March 30, 2016: Athens and the Temple of Zeus

Day two of our two day stop off in Athens, Greece.  We saw the Acropolis yesterday so today we get to see the next things on our list.  We decided that today would be a museum and the Temple of Zeus, those are our big ticket items not to be missed.

We were up but not as early as we had expected.  We must be tired.  We set out to get waffles for breakfast but it turns out that no one had been paying attention yesterday and was not aware that Greek waffles involve ice cream and no one wanted that – I guess that I always assume that people are paying more attention as we had seen a lot of waffle places yesterday.

We ended up just going back to the same coffee and sandwich shop that the girls had loved yesterday.  They got the same sandwiches as yesterday and additionally Dominica and I got veggie burgers.

From there it was up the hill to the New Acropolis Museum which is at Stop 3 on the City SightSeeing bus tour schedule and nearest to our hotel at the Marble House.  This made things easy and from all of our research this was the museum to see.  Athens has many but this one routinely gets ranked the most important to see and in the top in the world.  We really did not want to miss this one.

The museum ended up being totally awesome.  It is a collection of the artefacts found in the New Acropolis when they was excavated and is really well done.  It is laid out quite well and easy to get around.  The had a “find the Athenas” game that the girls played that kept them engaged for the entire time that we were in the museum.  It is not a tremendously large museum so it only took around two hours to see.

We had a very nice time and are quite glad that we chose the New Acropolis Museum over some other choices in Athens.  This was a great use of our time.  We hit the gift shop and found some cool books.  It makes us sad that we cannot have a place to store memorabilia from places that we visit because that would be so nice.  We always find a little something that we would like to keep.  Here it was mostly books, but there were many that we would like to have had.

After the museum we caught the City SightSeeing bus again, they do a buy one get one day free thing that works out great, so we were able to use them as transportation around the city.  Next stop: the Temple of Zeus.

The Temple of Zeus is just huge.  It is a site down below the Acropolis in the main part of the city.   The site is not in the same kind of shape as the Acropolis is, but there are still some columns standing and some on the ground.  You can get a good sense for how big the original temple was and it is incredibly impressive.  We walked around, took some pictures but Luciana was getting ready to be done for the day so we had to move quickly.

Instead of taking the bus again we walked through the main city park which was pleasant and fast to get to the parliament building as the last thing that we wanted to see before calling it a day (and a trip to Athens) was the famous changing of the ceremonial guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier which we have seen on Rick Steves’ Europe many times.  On the walk we were able to stop and get some street food, some muffins and popcorns, to keep Dominica and the girls going.

We timed the walk well so that we arrived in time to beat the crowd, get a picture of the girls with one of the soldiers and be ready for the changing ceremony which happens each hour, on the hour, and lasts for about fifteen minutes.

From the guard we walked back to the nearest bus stop and caught the city tour bus again which took us back up to the New Acropolis Museum so that we could walk back to our hotel.  We decided that we would eat on the way back as we knew that once we were into the Marble House that we were going to be down for the night.  No one was going to walk to go back out again and our plan was to be asleep very early as tomorrow we have a very early tomorrow with our taxi coming to get us as a quarter after five in the morning which means that we are getting up at four in the morning!  That is going to be tough.  Early mornings with a lot to do are never fun.  So tonight needs to be early and relaxing.

The bus dropped us off and we walked nearly all of the way back to the hotel and decided to explore the pedestrian area near the hotel to see what we could find there.  We came up with a few options but Dominica was feeling like seafood so we went to Skoumbri and sat outside on the pedestrian way and ordered dinner.

At Skoumbri Luciana opted, of course, for calamari frito.  Dominica was brave and got cuttlefish on orzo which turned out to be black as it was prepared in cuttlefish ink which was a bit much for her.  Liesl went for grilled sea bass and I had a wonderful salmon penne in cream sauce.

Dinner was good and then it was back to the Marble House for us.  The girls watched YouTube on their Kindle Fires and Dominica read a book.  I went out for a walk for about an hour in the hope of finding gelato, but there was none to be found.  But it was a nice walk and I got to see a little more of the city on our last evening.

Bed early, probably around ten.  Going to be a very short night.  Our flight is at eight thirty tomorrow and we are due to land in Bucharest at ten.  On to our next adventure, today is the end of Greece.  Tomorrow… Romania and Transylvania.