“Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts And eloquence”
– John Milton
Finally made it to Athens – one of Humanitys many cradles. Those who know me know I have a serious fascination with history and mythology, but Greece was not actually on my list for this trip, because I figured it was close enough to Norway to go later. That all changed when I met Basil in Egypt and he invited me to his wedding…
I landed in Athens really late and got a car to my hostel, not wanting to be stuck somewhere unfamiliar in the middle of the city at midnight (with all my stuff on my back). Sometimes I throw money at a problem to make it go away, mostly when I want to get where I am going quickly and/or safely. With the extra cash forked out for a private taxi to the hostel, the plane ticket was still cheaper than arriving earlier and catching the metro, so all in all it was a win.
Athens is huge, dusty, full of loud people, some friendly, some not. Restaurants, museums, metro, hobos, tourists… So basically it’s another big city.
What Athens has to offer, besides Greek food and delicious ice cream, is the history. Greece as an archaeological site is fascinating and the plethora of museums, sites and ruins to see will keep you busy for days. I had a limited amount so I had my sights set on The Acroplis of Athens and Hadrian’s Gate. (I have had an unhealthy obsession with Emperor Hadrian ever since I read about Hadrian’s Wall in Britain when I was a kid).
I met Shoshana at my hostel who also recommended the archaeological museum, about 15 minute slow walk from the hostel, so I added that and decided that would do for my two days in Athens. I had to make time for Ben and Ryan too (from the Egypt group), we where in Athens at the same time and decided to go for dinner and a sunset view together before we all headed to Milos.
ATHENS ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
“The National Archaeological Museum in Athens houses some of the most important artifacts from a variety of archaeological locations around Greece from prehistory to late antiquity. It is considered one of the greatest museums in the world and contains the richest collection of artifacts from Greek antiquity worldwide. During World War II the museum was closed and the antiquities were sealed in special protective boxes and buried, in order to avoid their destruction and looting.”
My favourites from this museum where definitely the young jockey on the horse, the Anthikytera Ephebe and the statues depicting Hadrian(!). The kid on the horse looked terrified, I think he was supposed to just look incredibly passionate, but I thought he was frightening to watch to be honest… But then, so was the horse 😛
There’s a lot of busts and statues in here showing remarkable details in the features. I got a real feeling of walking through history while I was there.
You can easily kill three or more hours in the museum, depending on how interested you are. I always start out really interested, but around the two/three hour mark I start just shifting through the exhibitions and lose concentration. I spent about three in here, so that means I found it to be a pretty excellent museum.
POST MUSEUM DINNER AND SUNSET
Once again Ben and I put our trust in our Commander-in-Chief, Ryan. He took us to a beautiful sunset-watching spot, a really good restaurant for dinner (where he ordered some baked, melted feta cheese that made our year), showed us one of the oldest, coolest bars in Athens and got us some amazing ice cream for dessert, before charting me a safe walking route home. I love hanging out with the Egypt group guys… We made some friends for life on that trip and I was getting even more excited about seeing the rest of them in just a couple of days ❤