Friday 12 September 2008

Welcome to Athens!

At the Athens Airport, we learned how to say "hello" in Greek (pronounced "ya-shoo"). I usually like to learn key phrases before traveling to a country, but with the busy summer (and still being jet-lagged from Australia), I figured I could pick it up in Athens.

Only 3.50euro for the bus, we made it to Athens Backpackers, the #1 rated hostel in Athens. Centrally located near the Acropolis and the Temple of Zeus, it was in a great location! After getting some ice cream (it was called, "Chocolate Orgy," no joke), we headed off to Hadrian's Gate and the Temple of Zeus.

My favorite part of Athens is that you have this world of history intermixed with modern day's technology. The juxtaposition and coexistence of the old and new can just blow one's mind!

The Arch of Hadrian and Odos Adrianou Street

Built in 131 A.D., the Arch of Hadrian serves as a gateway between the Acropolis and the Temple of Zeus. Legend has it that the Arch separates the Old World and the New World. On one side of the gate, the inscription reads, "This is the city of Theseus" and the other side reads, "This is the city of Hadrian and not of Theseus." Hmm...

Julia, my traveling companion, and me with Hadrian's Gate and the Acropolis in the background

We then headed off to the Temple of Zeus! Here you will find the images of Greece you have always imagined! The Temple of Olympian Zeus, as its names implies, was dedicated to the Greek God Zeus, and was renowned as the largest temple in Greece during Roman times. Construction began in 6th century BC, but was actually not completed until 650 years later! Unfortunately, a barbarian invasion pillaged the temple and materials were used to construct other building projects around the city, but the ruins remain intact enough to provide a great visit!

The glorious Temple of Zeus!

Afterwards, Julia and I headed off to the National Gardens to which there was a live band playing at the Zappeon. We were then able to check into our hostel to which they actually upgraded us to a studio apartment! Baller status!

Dancing in the National Gardens. Although they thought I was stealing the broom, they laughed once they saw the pose!

We continued our adventure to Parliament, the Olympic Stadium, and the Government House. At the National Archeological Museum, I enjoyed the Corinthian pottery, but was not too impressed wit hthe Neolithi pottery. The Pre-historic exhibit was just too small in my opinion.

Guard in front of the Parliament Building

In front of The Olympic Stadium

Dogs like this are frequently found passed out all over Athens. It's just so hot!

The National Archaeology Musuem

Back at our awesome hostel, we headed up to the Rooftop Bar! EVERYBODY in the hostel comes here for happy hour and then heads out to a night together. It's incredibly easy to meet people and you can find many solo travelers as well. Julia and I headed off to dinner leaving Lillie a note on the whiteboard.

The magnificent view of the Acropolis from the roof of Athens Backpackers Hostel

After superb advertising (walking next to people begging them with compliments to come to your restaurant), we at Vitro, an Italian restaurant with an active host named Apollo. Lillie showed up and our travel group was complete!

Apollo LOVED us! Eat at Vitro and sign a paper to put on the wall!

Being the first night, we took a short little night tour of the city and headed back to the hostel. Let's see what adventures await us!

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