After the stop-over at Zurich (Switzerland/Schweiz) from Nuremberg (Germany), we took the flight to Athens (Greece), which flew over a bit of Italy, Croatia, Macedonia, et al and it took around 2 hours to reach that place. Greece is usually very hot in the summer and mild in the winter. At this time of the year, it is usually mild (or a bit hot), but we were anyways worried because, the last week, there was a surprise for Greek folks as it snowed and disrupted the normal life. It usually doesnt snow in Greece. So, it was surprising or a bit shocking news. I always wondered how countries with certain climatic conditions will cope up (in terms of infrastructure and other normal activities) when the nature shows its fury or the climatic conditions show abrupt change. So, this was an example, apart from the similar kind of thing that happened in China, recently.
The trip to Greece was for a couple of days and so, I had no plans for rushing up and looking around places. By the way, Greece is also under the 'European Union' and has 'Euro' as its currecy (although the cost of living is different from Germany or any other countries with good economy). Here are some pics that I took when the flight was about to land at Athens:
Greece is bordered by 'Aegean Sea' on the East, 'Sea Of Crete' on the South and 'Ionian Sea' on the West. The rest of the boundary is shared by Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria. In the above pics, I guess the sea that you see in the pics, is the 'Aegean Sea'.
The trip to Greece was particularly special because, the memories came flooding back from the childhood (when I was in school)..specially the history classes and all the names of famous Greek people like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, et al. Also, not to forget 'Troy', the famous 'Trojan War', Achilles, Paris and sundry other characters. The history of 'Troy' and 'Trojan War' belong to Greece although the location of Troy is said to be in Turkey (at the Greek border), in the present day. As for the history classes, I was always interested in reading history stuff, but not studying and remembering all those dates pertaining each and everything. But after travelling enough around Europe, I feel like stuffing a lot more info on all these things, as its interesting and a learning experience. Greece is also said to be the place, where the European history began (being one of the oldest civilizations).
Coming back to my trip details, we landed at Athens airport (which is nothing special) and took the metro to the main train station in Athens, which took us an hour, because the aiport is located outside the city (but in the Athens metropolitan region). After that, we checked into our respective rooms in the hotel and since I was tired and it was late anyways, I dozed off, looking forward for the next day.
The next day, we took the metro train from the nearest station to some old parts of Athens and walked around that place. There are some typical markets and shopping centres in/around some old parts of Athens. These markets somehow have some kind of aura (or maybe because its totally new and different for me) and was interesting to look at some souvenir shops, musical instruments, etc stuff. Also, with the narrow lanes and typical music, it somehow resembled a bit Arabic in style. Infact, there's a bit of influence from Arabic and African stuff, because its close to Arabic countries and Africa. Also, because of a lot of immigrants (legal and illegal) from those places. I also got to know that there are a lot of immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh (many of 'em being illegal immigrants, who came for greener pastures). After a bit of window-shopping and looking around, I bought a chess board with old Greek characters as players (So, Alexander's gonna be my Horse..haha). Here are some pics from that place:
Look at the Greek phrase, in the above pic. Greek is indeed Greek to me..haha.
After that, we went to the nearest metro and took the train to 'Monastiraki' station. This is one of the metro stations that I like in Athens, because of its location and the way it was built. Metro is relatively new in Athens, when compared to many other Metro's in Europe. I guess, it was actually completed just before the 2004 Olympics that happend in Athens, after 108 years gap (The first happenend in 1896). I heard/read that, while building the metro line and stations, a lot of archeological stuff was found. Of which, some are sent to the museums and some are displayed in metro stations. Here are some pics:
Around this 'Monastiraki' station is the old part of Athens, called 'Plaka'. As for me, this is the best part of Athens, because its a bit typical, old and has many open air cafes, old buildings and also, Acropolis is located around this place. We walked around a lot, through the narrow lanes of many old streets and arrived at the 'Mitropoli' cathedral. This is a old, Greek orthodox cathedral and the largest church in Athens. Here are some pics from around that place:
After that, we walked all around 'Plaka' and had our lunch at a good restaurant, which was located near the Acropolis. The restaurants in this part of Athens are cosy, relaxing and serve great Greek food. One thing that I noticed is that most of the food items in Greece or southern part of Europe (mediterranean) have Olive in some or the other form (as its available in abundance). Here are some pics that I shot from around that place:
After that, we headed towards Acropolis, got the entry tickets and started looking around differnt things that were showcased near the entry gate. Acropolis means 'High City/Sacred Rock'. The Acropolis of Athens is the best known acropolis in the world, although there are many other acropolis' in Greece. Many of the Acropolis' monuments or structures are in ruins, in the present day and some are being renovated. The main things that you can see at Acropolis are the Parthenon, Old Temple Of Athena, Temple of Athena Nike, Odeon Of Herodes, Theatre of Dionysus and sundry other things. Here are some pics:
After climbing up a bit, we reached the main entrance on top of that sacred rock, for the Parthenon and other temples. Also, you can have a great view of Athens from this point. Here's a video:
And here are some more pics:
After Parthenon, we walked along the edge of that Acropolis to have a view of Athens from different angles and also saw some other monuments/structures/temples. I dont wanna bug you folks by writing too much history, but here are some more pics:
Also, there's this interesting view of 'Lykabettus' hill from the Acropolis, that looks like a postcard picture. Lykabettus hill has a restaurant, a small church on top of it and around that place, is a posh residential area. Here are some great pics of Lykabettus hill from the Acropolis:
And some more pics from around that place:
After spending good time there, we went to the other side of Acropolis and saw some spacious place with some ruins, which is said to be a market place, in those ages. Around this place, there is one more temple and also a museum, which showcases different art and pottery from those ages. pics again:
After that, it was getting dark as we spent good number of hours around that place and so, we decided to walk all around the Acropolis and the old town - Plaka, again. Its so gorgeous around this place (specially in the evening) that we felt like spending more time there (Other parts of the city are very ordinary, apart from some other famous areas/landmarks). If you happen to see some of the streets around the Acropolis (in Plaka), you would be surprised to see so many cafes, restaurants, pubs and many other shops. Its probably because its one of the cosy, romantic, old and main part of Athens. Also, it offers great view of Acropolis (specially when its dark). This is where I shot one of the best pics of illuminated Acropolis, with a full moon in the background. Here it is (There's a bit of blur, but its still a great pic):
And some more pics from around the Acropolis (in Plaka):
That was it, for this day..Check the next part of this trip, in a different post. :-)