After a two hour evening flight from Budapest, we arrived in Athens and jumped into a cab to head to the place we were staying for our short stint in Greece’s capital. Our driver wasn’t familiar with our hotel and had to make a couple of phone calls and holler at a fellow cab driver out his window to make sure he was taking us to the right place. We found this a little strange and quickly learned that our hotel, which was fairly new and perfectly nice on the inside, happened to be located in a let’s call it interesting part of town near several “adult establishments”. We got a good laugh out of it and fortunately were only staying there for two nights.
We wanted to make the most of the one full day we had to explore before heading to the Greek islands known as the Cyclades, so we took off early the next morning to try and beat the heat (to no avail) and made the 30 minute trek up hill to the Acropolis. We didn’t prebook a tour and when we arrived there was a long line of tourists waiting to see the ancient citadel, but thankfully it only took about thirty minutes to get in. Though we had to dodge selfie sticks left and right (yep…we have one but rarely carry it), it was very cool to see something that was built thousands of years ago and to think about how something so big was constructed on top of a rock in the center of Athens without the use of modern equipment. After about an hour checking out the Parthenon and other ruins we headed down to the Acropolis Museum to cool off and learn more about the history of the ancient site. The Parthenon, which was originally built in the 400’s B.C. during the Golden Age of Athens, was a temple dedicated to Athena the Goddess of Wisdom & War and protector of the city. Since then the Parthenon has been through quite a lot and has been turned into a church, a mosque, and has also been bombed and looted, which explains the condition it’s in today.
After taking in some history and seeing more artifacts, we went to grab lunch nearby at a highly recommended (thanks TripAdvisor) place called Arcadia and it turned out to be a good choice. We experienced our first Greek salad and it was delicious. Fresh feta, ripe tomatoes, along with cucumber, green peppers, onion, olives, olive oil & a touch of red wine vinegar – an excellent combo! The feta cheese is softer and less salty, which we love.
The next morning we headed for Piraeus Port and although Jenn wasn’t too keen on taking the ferry to Mykonos, we hopped on a massive Blue Star Ferry and found the five hour ride to be smooth and comfortable. When we arrived to the island our super welcoming Airbnb host picked us up from the port and drove us to the apartment, showed us around and shared his opinion of the best beaches and some things to do while we were there. He also stocked the fridge with eggs, cheese, meat, yogurt, beer, and a huge bowl of fresh fruit. On top of all that, he baked us some fresh bread! The warm, outgoing, and friendly nature of the Greek people is one of the many reasons we love this country.
Another reason we were looking forward to our time Mykonos was that our good friends from home, Jeff & Hayley, were just married (congrats again, guys!) and honeymooning in Greece. We had a fantastic time together exploring the island on our ATV’s, hanging at their ridiculous hotel pool(s), checking out several beaches such as Psarou, Platis Gialos, & Paradise Beach, eating at Avil Tou Thodori, and going to some local hot spots like Tropicana Beach Bar, Cavo Paradiso, Nammos, and Bonbonniere. Though we definitely didn’t stick to our daily budget, seeing Jeff & Hayley couldn’t have come at a better time having been away from home for around 100 days. This trip has definitely made us appreciate our family and all of our friendships even more.