As the last days of our time in Nicaragua faded we were looking at options on where to go next. I had seen enough of South and Central America that I wanted to see something different. We were thinking Spain or Portugal as they are generally cheap destinations – budget travel, remember? Our family meeting ended with general agreement to go to Greece (although one voted to go home – take a guess!) and what a smart decision it was! The only funny part was the cheapest airfare to get there was routing through Toronto so we spent three days in rainy/cold Toronto to replenish some necessities, meet up with my brother Don, and get ready for a long flight to Greece.
Taking the metro is pretty easy from the airport although it costs about the same as a taxi for a family of five. A single metro ticket from the airport is 10Euros for an adult and 5Euros for a child (up to the age of 18) so it was 35Euros one way. The only downside is the constant reminders to be vigilant of pickpockets. The ride was pretty straight forward from the airport to Monastiraki and then it was a second train to our apartment. The second train was really crowded but we made it no problem.
Our Apartment (okay we rented it)
We lucked out with VRBO and got a 2 bedroom penthouse apartment (8th floor) near the Agios Eleftherios metro stop.
First Dinner in Greece
The owner of the apartment and his property manager both recommended that we eat at Martini’s for traditional Greek food at a decent price. They were right, it was fabulous!
Walking into the Centre of Athens
The Temple of Zeus
Built over a 600 year period starting in 6th Century BC, the Temple of Zeus with 104 colossal columns, stands in ruins as one of the largest Greek temples ever created. Destroyed in the third century during a barbarian invasion and never repaired. Much of the stone work was re-used for other projects.
Located beside the Temple of Zeus the Arch is in honour of the Roman Emperor Hadrian who helped re-establish Athens as a major city in the 2nd Century AD.
The Gyro – Our GO TO food
We found a family restaurant called Smile that offers good food. The waitress was a very friendly woman with relatives in Toronto so she took a shine to us (okay to Ben) and they made amazing Gyro sandwiches. They were so good that it became our new staple food. Sort of like Tacos in Nicaragua.
The National Gardens
The Sentries at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider
The Academy of Athens
This modern academy was established in 1926 designed by Theophil Hanasen. The statues were made by Leenides Drosis. The original was founded in 387 by Plato.
A day of walking about Athens
The Ancient Agora
Built in 6th century BC the Agora is a place of commerce, gathering and learning. Much of the site remains in the heart of the city under the Acropolis.
End of the Day
Our days ended with a beautiful view of the sunset and a cold beer followed by dinner on the patio.