars.
Fira is the island's main town. We didn't spend much time here, but it was a good introduction to what beauty we were going to see the rest of the day.
For this port, we decided not to do any guided tours and explore Santorini on own.
To get to what Santorini is known for, we hopped on a taxi to Oia. Here is the beautiful and picturesque whitewashed homes and blue domes. Several reasons why the houses are white: white reflects the heat of the sun, good antiseptic as mineral lime gets mixed with water creating white, and during Ottoman period, Greeks were banned from flying their blue-and-white flag, therefore this town showed unapologetic patriotism.
More pictures of us exploring and my obsession with doors.
Before heading back to Fira and the cruise, Nick stopped by Nikos Place Gril House and oh my goodness.
Their gyros are to die for. So delicious that Nick even had a little buddy come over to him.
Athens was fun to visit, but it wasn't my top three favorite. My mom wasn't impressed with how dirty Athens was, but like any major city, there is going to be traffic, smog, graffiti, etc. I still had fun, and I am glad we were able to see the Acropolis in person.
Santorini was one of my top three favorite cities of this trip. Funny enough is that Nick thought it was "snowing" on the cliff when we went out on the balcony, he later found out it wasn't snow and that it was actually very hot. Santorini is definitely one of those places that I will always dream of going back again and again.
As far as Greek food? The best, I still daydream about the gyros. (Sorry Italy, your carbonara and pizza was plain and disgusting)
As always, thanks for following along! Next post will be the last of our "Fall Vacation '18 blogs" and we will be visiting the Amalfi Coast and returning back to Rome.
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