My Trip To Greece - Part 3

The next day of my trip to Greece, we decided to go to Lavrio/Laurium - Greece, to just relax in a cool villa, near to the beach and to (possibly) look at the 'Temple Of Poseidon' at Sounion (which is near to Lavrio). Lavrio is around 54 kms from Athens. There was a Mercedes taxi ready for me in front of the hotel (at 9 AM), since I had some smalltime work there. After we set off from Athens, it took us a bit more than an hour to get to Lavrio (as Athens is big and also the traffic isn't very organised). Here's a video that I shot when we went to Lavrio, on the Greek motorway (maybe a bit boring):

After that, we reached Lavrio and got dropped off the taxi. Later, we walked around that small town of Lavrio and looked around a bit. This place is nothing special, but its relaxing, not-so-touristic and off from the hustle and bustle of Athens. Lavrio/Laurium also has a sea port, which is small and not as bigtime as the Piraeus port in Athens. Also, some of the areas around Lavrio are said to be expensive and some of the rich Athenians use the villas around this place to get away from Athens and spend some quality time. One more important thing is that the 'Temple Of Poseidon' is close to Lavrio, in a place called 'Sounion'. Here are some pics from Lavrio:

It was pretty hot that day. So, we didn't try to walk more, but stopped by a restaurant and had our lunch. Later, we went to the villa and checked in. This villa was on a hilly part, around Lavrio and close to the beach. It looked like a tropical paradise and had pretty serene and peaceful suroundings. So, it looked like a ideal getaway to relax and do nothing, in particular. Here are some pics of the villa and its surroundings:

After relaxing for a couple of hours, we headed towards that small beach through that hilly part. There were a couple of walking trails to the beach. So, we took some random path to get to that small beach. Here are some pics that I shot on the way to that small beach:

We reached that beach in a couple of minutes and looked around for some good point to hang around that place. This beach being so close to the hilly landscape is not a sandy beach, but the water was pretty clear and the surroundings were not much disturbed. Here are some pics from that beach and its surroundings:

From this point, you can also view the 'Temple Of Poseidon', which is around a couple of kilometres from that place. The 'Temple Of Poseidon' was constructed in 440 BC, over the ruins of a temple, dating from Archaic period. This site is also a popular day trip for people from Athens.Also, viewing the sunset over the 'Aegean sea' from the ruins of this temple, is said to be something special. Here's a pic of 'Temple Of Poseidon' that I shot from that beach (It aint that clear, but posting it anyways):

After that, we sat by the beach and just relaxed. I also spoke to a guy from Athens, who was around that place, getting his Scuba apparatus ready to dive into the water. Later, we had a dip in the 'Aegean Sea' and headed back to the villa and relaxed for the rest of the day. The next day, I got my work done and later (in the noon), headed back home.

My Trip To Greece - Part 2

(Continued from Part 1)

The next day of my trip to Greece, I thought of looking around some other main parts of Athens, which are scattered in different regions of the city. I woke up a bit late that day, as I was exhausted from walking around the previous day. After wakin' up and doing other routine things, I took the metro train to the 'Syntagma' station, which is said to be one of the sophisticated areas of Athens and has this modern shopping stuff. I reached there in a couple of minutes and started walking around some streets. After walking around a bit, I sat in a cafe (as it looked relaxing and cosy to hang around that open air cafe) and had some typical Greek Coffee. After that, I did some window shopping and looked at some souvenir shops. This part of Athens is like any other modern shopping area in a big city, apart from some interesting things and with a bit of Greek flavor (obvioulsy). Here are some pics from that place:

I was walking around those streets and at some point, I could hear loud music and a bunch of people dancing around and approaching us. Later, I figured out that its the carnival time in Athens and was curious to look at those folks (as the music was stimulating my adrenaline, a bit). Here are some pics of the carnival (although smalltime) and some shops which were selling costumes for the carnival:

And here's a video from that carnival:

After looking around, I just walked ahead in a direction which leads to some main road. As I was approaching, I could see the 'Greek/Hellenic Parliament' building. It wasnt a majestic structure, but it's pretty old and played an important part in the history of politics. Here are some pics from around that place:

After that, I just walked towards the 'National Gardens', which is right beside the parliament building. This 'National Gardens' is something like a huge park in the middle of Athens. Also, because of of all the palm trees, warm climate and pleasant breeze, you feel like you are in some tropical paradise. Around these gardens, there is also this famous building, called 'Zappion'. This area is popular for Athenians to stroll and hang around, when the weather is nice. Here are some pics from around that place:

Across the street from Zappion is the 'Olympic Stadium (Panathenaikos Stadium)' rebuilt entirely of marble in 1896, for the first modern olympics. This stadium was originally built in 330 BC for the 'Panathenaic' contests. In the Roman period it is said that 1000 wild animals were slaughtered here to celebrate the inauguration of the Emperor Hadrian in 120 AD. Here are some pics:

After that, I headed back towards 'Zappion', as the 'Temple of Olympian Zeus' is around this place and in the direction of Plaka/Acropolis (from Zappion). This temple is said to be the largest of the ancient Greek temples, one of the first to be concieved and the last to be completed. Here are some pics of the 'Temple of Zeus' and its surroundings:

Nearby this temple, is the 'Arch of Hadrian', which was erected in 132 AD as a gate between the ancient city and the Roman city of Athens. Here's a pic of that arc:

And here's the view of 'Acropolis' from that place:

And here's a pic of this 'Temple of Zeus' from Acropolis (which I shot on the previous day of that trip):

After that, I walked into Plaka again and had lunch at some cosy restaurant in that old part of Athens. Later, I went to the nearest metro and took the train to 'Lykavettos/Lykabettus Hill', which is in some other part of the city. After reaching that area, we walked uphill till some point, from where they have this funicular to the top of 'Lykavettos Hill'. The area surrounding this 'Lykavettos Hill' is pretty nice and looks like a nice residential area. Here are some pics of that hill, that I shot on the previous day, from the top of 'Acropolis':

And here are some pics that I shot, when I walked uphill to reach the funicular:

'Lykavettos/Lykavittos/Lykabettos Hill' is the highest point in Athens and this is why, you can see this landmark from all parts of the city and its immediate surroundings. On top of it, there is a small whitewashed chapel of St.George and a cafe/restaurant. Also, from the top of this hill, one can have a panoramic view of the city. Here are some pics:

And here's a view of 'Acropolis' from the top of 'Lykavettos Hill':

And here's a video from the top of that hill:

After spending sometime looking around that place, we took the metro and headed back to the main metro station. I still had some time and patience for the day. So, I decided to go to one end station of Athens, called 'Piraeus', which is the main port for Athens and one of the most important on the mediterranean coast. From here, you can also buy a ferry ticket and cruise to the Greek islands like 'Crete', 'Rhodos', 'Santorini', et al. This place was also a bit crowded (like other parts of Athens), when compared to other cities in Europe. By the way, I heard that most of the Greece population lives in and around the Athens metropolitan region. Indeed, looking at all these places, I felt a bit like I was in India or any other similar country (because of climate, crowd, traffic and other things). Here are some pics of the train station at Piraeus and the Piraeus port:

That was it for this day. I then headed back to the hotel and slumbered the night away! :-)

Check for the next part of the trip, in a separate blog post.