After climbing a mountain, deciding that a long sleeve shirt and jeans was a terrible idea on a sunny day, and enjoying the views over the entire city of Athens – I made my way back down to the city to explore some more. One thing that I heard was a key thing to see was the changing of the guards in front of the Parliament building so I started making my way over there. One my way, I stopped by a park that was absolutely beautiful and full of orange trees and fun little walkways. I made my way through the park for about 20 minutes and then decided that it was time to go check out the changing of the guards so I started walking over to the Parliament building.
It’s funny because people will hang out in front of the building for upwards of 20 minutes before the changing actually occurs and it’s a main stop for the red tour buses. I ended up getting there with about 5 minutes to spare before the changing happened. Once you arrive to that area and pick a place you want to stand, you just stand and wait for it to happen. They’ll have armed guards come through and make sure you scoot back so that there’s enough room for them to do the actual changing of the guards. Fun fact, the changing actually starts from behind you just to the left of the Parliament building so around the top of the hour, keep an eye out behind you and you’ll see the guards coming.
After that, I started making my way through the main shopping district of the city and saw some holiday break dancers attracting a crowd in the street. It was fun little show to watch but obviously since it was one of the few attractions on Christmas Day, it was hard to see all of it so I gave up and started making my way to the historic district of Athens.
I found myself at the Plaka District which is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Athens. Luckily it’s right at the base of the Acropolis Hill so it was just on my way back to the hotel. I highly recommend checking out this neighborhood because it is so full of character, cute buildings, cute shops and restaurants and some ancient ruins embedded within the neighborhood itself. I found myself weaving in and out of the streets and buildings checking out as many nooks and crannies as I could while I was there. I even stumbled upon some ancient ruins that essentially sits in the very center of the district which was really cool to see. The neighborhood provides a nice view of history through the architecture from the ruins to the homes in such a small radius.
My favorite thing about the Plaka district was that it is full of staircases that restaurants have decided to use as seating for their customers. As you walk up the staircases, you’ll walk by people enjoying a drink or some food. It can be a little awkward making your way up the stairs as people on either side of you are enjoying their food and you’re huffing and puffing up the stairs. But it’s adorable. Each staircase had a different set of characteristics and adorable setups for the restaurants. Standing at the top of the stairs staring down with the city as the backdrop was absolutely wonderful. To be honest, if the restaurants had been empty, I probably would have sat down at the top of the staircases and enjoyed the view but I’m sure people would have been a little creeped out by me.
When I was finally done with wandering around, I made my way back to the walking path on the other side of the Acropolis Hill and decided it was time for food. So I decided to find a restaurant to relax at.