Greece

weekly photo challenge: reward

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Back in 2006, we worked over 60 hours per week (for 6-months) so we could afford a 4-month trip around Europe. Every time, we travel – the experiences we have are our rewards for all the hard work leading up to make it happen.

One of our earliest memories of that Europe trip was witnessing a Santorini sunset – famous for a reason 🙂

What photo would you share to show reward? See other people’s interpretations here.

Happy weekend everyone!

And as always, feel free to leave us your thoughts.
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acropolis: our first unesco heritage site

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Reaching the Acropolis involved walking up an unsealed ramp with rather steep inclines. We had just come off a 30-odd hour flight from Sydney and we were exhausted but the adrenaline kicked in as we caught glimpses of the Acropolis. The intention was not to visit it straight away but seeing it there, high in the sky, we were compelled to visit. Thus became the first UNESCO Heritage Site we have ever visited together. And it just took our breath away. Getting to the top did not disappoint except maybe the throngs of other travelers there. What we saw was so surreal – walking amongst so much history – so much Greek history that we had learnt about in high school.

The Acropolis of Athens is situated on a flat-topped rock approximately 156 metres above Athens and covers about 3 hectares. It was around the 5th century BCE that the most important buildings were built such as the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion.

The Parthenon is probably the most well-known piece of architecture within the Acropolis. It was the main temple dedicated to the goddess, Athena. Over the thousands year of its existence, it has acted as a Roman Catholic church, a Greek Orthodox Christian church and an Islamic mosque. In the 19th century, the Parthenon lost some of its marble sections, which is now housed in the British Museum.

We look back on our photos from 2006 and with our really small memory card, we couldn’t take many photos but of the ones we took, these are worth sharing 🙂 We are SO inspired to visit Greece again and see even more of this country’s beauty and history!

Acropolis, Athens was listed as a UNESCO Heritage site in 1987.

To see the other UNESCO sites we have visited, visit our unofficial bucket list

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gyros (pronounced yeeros)

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W have NEVER eaten a “yeeros” (or correctly spelt: gyros) before, despite seeing those fast food shops all over Australia. But we probably made up for it living on the Greek Islands for the past 8 days. That was at least our lunch if not dinner every day 🙂 We also enjoyed eating lots of olives which again is something that we never really ate much of back home. Our taste buds were waking up and having their own culinary holiday.

Ios was the next island after Mykonos and honestly not really our thing! We were unfortunate enough to be sharing the hotel with a Contiki tour and without fail every morning at about 2 am to 3 am – a rowdy bunch would come home from their night out. That was not fun – what added to the “not fun” was also the fact that we had housekeeping mop the room and clean the bathroom while we were still in bed. Boy, that was weird! Actually, our entire experience on this island was weird! We had wasps chase us from breakfast, we ate at a Swedish restaurant one evening, we watched Ferris Bueller dubbed in Greek and the most weirdest of all, was when we were walking down the street one day, we had a little girl of about 4, run out and smack us square on our backsides!

Santorini sunset
Santorini sunset

Santorini on the other hand seemed perfect in comparison despite some random things. When we booked our hotel room, we had booked an ocean room and when we got to our bedroom, there was definitely no ocean view. There was a view of a barren fenced off garden, oh well! The bus ride to Oia was interesting, climbing up the side of the cliff on a road that can barely fit one car, let alone two buses travelling in opposite directions. Standing in the bus, looking out the window and down…. the road we were travelling on was not even visible – that was how close we were to the edge. This was all forgotten though by the time we witnessed a Santorini sunset, at least until we had to make our way back down alongside the cliff face!

View more photos of our trips at Photo Gallery.

does slice bread exist?

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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!

Looking up at Acropolis
Looking up at Acropolis

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.

Temple of Poseidon
Temple of Poseidon