*Please note: This post was first published on the blog I kept in 2011 while studying abroad*
At about noon during our first full day in Athens, the three of us headed to the metro and took it to Syntagma Square. We had no real plan for the day since we thought it would be best to wait unti we had gotten more rest to tackle the Acropolis. We ended up in the very touristy area around Hadrian’s Library and were able to find lunch for fairly cheap.
After shopping around a little we went back to Syntagma Square where we watched the guards of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier do their drills. After, we headed back to the hostel and were moved to a bigger room than the one they had put us in that morning (at 5:30).
The next day we made our way to the Acropolis. We were able to see the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Parthenon, The Erechtheum (which is an ancient temple), and the Theater of Dionysus. After we had gone around as much of the Acropolis’s hill as we could we exited the Acropolis and went to the Acropolis Museum, which is surprisingly free if you happen to be studying in the European Union. It held a lot of the artifacts that had been found around the Acropolis.
We then tried to go to the Temple of Zeus but it closed at 3:00 pm like most of the sites in Athens. Instead we accidentally discovered the National Gardens which had a random zoo-ish area in its center that mostly contained goats, chickens, a few peacocks and some other birds.
Our last stop of the day was the Olympic Stadium. It was rather sad to see it in disrepair. The pool was being used at the time for swimming practice of some sort and some event for kids was taking place in one of the indoor courts but nearly everything was rusted and looking neglected.
The next day we were able to see the Temple of Zeus and on our way to the Ancient Agora we found a free museum.
At the Agora we saw the Stoa, the Temple of Hephaestus and some other architecture that I don’t know the name for. We also went into Hadrian’s Library. The site apparently contains the ruins of a church, but we couldn’t really tell where the church started and the library ended.
Our next stop that day was Mount Lycabettus, which is in the center of Athens. We somehow managed to make it the top after being worn out from about two weeks worth of travel and were able to see all of Athens from the mountain.
Our last day, it was just Carla and I since Diana had signed up for a wine tasting tour. We went to Kerameikos, an ancient cemetery. It was really peaceful and green. As weird as this sounds, I really love visiting cemeteries. I love their tranquility and the history they contain.
Afterward we shopped around, ate lunch and then headed back to the hostel to wait for Diana. The last thing we did that day was stop by the Academy, University, and National Library all of which are beautiful buildings.
The next day was a day full of travel involving a 40-ish minute metro ride, a two hour flight, another two hour flight, waiting in a bus station in Madrid until 1:30 AM and then a bus ride until 6:45 AM to get us home. I got back to my host family’s apartment at 7:30 AM on May 1st and was thrilled to see two packages, one from my parents and one from a friend of mine. They were the best May Day baskets I have ever received after an extremely long but awesome trip!