One day. Maybe one half day. In Athens. The cradle of Western civilization. We like short “highlight trips” in great places, but our quick six hours on flight-day ultimately proved hugely insufficient for conquering one of the world’s oldest cities. And hot. 102’ F in direct sunlight kind of hot. With a sweaty 2-year old in an ErgoBaby. A tad crazy, but lots of fun nonetheless.
We landed in the capital via ferry from Naxos on Saturday night and headed directly for our hotel – beautifully designed and conveniently located just under the glowing Acropolis. Arriving well after dark, we hurriedly climbed up to the rooftop deck to enjoy a late dinner snack and drink under one of the most impressive remnants of the ancient world before heading to our cozy beds. E stared in awe at the well-lit structures standing high above the city for a moment then quickly took to goofily rearranging lounge chairs and playing peek-a-boo with fellow gawkers attempting a classy evening in the shadows of an empire. We sat and sipped and pretended the rogue child wasn’t ours. Oops! Just kidding.
Sunday morning, we were up early and ready to conquer the vast city – it was almost unbelievable to see the reach of what I had previously misunderstood to be a large, but manageable town. The city stretched for miles with ancient ruins and world-renowned structures popping out in their well procured havens throughout the modern metropolis.
A steep hike up to the Acropolis uncovered the magnificent town center of ancient times, allowing us to imagine what life would be like running between temples and living in a world where gods and goddesses were reality rather than mind-bending stories from the past. Most amazing, however, I do think is the fact that with each new column being renovated, the science and archaeology worlds are rocked by the irreproducible construction of the olden days. Makes you wonder what legacies our era will leave for future generations to uncover – our construction, our stories, ourselves. Think they’ll laugh at our computers or declare us as ingenious as the ancient Greeks?!
Making a big loop home from the Acropolis, we took a slightly crowded and smoke-filled tour through the famous Flea Market followed by a beautiful stroll through the alleys of Monastiraki and Plaka neighborhoods. Escaping the afternoon heat became our main mission thereafter, so we settled on the National Archaeological Museum of Athens for an hour or two. Fascinating glimpses into the ancient ways of life and its influences served quite interesting for both young and old. We saw horsy statues and learned about the history and significance of those popular naked sculptures, gravestones and pottery through the time periods and left far more knowledgeable than when we entered.
A great deal was covered in such a short time, however, we have clearly learned that regardless of which area of Greece you’re in, there will never be enough time to explore all this amazing country has to offer. Our Greek vacation was a ravishing success and a must-see for all of our traveling friends!