Saturday, October 29, 2016

Greece Part II: Athens

On my last afternoon in Mykonos, I decided to fly to Athens and spend a day and a half there. You can't go all the way to Greece and not see Athens! Athens is the capital of Greece, and is so beautiful, retaining the oldest history and monuments affiliated with Greece. 

 I stayed at New Hotel, located right in the center of Athens. New Hotel is owned by award winning YES! Hotels and Restaurants. New Hotel Athens offers an entirely new approach to young interior design, energetic hospitality, and outstanding customer service. The location is very convienent- you can walk to all of the tourist attractions from the hotel. 

Views of Mount Lycabettus from New Taste's outdoor terrace. 

Besides it's location, the best thing about New Hotel Athens, is the roof top restaurant, New Taste, and it's amazing views! Upon arrival, I ate dinner on the stunning rooftop that overlooks Mount Lycabettus, and the Acropolis on the opposite side. New Taste exalts delicious Mediterranian cuisine.

Views of the Acropolis from New Taste's outdoor terrace.
The chic décor inside New Taste.
On my first and only full day in Athens, I woke up early to see all of the sites I had planned on visiting. You can take cabs in Athens, but that can get very expensive. I suggest wearing comfortable sneakers and walk from monument to monument like I did. I have never walked so much in my life, but It was all worth it! I felt like a true Athenian at the end of the day. It also happened to be a rare 90 degree day in October the day I was there. 

Walking towards the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. Behind me, you can see the Arch of Hadrian, which greets you before you reach the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. Fun Fact: The Arch of Hadrian was contracted in Athens in 131 B.C. in honor of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

The Arch of Hadrian. 

Here, I am standing in front of what is left of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. The Acropolis can be seen in the distance.  

The Temple of Zeus at Olympia was built in Olympia, the site where the first Ancient Greek Olympic Games were held in honor of Zeus. Founded in the 8th century B.C., Olympia is an ancient site in Greece (See photo above) where the first original Olympic Games were hosted. It's extensive ruins included athletic training areas, a stadium and temples dedicated to the gods Hera and Zeus. 

Standing in the hot sun in front of The Temple of Zeus at Olympia.

Construction of The Temple of Zeus at Olympia was complete around 456 B.C. Fun Fact: There was once a statue of Zeus inside the temple that raised to 43 feet in height. It took 12 years to complete the statue and place it inside the temple. 

I can now say that I have visited one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The seated statue of Zeus that once sat inside the temple, was made by sculptor Phidias around 435 B.C. The God Zeus was sitting on a elaborate cedar wood throne, ornamented with ebony, ivory, gold, and precious stones. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it was lost and destroyed (by fire) during the 5th century AD with no copy ever being found. 

After visiting the Temple of Zeus, I walked one mile in the hot sun to the Panathenaic Stadium. The Panathenaic Stadium hosted the first ever modern day Olympics on April 6th, 1896. One of the main attractions of Athens, it is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble. 

It was so surreal standing where the actual winners of the Olympic Games once stood.

Fun Fact: The last Olympic Games held in Athens were in August 2004.

After hiking to the very top, I wanted to capture the moment with a picture. 

View from the very top. There is a museum underneath the stadium with all of the torches from every Olympic Game. Even the most recent one from Rio, Brazil is featured there. 

I spent about an hour at the Panathenaic Stadium admiring it, taking pictures, and even sitting down to rest for a short break. I wanted to soak in the moment before leaving such a historic attraction. I headed back towards the hotel (In the general area of the Acropolis), and ate an authentic Greek lunch. There are many restaurants and souvenir shops located on the main street that is pedestrian friendly.  

The BEST pita bread I have ever eaten in my life. The Greek pita bread is served with a delicious hummus.

At around 3PM, I had finished lunch and bought a ton of souvenirs. The final destination on my list was the Acropolis of Athens. The Acropolis literally means "City built on a hill", and is the greatest and finest sanctuary of ancient Athens, dedicated primarily to its patron, the goddess Athena. It dominates the center of the modern city from the rocky hill, known as the Acropolis. The Acropolis of Athens is the most significant site in all of Greece, rich with history and full of physical reminders of the greatness of the Greek empire.

On the hike up to the Acropolis, you can see views of all of Athens, as well as the Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus.

Views of Athens while hiking up to the Acropolis. 

Fun Fact: The Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus was built at the time when 'drama' or 'theatre' was first being created. It's thought that the first drama was presented by Thespis in about 530 B.C. (which is where we get the word 'Thespian').

The Erechtheion is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens, which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.

Standing in front of the Erechtheion Temple. Dress by Rachel Pally.

The Parthenon is a former temple, on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered to be their patron. Construction began in 447 B.C., when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power.

Standing in front of the Parthenon. 

The Acropolis also has a museum nearby, that unfortunately, I did not have enough time to see. If you stop to take photos, the hike up to the Acropolis takes about 35-45 minutes. This also depends on how many people are there that day. It can get very crowded, but luckily I went right before sunset (right before they closed), and got amazing pictures. I don't know when I will be back in Athens, but I am so blessed to have had such a memorable and enlightening trip! Thank you so much New Hotel Athens for hosting me.

  1. I liked the photos you clicked and the way you explained all the things. I have applied for a visa of Greece and thanks a lot to Greece visa team.