I recently traveled to Athens with my family for holidays. It was definitely a thrilling experience and we truly enjoyed every moment of our week long stay there. We landed in Athens on a fine day with the mid-morning sun up although the temperatures were low for us coming from Nairobi, Kenya. Our pick-up van was already waiting at the airport, and the driver was very polite and friendly although he drove us to the wrong hotel but we laughed it off. He appeared embarrassed but we encouraged him not to worry. "Hakuna Matata" we told him, which means "No problem" loosely translated from Swahili.
Our visit to the Parthenon Temple and the Acropolis Museum was perhaps the highlight of this trip. We started off early in the morning arriving about 10.00hrs but found long queues already the order of the day. It took us about an hour to finally climb some stairs to get up to the Parthenon. What a site! the site of the Parthenon Temple was simply magnificent even though all the tear and wear and the ravages of past centuries showed all over it. It must have looked awesome when brand new! I witnessed ongoing restoration works to try and restore the temple's previous character. The Parthenon we learnt was built over 2,500 years ago at the height of the ancient Greek Empire and it took a massive 40 years to build!
Shockingly I also learned, and some architectural students or professionals may also be surprised that the temple contains no straight lines and no right angles! Talk of defying set rules! So it is also estimated that the current estimate of cost of building the temple is approximately USD 7 million. No wonder the temple is commonly referred to as the jewel of Athens!
We later walked down to the Acropolis Museum which was an architectural masterpiece. The Acropolis Museum has a total area of 25,000 square meters. The guided walk through the galleries viewing the majestic statues’ with their crisp, saturated colors, on bright garments and tender bodies, combined with the rich jewelry, and elaborately curled hair created an amazing aesthetic pleasure, making the archaic statues truly awesome. What struck me as strange was the broken noses on a number of the statues. We took a lunch break at a restaurant and then went back to the hotel.
The following morning after breakfast we walked up to the top of the steep Lycabettus Hill and enjoyed the 360 degrees breathtaking panoramic views of Athens City. This we were told is the highest point in the centre of Athens. We took a quick look inside the Chapel of St. George. Its a tiny place. The air is quite thin here and even though the sun was out, the biting chill was stubborn. We had some drinks and after about 2 or so hours we took the furnicular tramway all the way to the ground and walked back to the hotel.
We also had time to visit the Panathenaic Stadium which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympics in 1896, as well the popular Change of Guard at the Syntagma Square and watched the official changing of the guards. This a military unit whose members stand proudly in perfect stillness in front of the Hellenic Parliament usually on Sundays in front of scores of people.
Athens was truly fantastic and I highly recommend you add it to your bucketlist if you haven't been there!