Athens, Greece – Part 1

I woke up nice and early the next day because the jet lag had officially set in.  I always have a hard time adjusting to the new time zones, and I had taken a sleeping pill to help make sure I would sleep through the night. Unfortunately since I had napped and then gone back to sleep, I made my adjustment to the new time zone a bit more difficult. I got dressed, packed my bag and then headed downstairs to grab breakfast from the hotel. After getting some food, I made my way out into Athens.

Since my first full day in Athens was actually Christmas Day, I knew that most things would be closed and that I would probably have a large portion of the city to myself. Even though I knew it was Christmas Day, I didn’t do a good job of figuring out what was actually available to be visited. I personally thought that there would be a chance that I could walk up to the Acropolis on Christmas Day. I knew that the actual site was closed on Christmas and Boxing Day but I definitely thought I could get pretty close to the Acropolis and see it from a distance. So that was my first stop.

I left my hotel and find a set of stairs up to a walking trail that was at the base of the Acropolis Hill and I started making my way around the hill.  I managed to get up to the theater but there was a fence so all I could do was peek in.  As I made my way around, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to get to the top because it was completely fenced off and there was only one entrance to get up there which required tickets and the ticket office to be open. So I gave up on that and headed over to a lookout point just by the ticket office that looks out over the city with the Acropolis as a backdrop.

Luckily, the weather for Christmas Day was beautiful, sunny with zero clouds and about 60 degrees. It was amazing to look out over the city in this weather. The one thing that was actually interesting to see was that even though it was a holiday, there were a bunch of tourists everywhere.  I was very surprised to see so many people everywhere given the holiday. From the Acropolis, I made my way down through the city and tried to go find the giant Christmas tree in Syntagma Square. As I started walking through the city, I walked by the the markets at the base of the Acropolis hill and then through the shopping area to Syntagma Square.

If you’re here during the holidays, this area is still fairly well populated and definitely a good place to check out.  There’s a bunch of cool architecture and a church just before you hit the main square.  One thing to definitely keep an eye out for would be the fruit trees.  I didn’t expect to see orange trees all around Athens but it was a delightful surprise especially in the city center.  I eventually found myself at the square next to the beautiful Christmas tree.  Given that it was so sunny, I’m sure I missed out on some of the beauty since I didn’t get to see it at night and lit up but regardless, it was still lovely in the middle of the day.

From there, I made my way through the square past the food vendors and the ballon vendors, which I have to admit was a very random thing to see, and then started toward my next goal.  Walking to the top of Mt Lycabettus.

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