Wednesday, September 25, 2019

My Big Fat Greek Honeymoon: Athens, Asopia, Delphi

Second stop: Athens

We spent 2 nights and 1 full day in Athens before starting our road trip through northern Greece. Upon leaving Athens, we stopped in Asopia and Delphi for a few hours before reaching our hotel in Meteora. Because the stops were so quick, I decided to include them in this post!

Getting there: Ferry

Ikies, our hotel in Santorini, scheduled a taxi to pick us up and take us to the docks where we boarded a ferry to Athens. The taxi from Oia to the docks takes about 45 minutes.

The ferries depart for Athens several times each day, and the tickets cost about 40€. 

It’s a bit chaotic boarding the ferry. We felt like a herd of cattle, and there wasn’t anyone directing passengers where to go. But the ferry itself was very nice. There was plenty of room to spread out, and it was a very smooth ride. The only downside was it took about 5 hours. 

Where we stayed: Electra Palace Athens

Once we arrived in Athens we took a 10-minute taxi ride to our hotel, Electra Palace. It was a beautiful hotel, and the staff was very friendly. It’s located in the Plaka district. I highly recommend staying in that area. It’s very safe with lots of restaurants and shops, and it’s right at the base of the Acropolis, which is obviously the biggest attraction in Athens.

One of the best parts about Electra Palace was the rooftop restaurant and bar. It has a great view of the Acropolis, and it’s especially pretty when it’s lit up at night. It’s also the location where they serve their complimentary breakfast buffet. There were a wide variety of options, including traditional Greek selections like spanakopita and bougatsa, as well as typical English breakfast offerings like bacon, eggs, and croissants.

What we did: The Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, other miscellaneous ruins

We spent one full day in Athens, and to be honest, that’s all you really need.

We started the day bright and early at the Acropolis because we knew it would get very hot and crowded. The Acropolis was less than a half-mile walk from our hotel. We got there before it opened at 8 a.m. and a line had already formed. I believe it was 20€ for an adult ticket or 30€ for a multi-site ticket which enabled you access to other ruins throughout Athens, so that’s what we purchased.

The Acropolis is probably the biggest reason anyone visits Greece. I had dreamt of seeing the Parthenon in person ever since I was a little girl, and I was not disappointed. The size and magnitude of the site was truly breathtaking.

The Acropolis consists of 21 archaeological remains. The most well-known is, of course, the Parthenon, but all the structures were awe-inspiring. It is definitely something you need to experience in person.

Make sure you bring sturdy walking shoes because you’ll walk up and down a lot of slippery marble steps!

From there, we walked to the Ancient Agora of Athens. To the untrained eye it looks like just a bunch of rocks (I must have an untrained eye), but William was a classical studies minor so he was able to tell me about the bustling marketplace it once was. 

From there we went to the Acropolis Museum. It was very beautiful inside, and there were a lot of cool statues. If I’m being honest, I was very tired at that point and just wanted to nap, so I probably didn’t get the most out of my experience there. But it is definitely worth visiting! Tip: Book online before you go to the museum so you don’t have to wait in line.

Where we ate: To Kafeneion, A Little Taste of Home

Our first night in Athens we just wanted traditional Greek food and nothing fancy. We landed on To Kafeneion. It was a very old taverna right by our hotel with a lovely outdoor dining area.

We ordered an egg plant salad, meatballs with “THE” sauce, marinated pork, and chocolate trunk (like chocolate biscuits). It was all very tasty, but I wasn’t necessarily wowed by anything. It was a little frustrating because a lot of our initial selections from the menu weren’t available. 

We ate at A Little Taste of Home on our second night in Athens. It is in the Gazi neighborhood, which is no where near our hotel. But it had rave reviews, so we decided it was worth the taxi ride.

The atmosphere was very cozy, and the staff could not have been more friendly. Christos, the manager and our waiter, was clearly very knowledgeable and passionate about the food. 

We ordered the Greek salad, meatballs in cherry sauce, and lamb tagine. It was one of my favorite meals during our trip. Everything was so flavorful and fresh! It was a very special dining experience, and you must eat there if you visit Athens.

Overall impression of Athens

You have to visit Athens for the sake of seeing the Acropolis, but that’s pretty much it. One day is plenty. There was graffiti everywhere, and it felt dirty.

It’s very clear the people in Athens are struggling. We spoke with numerous residents who told us they lived and worked in Athens their whole lives, but they lost their jobs and had to move when Greece went bankrupt.

I really hope the country can climb out of their financial hole so Athens can become a flourishing city once again.

Road trip to Meteora with pit stops in Asopia and Delphi

The road trip portion of our Greek honeymoon began in Athens. We picked up a rental car and left the city to visit the bustling metropolis of Asopia! 

That was a joke. Asopia is a teeny tiny village about an hour and a half north of Athens. There’s a beautiful church and one place to get drinks, and that’s about it.

So why in the heck did we visit Asopia? Because it’s where my Yiayia’s (grandma’s) family is from!

Yiayia’s maiden name is Kouroubetes. She wanted me to visit Asopia and see if any of our relatives were still there. So we visited the local watering hole, and I asked the owner if he knew any Kouroubetes.

His response was, “Half the town is Kouroubetes!” So I was happy to tell Yiayia the Kouroubetes are still thriving in Asopia! 

After visiting Asopia, we drove an hour and a half northwest to Delphi. 

Delphi is an archaeological complex that contains the remains of the sanctuaries of Apollo and Athena Pronaia. People from all over Greece and beyond would visit the Oracle of Delphi to ask the priestess of Apollo questions about the future.

Delphi was so beautiful and not crowded at all. It offered amazing views of the valley, the mountains, and the sea. The history was fascinating as well.

We stopped in the nearby village to grab dinner before heading to our next destination: Meteora. We just wanted something quick, so we stopped at Dionysios Souvlaki Gyro Shop. It ended up being one of the best gyros I’ve ever had. Everything was very fresh and cheap. The owners were friendly, too!

1 comment:

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