We made it to Athens earlier than scheduled, it was not long after dawn. With barely a good flight sleep, we were clearly running on adrenaline and made a bee-line for the train station after clearing immigration.
We knew we had to get to the centre of Athens but really had no idea where we were going so hopped on the train and hoped for the best. Arriving in the city, we walked aimlessly trying to find someone who knew where our hotel was: Parthenon Hotel. There were a few offers to help but we had to pay them first…. so we thought we could push on and luckily met a bus driver who pointed it out to us. Fortunately we were able to check in and freshen up. Because it was still very early, we headed out to seek breakfast!
After turning a corner, we looked up and there it was – Acropolis. We had barely been in Europe for a day and our jaw had already dropped. What a simply spectacular and surreal moment. Our curiosity to explore overtook our desire to eat and our grumbling tummies. It was the best time to visit because there were no crowds at that time of the morning. By the time, we finished exploring it was time to eat. We enjoyed an Acropolis Salad (which was a touristy name for a greek salad) for lunch on the rooftop of the restaurant. The sun was out, the sky was blue and it was HOT. We had escaped winter so this was bliss!
Then what followed was something quite extraordinary. We went searching for a supermarket to pick up some sliced bread. Now, remember we are relatively new to travelling so we weren’t expecting to be thrown curve balls so early on! As we walked, we kept our eyes peeled for something resembling a supermarket or a bakery or anything that might sell bread – with no luck. So we asked a shop owner who paused and thought long and hard before pointing towards his left. Eagerly, we thought we hit the jackpot until we walked for about 5 minutes and saw nothing useful. So we stopped and thought we would ask another shop owner and he then pointed around the corner. And before long, the process repeated itself with another 3 people.
We were beginning to feel like we were on the “case-of-the-non-existent-bread” WHEN we located two police officers in their patrol car. Police officers – they would have the answers! So we approached them gingerly and asked politely where we could buy bread or where we could find a supermarket. Well…. let’s just say the response we received was NOT what we expected. They both got out of their cars, holding their semi automatic weapons and began conversing in Greek, looking mighty serious. They were looking around as if in search of an assassin before pointing us in the direction we came from. By this stage, we had given up that slice bread existed in Greece! But the experience itself was worth remembering forever.
The rest of our time in Athens was incredible seeing the Ancient Agora, the Temple of Zeus and the Temple of Poseidon (out at Cape Sounion)! The city is simply soaked in history!!
View more photos of our trips at Photo Gallery.