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Saturday, August 22, 2020

My Athens Wish List

In my last post, I started my new travel-at-home series with Greece. We virtually went to Athens and we had a great time getting away from the real world for a few hours. I'll be continuing the series ever couple of weeks or so throughout this pandemic (and possibly longer, because it's a lot of fun, honestly, and a great way to get in the feeling of travel for a lot less money while you save up for that next big trip). 

Photo by Darryl Low on Unsplash

Today I want to show you my Athens wish list, for when we get to travel again and I finally make it to Greece. It's high on my travel list and now's the perfect time to do some planning of trips, even if they are years away.

The Acropolis

Though the ruins are pictured on my backdrop, nothing can really compare to the real thing. I love soaking up the history of a destination. Not only is this a great way to do that, but it's also a wonderful place to take in the city view on one side and the sea on the other. And the views of it lit up at night are breathtaking, even in pictures.

Photo by Aleksandra Zelena on Unsplash

The Acropolis Museum

After exploring the ruins, the museum is next on my list to see the amazing architecture of this semi-new building, check out artifacts found at the site of the Acropolis, and learn even more about the structure and what it was used for. There's also Greek artwork here that I can't wait to admire.

Lunch or dinner on the rooftop of Athenswas Hotel at Sense

With the Acropolis as a backdrop, is there a prettier view for dining outside? This French-inspired Greek restaurant is a splurge for a budget traveler, but you know I'm all about eating local foods when I travel, and lamb and red mullet from Greece, both sound delectable to me.

Looking for must-eat food in Greece? Keep an eye out for these Greek specialties and these 6 must-try foods that might be a little more palatable for those who aren't as adventurous (my husband's Greek family makes all 6 of those at gatherings).

Varvakeios Agora

You can learn a lot about a place by visiting their grocery stores and markets. It's usually one of the first places I go when I land in a new place. This market is like two in one, because on one side it's open-air and sells fresh fruits and veggies, and on the other is a covered meat and fish market. Can you imagine what a fantastic meal you could put together here?

By Moonik - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Benaki Museum of Islamic Art

I'll be honest. I don't know that much about the Islamic culture, but this collection of over 8,000 pieces of art, considered among the most important in the world, seems like a good place to start. It is part of the Benaki Museum Collection which also has a branch of Greek Culture, so this is definitely a group of museums to check out.

By Joanbanjo - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Hadrian's Arch

This arch, built in AD 131, was the gateway from old Athens to new, Roman section. It's one of the most important surviving monuments and an iconic landmark. Even better, you can visit for free.

By DerHexer - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Kerameikos Cemetery

By now, you probably know that I am fascinated by cemeteries. I love seeing how people honor their dead and how different cemeteries are around the world. This is an archaeological gem in the middle of downtown Athens that doesn't seem to get nearly enough foot traffic. The original cemetery was covered by new ones and finally uncovered in the 1860s. Quite a lot of pottery and artifacts were found here, and you can see quite a bit at the Kerameikos Museum, right next to it. 

Photo by David T on Unsplash

Monastiraki Square

Full of fruit sellers, street performers, and people hanging out, this gathering place used to be a convent. Unfortunately, the buildings were destroyed by years of excavation, and then the train and metro lines later down the road. I feel like this is a wonderful place to people watch while also grabbing a snack.
By Jean Housen - Own work, CC BY 3.0

National Garden

I love just chilling out by walking through gardens when I travel. This Garden, completed on behalf of King Otto and Queen Amalia in 1860, is home to more than 500 species of plants and trees, and stray cats, apparently. Besides plants, you can view the Olympic stadium, built for the 1896 games and enjoy an open-air cinema, duck pond, playground, and small zoo.

Clearly this is just a small sampling of things to do in Athens. There are also beaches and shopping and awesome cafes. It sounds like a lovely, relaxing getaway though.

Have you ever been to Greece? What are your recommendations?

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