Category Archives: Greece

Athens

We arrived in Athens, Greece on June 24th on the overnight ferry from Kos.  We got there about 10:30 am giving us most of the day to explore.  We also had the full next day for sightseeing before moving on to Copenhagen.  Our first adventure upon getting off the ferry was finding the Metro to be able to get to the city center and our hostel.  After wandering around for a while we finally found a bus stop and asked the driver how to get to the Metro.  She was incredibly friendly and helpful and told us to get on the bus even though we didn’t have tickets and she told us when we arrived at the Metro station.  Her helpfulness and kindness were characteristic of almost all of the Greeks we met, just very nice, amicable people, a true pleasure to be around.

Once we got to our hostel and checked in, our first destination was the National Archaeological Museum.  First though, we got some lunch at a Gyro place and needless to say, being the home of the Gyro, it was really good and really cheap.  The museum was filled with all kinds of artifacts and artwork from prehistory through Classical Greece and the Roman period.  It was a good way to start out as it gave us some background and history on the sites we would be visiting the next day.  The highlight for me was seeing the “Antikythera Mechanism“, which is an intricate bronze machine used for astronomical calculations that was retrieved from the wreck of a ship.  It is said by some to be the first computer and I’ve been reading about it since I was a kid, so it was really neat to see it up close and in person.  We finished up the day with dinner at a restaurant with a great view of the Parthenon.  It was delicious Greek fare including Souvlaki and when we tried to leave, the gave us a free dessert of chocolate cake and some desert wine spiced with cinnamon and orange.

The next day, we started out in the Ancient Agora.  This is the center of the ancient city located right below the Acropolis.  The number of ruins here, some in very good shape like the Temple of Hephaestus, are really incredible.  Walking around there it doesn’t take much effort to picture it full of ancient Greeks conducting business, philosophy, and democracy.  From there, we went up to the Acropolis and saw the Parthenon, theatre, etc.  After that we split up for a bit and I walked down to the Arch of Hadrien and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, which is one of the largest of the ancient archaological sites in Athens.  Next, I went to Syntagma Square where the parliament is located and watched the changing of the guards there.  It is quite a sight to see with the guards doing an intricate dance every hour with very distinctive attire including little pom-poms on the ends of their shoes.    Their uniforms apparently take from different areas and eras of Greece and the kilt they wear stretches back perhaps 4,000 years to the time of the Minoans.  We finished the day with a delicious dinner at a place in the Psirri district that had live traditional Greek music and another free dessert at the end of watermelon and cherries.

Athens was a great city and I highly reccomend it to anyone.  Not only is it full of so much history and archaeological sites, but it is full of the friendliest and vibrant people you will meet anywhere.  Pictures below and stay tuned for our final overseas stop of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Kos

We left Antalya on the night of June 20th bound for the Aegean coastal town of Bodrum in Turkey and our ferry to the Greek island of Kos.  We decided to make the 7 hour journey on the night bus to give us one more day in Antalya and to save a hotel room for one night.  In hindsight, we also decided that it would have been better to take one of the day buses to Bodrum and stay the night there.  We got on the bus at midnight on the 20th and neither of us got much sleep.  We arrived in Bodrum about 7:00 AM and found our ferry after wandering around for a while and asking a lot of locals where the ferry port was.  We departed about 9:00 AM.  The trip across the water was only about 45 minutes, but after standing in the customs line on the Turkish side and then passport control on the Greek side, it was about 3 hours in total.

In Kos, we arrived in the port town of Kos City, got some lunch and then got a taxi to our final destination in the town of Kardamaina about half an hour away.  The taxi driver was a very nice local man who gave us a great primer on the island, the people who live there, and what to do while we’re there.  After a long trip, our room with and actual bed was a welcome sight.  After a couple hours of much needed sleep, we took the five minute walk to the beach and spent a couple of hours there before having dinner at an awesome seafood restaurant right on the beach.  June 21st also happened to be our sixth wedding anniversary so it was a nice way to celebrate.

The next day, which was our only full day in Kos, we rented a scooter for about $20 and rode all over the island.  It is very small, only about 10 Km across and 45 Km long, so you can cover a lot of it on a scooter in just a day.  We started out by riding up to the ruins of the fortress overlooking Kardamaina.  The view from there was great, and it was a nice place to find a shady tree and eat our lunch.  From there we rode to the other side of the island to the town of Marmari for some more beach time and swimming in the warm waters of the Aegean.  Next, we rode to the Western most end of the island, and then up to the mountain town of Zia where we had some cold drinks and enjoyed the view.  After returning the scooter at 8:00 PM, we walked into Kardamaina and had dinner of pizza and salad while watching soccer, which is the only thing anyone has on TV in Greece right now.  It was almost like our normal Sunday night ritual at home of pizza and a movie.

The next day we spent by the pool at our hostel and at the beach before going back to Kos City to get our overnight ferry to Athens at 10:00 PM.  The ferry to Athens was a really great way to go.  It was fairly cheap, about the cost of a hotel room and included a cabin with two beds and a full bathroom with shower.  It was really fun to hang out on the deck and the views of all of the Greek islands we passed by were great.  We got much better sleep than we did on the bus.

We are now in Athens, which is our second to final destination before heading back to the U.S. in a few days.