The Best of 2 Days in Athens

Arriving in Athens at night

Note: These two days in Athens were originally part of a A Week in Greece, right after Santorini.

It was almost two hours past midnight when we arrived in Athens after a 50-minute flight. Getting to Small Funny World was no sweat as it was only one bus ride away and we just needed to get off at the last stop. Looking for it may have been a bit of a challenge but walking to it was another story with the city looking so aged and serene.

Arriving in Athens at night

Arriving in Athens at night

Arriving in Athens at night

Day 1 – The Acropolis, Temple of Olympian Zeus & Old Royal Palace

With our first destination in the capital being the Parthenon, having an early birdie start would’ve been the way (a no-brainer, really) but given our late arrival in the city, we didn’t pursue it. On our way to the Acropolis we passed by the Roman Agora where I learned that you can buy bundled tickets for multiple sites. Since we were only eyeing the Acropolis, nah~ Also, tickets are cheaper in winter months.

At the foot of the Acropolis, near its entrance, is a rock called Areopagus which offers a closer look of the fortress and views of the city, Lycabettus Hill, and Philopappos Hill.

The Roman Agora & Areopagus in Athens, Greece

The Acropolis in Athens, Greece

Lycabettus Hill in Athens, Greece

Philopappos Hill in Athens, Greece

The entrance to the Acropolis almost led me to believe that there’s forever (what you get for being a sleepyhead). We opted to walk past it and headed to the other side and found another entrance there. With less people! (Yeah, yeah, I could’ve simply Googled it.)

Street around the Acropolis

The other side of the Acropolis

If you’re into museums, there’s the Acropolis Museum. I don’t really fancy them that much so I instead just went to the subway and took photos of some sculptures there. Talk about being a cheapskate! Jeje!

The Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece

Long lines at the Acropolis Museum

Subway sculptures in Athens, Greece

On the way to the Parthenon you could see other structures such as the Theatre of Dionysus, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and the Acropolis’ propylaea (if you miss the last one, then you’re probably blessed with the gift of flight).

The Theatre of Dionysus in Athens, Greece

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens, Greece

The propylaea to the Parthenon

As soon as you survive this gateway (big word) you will be immediately greeted by the temple dedicated to Athena.

The propylaea to the Parthenon

The temple is still being restored up to this day and lucky are those who’ll see it completed. As expected, there was no joking about the number of tourists. And that, my friend, is why you should be at your earliest.

The Parthenon under construction

The Parthenon in Athens, Greece

You have no idea how much sacrifice I went through to eliminate the enemies. (Eliminate them!)

The Parthenon in Athens, Greece

The Parthenon with no people

Also on the citadel is the Hekatompedon Temple.

The Hekatompedon Temple in Athens, Greece

There’s still a viewpoint even if essentially the entire rocky outcrop is one. It’s a vantage point for the city and you get other perspectives of Philopappos Hill, Lycabettus Hill, Acropolis Museum, Theatre of Dionysus, and Odeon of Herodes Atticus.

Greece flag and Philopappos Hill in Athens

Lycabettus Hill in Athens, Greece

The Theatre of Dionysus as seen from above

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus as seen from above

You get to see as well the Areopagus and, from a distance, the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

The Areopagus as seen from above

The Temple of Olympian Zeus from afar

The propylaea to the Parthenon

I don’t really have any point of comparison as it was my first time in Europe but I was told that Greece is relatively cheaper compared to other countries. I didn’t even know that the country had (or has?) a crisis until a former colleague asked how things were doing there. Anyhoo, another set of magnets and a souvlaki for lunch!

Souvenir shops in Athens, Greece

The wonderful thing about Athens is you can actually just walk to a lot of tourist spots. After our late lunch we headed off to the Temple of Olympian Zeus and passed by Hadrian’s Gate along the way.

Hadrian's Gate in Athens, Greece

The structure has a perimeter so you can only go around it and not swagger like a god or goddess between its pillars. The site offered a nice view of the Acropolis without obstructions.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens, Greece

The Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens, Greece

The Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens, Greece

The Acropolis as seen from the Temple of Olympian Zeus

As nightfall crept we made our way to the Old Royal Palace, the building that greeted us when we arrived, and arrived just in time to witness the guards in action. It’s a must if you must, I must say.

Streets in Athens, Greece

The Old Royal Palace in Athens, Greece

Presidential Guards at the Old Royal Palace

Changing of Guards at the Old Royal Palace

Changing of Guards at the Old Royal Palace

Changing of Guards at the Old Royal Palace

Changing of Guards at the Old Royal Palace

Changing of Guards at the Old Royal Palace

Across the palace is Syntagma Square, the city’s central square where there’s hustle and bustle. Past it were shops and streetcorners where there are more hullabaloos and thingamajigs. It wasn’t part of the plan but I scored an H&M shirt there. La lang~

The hustle and bustle of Syntagma Square

The hustle and bustle of Syntagma Square

Close to our hostel was a pasta place similar to Subway, where you select the pasta, sauce, and toppings of your choice. It became a go-to for us because of its prices (and taste, ‘course!).

Cheap pasta restaurant in Athens, Greece

I’ve always been someone who tries to look at things day and night (literally) so the day (or night?) didn’t just end with dinner. Illuminated streets are always mine for the taking! *howls like Remus*

The Acropolis at night

Hadrian's Gate & Temple of Olympian Zeus at night

Syntagma Square at night

Streets of Athens at night

Seeing the Old Royal Palace up-close with the lights on and the guards still in position made me realize that I didn’t notice them at all when we arrived.

Old Royal Palace at night

Even if it was already close to midnight we were still strolling in the National Gardens. In it is the Zappeion which you could also gawk at with admiration.

The Zappeion at night

Streets of Athens at night

A church in Athens, Greece

Day 2 – The Panathenaic Stadium & Athenian Trilogy

Small Funny World accommodation

Among my memories of our last hostel was my coughing. It actually started in Santorini that I had to buy medicines there. So there I was, in the room, coughing and waiting for my last breath, with another guest joining me and together we formed an orchestra of coughing. Then, in the midst of it all, as we were about to reach our crescendo, another guest makes a remark about our performance.

Guest: Oh, my God. This is the room of the cough.
Me:
Me again:
Cougher: Out of our control. That’s a risk for staying at a hostel.
Guest: Don’t get mad~
Cougher: I know. I’m just saying.

Would’ve bought that lady all the beers that she wanted in the country. She was also so right about us covering our mouths when coughing our lungs out. No blood was shed and in the end we all still had our short lives to keep.

Not that it has feelings, but to make things fair, the Zappeion was also paid a visit opposite to the lighting when it was first sighted. Of course that also meant another visit to the gardens. Twinning~!

The Zappeion in daylight

Twinning with a lamp post at the National Garden in Athens, Greece

The Panathenaic Stadium was up next and on our way to it we came across mobile toilets that looked really winsome. Quite enticing that I would’ve probably taken a dump had I taken more time in front of it.

Mobile toilet in Athens, Greece

Rummaging through my memories and considering that an arena is different given that it’s enclosed, I don’t think I’ve actually ever been to a stadium so seeing the only one in the world built entirely of marble first was pretty ecstatic.

The Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Greece

The grandeur of the Panathenaic Stadium

It’s gotta be a sin not to adore, in all angles, the venue of the first modern Olympics. Show some athleticism and gimme that damn Olympic torch!

The grandeur of the Panathenaic Stadium

The grandeur of the Panathenaic Stadium

Jogging inside the Panathenaic Stadium

The grandeur of the Panathenaic Stadium

The Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Greece

Tried some street food before heading to our final destination.

Street food in Athens, Greece

Conveniently located next to each other, the Athenian Trilogy is composed of the Academy of Athens, University of Athens, and National Library of Greece. Trust me when I say that I’ve never encountered a better threesome in my life.

The Academy of Athens

The Academy of Athens

The University of Athens

The University of Athens

The National Library of Greece

The National Library of Greece

The trip was practically over after ogling those three but on the walk back to Plaka there was another troika. (My eyes!)

Threesome in Athens, Greece

Plaka is the old historical neighborhood of the city which also houses many shops. Wrapping up the pasalubongs were more miniatures and some caramelized nuts.

Plaka in Athens, Greece

Plaka in Athens, Greece

Souvenir shop in Athens, Greece

Delicacy shop in Athens, Greece

Since all the sites that we visited were accessible by foot, we never really got the chance to try the subway. So just for the heck of it, we got on a train and got off just at the next station, a distance we could’ve walked in a heartbeat.

Riding the Athens Metro

Riding the Athens Metro

Subway station in Athens, Greece

When we resurfaced there was a protest but thankfully there was no violence so all was geed.

A protest in Athens, Greece

Our flight out the following day was a tad early but that didn’t stop us from having a few cans on the hostel’s topmost floor with our Korean roommate who was traveling around Europe before his dreaded military service, the Germans who I assumed was a couple, and the Brazilian who went from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, Palawan on just a motorcycle with another tourist! Good times, good laughs. *inserts grinning emoji*

Socials at Small Funny World

Day 7

(If you came here from A Week in Greece, you may resume reading here.)

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