So you would think that the Parthenon is the highest point in Athens, but not so! No siree bob!
On my walking tour the other day the tour guide pointed out a church up on a hill, and told us that this was in fact the highest point in Athens. It’s a much smaller area, so they didn’t build the parthenon there, but they put up a nice little church. So naturally, I wanted to visit!
So this morning I got up, had breakfast and myself and a couple of friends went for a walk. First we went to some of the ruins nearby and toured through that (sadly, I forgot to bring my ticket from the parthenon which would have gotten me in for free, so I had to pay another 4 euro!) – it was very cool to see actually, this area was an old shopping centre kind of thing, consisted of four buildings including the most preserved one in Athens. We walked towards one of the other sites nearby, but it started to rain so we returned to the hostel for a little nap (traveling is tough work!!!).
A couple hours later, true to the weather forecast, it stopped raining so we jumped out again – thanks to a great suggestion we wound up at a little place around the corner that basically made us a homemade greek meal. It was quite yummy, and filling. Fuel for our journey!!!
Having no real idea where any of us were going, we set off for the church on the hill… it’s a church on a hill, how difficult could this possibly be to find?? Unfortunately Athens is full of tall buildings, so it’s not exactly an “open area”… we wandered in what we thought was the general direction (well the parthenon is that way… so… maybe to the left…), placing Zach in charge of directions as our fearless leader. We walked for about 20 minutes before we saw a statue pointing down a road, and took this as a divine sign to go “THAT WAY” (BTW – I learned that if a statue of a guy riding a horse has both hoofs on the ground, the guy was fine. One hoof – injured in battle. Two hoofs off the ground – died in battle. Your history lesson for the day. You are welcome!), and so we did… when we saw a hill/mountain sort of thing.
We climbed up that, and realized… this is way to small, can’t possibly be it, and oh yeah there’s no church. HOWEVER, from here, we could quite quickly (well it took us a minute or two, but we got it) and easily see the giant mountain with the church on top of it! And it was directly to our right! So we returned to the base, walked up the road a bit and tried to find the cable car that I was promised by our guide! He told me that there was a cable car that takes you right up to the top – makes sense, right?
WRONG! We could not find this thing for the life of us. But we had made it this far, so we climbed. And climbed. And kept going. And eventually – made it to the top (only a few stops and moaning, not too bad actually).
WOW WHAT A VIEW!
Absolutely beautiful – a better view than the parthenon. Just amazing. Totally worth the climb and then some – we were pretty impressed, and were more or less the only ones up there. It was such a nice feeling, turned out to be an awesome day – just worked out really, really well.
We spent about half an hour up there, went to the restaurant at the top, had a drink and found out from the waiter that there DID indeed exist a a cable car! Jokingly I said it must go right through the mountain, but no joke… 3 euro 50 later, we found a little tunnel where the cable car took us back down. It was pretty amusing.
So overall – a great time. That was the big event of the day, pretty tiring actually :P. By the time we got back we were all a little exhausted and took some “me time”, we were thinking about going up to the Parthenon to see it at sunset but it didn’t really work out. The rest of the night was spent relaxing for the most part, I grabbed a quick dinner at a burger place then went out to do some reading at a nice little sit down spot with some hot chocolate.
Currently making plans for tomorrow, three or four of us are going to take a day trip to one of the Greek Islands (Hydra) which should be really nice – there’s no motor vehicles, only horses/donkeys and apparently it’s a beautiful island to see. So I’m pretty excited for that – should be great! I believe there’s a couple of volcanos to see as well, and then we’ll be back in Athens around 7pm – it’s an hour and a half ferry. The weather is supposed to be pretty nice tomorrow too.
That’s more or less my Athens trip… Sunday I’m planning on leaving, right now I’m considering going to Santorini, another Greek Island, for a few days as it’s supposed to be absolutely beautiful as well, so we’ll see how that works out. And after that’s all said and done, I’ll be catching a flight to Rome!
And that’s it for tonight… I’ll probably hit up the bar upstairs for a bit, finish planning Hydra and hit the sack. Have a good night!! (or day…)