Monday, November 28, 2011

A Walk Through Athens

I recently returned from a trip to Greece; I had 3 major destinations: ATHENS, CRETE, AND SANTORINI.
It really was a "trip of a lifetime" and for a couple of reasons this trip almost didn't happen,
but it happened, oh yes!
Beware: enormous amount of pictures ahead.

The obvious, myself at my hometown airport showing off my ticket.

I love international flights, they are so comfortable, and I like watching all the movies!
In flight:
Midnight in Paris (amazing)
Larry Crowne (lame)
The Tourist (good)
Planet of The Apes (just ok)

Having a little lay over in Paris never hurts:)

 I could not get in that line quick enough in the Paris airport for a cappuccino and a croissant.
Oh ya!

 Athens was a little bit of a culture shock. It was very run down and dirty. I wouldn't say it's the prettiest city to visit, but we were there for the history and biblical sites, so it was no big deal. Plus it's always cool to be in a different culture and it was interesting to be there at a time like this when their country is in peril. We walked through the streets of Athens and check out all of this Graffiti! Plus, we walked right through the political demonstrations! It was pretty surreal.  I guess I didn't realize how Middle Eastern Greece is. I mean it is in the Middle East technically, but it's still considered Europe. It's very desert-y, and dry. And more brown than I imagined, yet they have palm trees. Quite a mix of a climate. 

 This is me in the lobby of our Hotel. It was very nice and had just had a remodel.
This is the view from our Hotel room in Athens.

10 years ago we had a picture similar to this taken in Amsterdam, so we re-created it. This is at the restaurant in our Hotel. We got a free bottle of wine with dinner for our Anniversary.
The food was really good and there was breakfast every morning that was included. 

The political Demonstrations
I kid you not--every time we leave for a trip and we are in the car/taxi on our way to the airport, my husband will shout, "Darn, I forgot my underwear!" As a joke--I mean I've known him for 11 years and he's done it every single time we travel, and he has never really forgotten them. WELL....this time was no different, he shouted on our way, "Shoot, I forgot my underwear!"  And I'm like hahaha, nice try, very funny...
He's like "I'm totally serious." 
Well, he was, because he totally and completely forgot his underwear! Here he is on the streets of Athens buying some!
 After our first day in Athens, we came back to the hotel and showered, and I was too exhausted to do anything else, but we went down to our Hotel Lobby and we got a coffee and played cards.

Cute little guy at his stand in the midst of all the graffiti; they even got his cart.

Olives and an olive pump!
This is the church of the apostles, dedicated to them, because this is where they first started spreading the word of Christianity. (doesn't it look like a backdrop?)

I swear, every time my husband turned around, I was picking olive leaves from the trees! I was so into them! Greece has more Olive Trees than Italy, it's just that Italy has done a better job marketing themselves for the business side of it. Interesting, huh?
 On our way to Acropolis, we stopped and had a coffee near the Library in Athens. This was a really sweet area, and didn't have Graffiti all over. We took lots of coffee breaks :)

The weather was really great in Athens. It was sunny and high 60's when we were there. When we left Greece on November 13th, it was in the low 40's and windy. We got blessed.
Here I am in Ancient Agora. I loved this place. It is 6th Century B.C people!!! It use to be a Marketplace of sorts, and shopping and a place where meetings were held. It is technically a part of the Acropolis, but you walk through Agora to get to the Acropolis Hill where the Parthenon is. I absolutely loved this place. There was so much rich vegetation, so many trees, birds, bushes. I would say Ancient Agora is a few acres. As we walked through Ancient Agora I had a sense of peace, and joy. I was so happy walking through. I was bummed that is was a bit tough to walk because there wasn't a lot of even terrain, so I had to hold onto my husbands arm and look down every time I walked, so I felt like I missed bits and pieces because I was focusing on not tripping. It was a total surprise (we didn't plan for the Agora), and it was a treasured experience.

The trunk on this tree was as smooth if not smoother than a babies bottom.
I was blessed by seeing (drum roll). . . MAGPIES!!! They have been on my wish list of birds to see and I had yet to see one, but there they were, flying through Ancient Agora!!!
See, picking another leaf!
A beautiful bench in Agora

Ok, so originally I didn't think I was going to be able to go to Acropolis Hill b/c it is a huge hike, and I would not be able to do that. So when we finished going through Agora, I expected to just say "Have fun, take lots of pictures" to my husband but as we approached the main entrance, we saw a DISABLED ENTRANCE first. So we walked up to the stand/gate and my husband told them we needed to come through the disabled entrance and they brought us right up to this elevator! 
I was so happy! Keep in mind Acropolis Hill is 6th Century B.C so this elevator is attached to a 2,600 year old rock hill! Hahahahaha
I was just so thankful there was this option, because it was pretty incredible when we got to the top.
Parthenon (under construction)

Apparently this statue didn't make it into the Museum.

The other side of the Parthenon

Us on Mars Hill, where Paul preached. HOW COOL IS THAT!?
Ok, the next day we went on a tour to DELPHI. It is 3 hours NORTH of Athens in the mountains and it is basically a city with greek mythology ruins. It's where people would drive to to worship their gods. Mainly Apollo; it is the site of the Delphic Oracle. It is 6th Century B.C.
We were on a tour bus with about 50 others. Typically I won't sleep on planes or buses. Look to the right of me, and behind me and you'll see why. WOW

Having fun with my husbands iphone while everyone else sleeps on the Bus.
Here we are in Delphi, the Theater is behind us.
We had pit stops on the way there and back, I had to find a Coke in Greece!
I tried Turkish Delight for the first time, it wasn't bad! I had Rose flavor. There was also a hundred different assortments of Baklava.

The view was just stunning. We were so high up in the mountains and we were surrounded by more than 3 million olive trees and lots of Cypress Trees.

Temple Of Apollo


What Delphi use to look like originally.
We then went to the Museum of Delphi. If you look closely behind the statues here, you can see the native men standing amongst their findings; this is them during excavations.
Steps in Delphi, I adore old steps.
 And benches

All in all our time in Athens was pretty incredible. We had fun exploring, and learning so much history. We enjoyed our Hotel, and the unexpected adventures. We got lost once, but a sweet native helped us find our way. He asked us to take him with us! His name was Gus.
We didn't have the greatest food when we were there, but we had some good wine and beer.
Most nights we were back to our room by 5:30 or 6:00pm, so we had pretty uneventful evenings, but it was nice to get the rest. My heating pad actually went on the fritz because even though we had a converter, we didn't realize wattage wise that there might be a difference. That was such a huge bummer! But luckily I had a back up plan. 
Things I loved most about Athens:
-the natives (they were super friendly and helpful, and just really kind and cute)
-the Acropolis, including Ancient Agora
-the cappuccino's
-our hotel
-the olive trees
-seeing the demonstrations 
-learning about the euro and how the greeks can't afford their own money
Wednesday I hope to do a post on Crete, so please stay tuned, and I'm sorry it's taken me a couple of weeks to get these pictures going!


Autumn said...

This looks amazing!

Greece is one of the places on my bucket list to visit someday.

I'm not sure if I would rather not see the acropolis or risk going in that sketchy looking elevator haha

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing and telling stories about your trip Gina! I loooove getting to travel through my friend's eyes.

That photo of you in your red dress, sitting on the stone wall (at Acropolis maybe?) - the wind blowing in your hair - the one that is desaturated color is my FAVE of you! :)


Sarah B. said...

Wow, so many great pictures. I love the graffiti photos--especially the first one with the black and white artwork. I can't imagine how much time that must take them. It's also neat how you found a Coke even in Athens... Coke is everywhere!

Erin said...

What gorgeous pictures! Thanks for sharing all of God's beauty in Athens! Truly remarkable if we stop to think about it. I cannot believe all the graffiti though! NUTS!

Funmilayo I. said...

Go You! It's so cool that you went to Athens, the pictures are gorgeous. It looks like it was a great trip.

By Far, the movies on the plane are usually always a part of my highlights, when I travel.

chambanachik said...

Those are such awesome photos! What a fantastic trip.

vintch said...

so, so beautiful. you were in the midst of such history and religion! what a dream:) so happy to find your blog.

Farrah said...

Thank you for visiting my blog <3 your trip looks amazing and I adore the photo of you in your red dress and you sitting with wind in your hair - beautiful.

Yes and I would love that recipe! xx

stephanie said...

wow! so many gorgeous photos! your trip looks uhhh-mazing.