Greeking Out Over Athens
Just started my Europe trip! First stop on my 6 week European tour is Athens, Greece. I landed in Athens from a layover in Newark, NJ, there I met up with a couple other travelers with the same group. My layover was super short. I had exactly one hour to get off the plane, change terminals, and find my new gate. An hour sounds like quite of bit of time, but it's definitely not considering when your plane lands you have to wait for everyone, in front of you, to get their carry-ons and get off the plane. For a moment, I felt like the family in Home Alone rushing to make this flight. Luckily, I did indeed make the flight with no delays! What a relief. I landed in Athens about 10:30 am where I met other fellow travelers. It was a beautiful day in Athens, sunny and 80°. In Athens, I wondered the streets, tried my first gyro, floated in the sea, hiked the Acropolis, and even toured the Olympic Stadium.
The hotel we stayed at in Athens was very nice. I highly recommend it. I stayed at Hotel Alexandros. Sometimes when I travel overseas one thing I always look for in a hotel or hostel is the wifi? Do they have it? I hate when places say they have free wifi and when you try to use it, it never loads. At that point, don't even say you have wifi. The place we stayed at in Athens had free wifi that loaded nicely. The rooms were clean, spacious, and they offer a complimentary breakfast. The staff were all very friendly and willing to help.
Part of traveling is trying new foods and traditions to really experience how the country and the people really live. When I travel I always love trying food native to the country. For example, trying a gyro in Greece. First off, it's pronounced YOUR-O. Don't order a gyro saying GY-RO. For those of you who don't know, a gyro is a flatbread, usually pita bread, made with slices of spiced meat (like lamb, pork, or chicken). It is very delicious. Something to try when you're in Greece.
One thing you for sure have to do when in Athens is climb to the Acropolis. I first started climbing it early in the morning on the first day in Athens. Let me say, the climb is NOT what you think it would be. I was thinking the climb would be like a hike. No, it's just some steps to walk up. You will need to purchase a ticket to climb to the Acropolis which is about 20£. From the Acropolis, you can see the Parthenon, Dionysus Theater, Athena’s Structure, and a breathtaking view of Greece, from the Mediterranean to the mountains. Words can't even describe how breathtaking the view is. So much history and a great view!
From there, I visited the Olympic Stadium in Athens which was where the first, yes I said first, Olympic games were held. When I first walked into the stadium, which was only 5£ to get in, I was so overwhelmed just thinking this is where the first Olympics took place in 776 B.C. At the back of the stadium in the very first row there were 2 special seats. Apparently these seats were for the king and queen to sit and watch the games. The stadium even has a cave\tunnel you can walk in where the athletes would enter from. In the cave there is also a gift shop where they have original Olympic torches that were used for old Olympics! The whole stadium is available to tour and walk through. You can even walk on the track. As I stood there I just imagined the Olympians entering through the tunnel, the crowds screaming and cheering. It took me back in time. I highly recommend this for everyone. There is a lot of history and they have original pictures hanging up around the stadium. For only 5£ you can see the first Olympic stadium and explore where they were first held.
Overall, very nice time in Athens! Next stop, off to stay and tour the Greek Island, Paros!