Athens! One of the great empire cities! Matt loves history, and I love having my own personal history guide to put these places in context. Athens was great for this. We took a train from Piraeus (the port, very unexciting place) to the acropolis first thing. We knew it was going to be hot, but probably underestimated just how hot. Thank goodness we climbed the acropolis first! Later in the day would have been awful. It was already close to 115 degrees (way too hot for me) and we were chugging water like crazy.
The Parthenon and views from the top of the Acropolis were absolutely incredible. Every direction you looked had ruins and temples and just cool stuff to look at. Athens is a huge city that just goes for miles in the middle of a barren desert, punctuated by the huge rock formation of the Acropolis. And groups of tourists. Boy are there tourists in Athens! Group after group funneled down the marble walkways, with tour guides speaking every language imaginable. For the amount of time each group got to marvel at the buildings and view, Matt and I were SO glad that we were seeing this place sans tour. We timed out walking and standing around the arrival and departure of these groups so that we could soak in the views just the two of us. It worked pretty well.
After we made our rounds of the Acropolis (and were extremely hot and getting tired) we headed down closer to town to the Temple of Olympian Zeus. To get there we walked through the Plaka neighborhood, stopping for some fresh Greek yogurt at a yogurt bar. Greek yogurt in Greece! A good energizing treat.
Across the street we saw Hadrian’s Arch, and eventually made our way to the Temple of Zeus. We toured around the ruins there (and shared an ice cold coke from the vending machine), then headed across town to the Ancient Agora.
This ancient marketplace used to be the center of all things in Athens. It is now just a historic site filled with ruins, and a reconstructed building that was once the indoor market. Matt and I were both getting really tired, and heat exhausted at this point, so we saw as much as we could, then headed back to the ship to crash.