When I think of Greece it is normally about people clubbing in Mykonos or staying in the blue and white houses in Santorini. We decided to take a different path and explore Athens which seemed to have many sides besides the obvious. First the obvious..
Temple of Poseidon and Cape Sounion
With our 14 hour flight from Sydney we allowed ourselves to crash a little before taking our first tour. Through CHAT tours we ventured an hour north to Cape Sounion to see the Temple of Poseidon.
After learning the sad suicide of the namesake of the Aegean sea we toured the temple. Besides being the god of the waters, Poseidon is surprisingly the god of the mines and horses. Not totally following but sure.
This place is basically the most popular place in Athens. My cab driver said, “if not for the Acropolis, no one would come to Athens, it’s horrible.”
The best way to do this though is through Alternative Athens. Vicky took us to all the temples within the immediate area: Olympic Temple of Zeus, Parthenon, Theatre of Dionysus and Temple of Hephaestus. She taught us all about the gods and Zeus’ crazy adulterous stories. Most importantly at the Acropolis, we skipped the line and just walked right in with tickets. Without the context you would not get the incredible impact that these old temples have not only on Athens but the impact they had on our development as humans.
Keramikos and Gazi
Both these areas are more of the less trafficked neighborhoods of Athens. They have loads of bars and restaurants and most importantly street art. Again with Alternative Athens we took a 3 hour tour exploring the artwork found along buildings. Athens is the one of the most tagged cities in Europe behind Berlin and a Greek in NYC is apparently how street art got started.
This area is filled with little hole in the wall stores. Records, books, souvenirs, clothing and leather goods line the small side streets. It is easy to get lost exploring all the olive oil goods and Greek leather made shoes. Greek thrifting at its best.
There are many ways to visit a beach. The two ways we experienced could not explain the difference between my sister and I any better so I’ll tell you the story.
We grabbed a cab through BEAT – a great hail app – and had the cutest driver Dimitris (which is also every Greek’s name). He excitedly took us to this location I found on our drive the day before. He said this beach was one for locals and he was excited I wanted to check it out. I was beaming feeling like the most successful traveler.
We arrived and he said it is just down there… we look over and just see a cliff side. My sister side glares at me in flip flops like “are we hiking to this beach”. As we wave goodbye we see the cliffside “path” to the incredible water.
We scale down the side and arrive at the most calm beautiful rocky beach. After a couple hours, Christina mentioned we passed a beach with umbrellas she wanted to try. Up the side of the mountain we go and grab a cab back to the other beach.
For 5 euros (or 3 with your student id- Thank you JMU) you had access to a pebbly beach, umbrellas and lounge chairs. Definitely more Christina’s alley. We lay out and enjoy the hot August Athens day laughing at the two experiences.
Dinner in the Sky
In Keramikos there was a dinner in the sky build. For 130 euros you could have a 6 course dinner with unlimited wine 100ft up. Sign me up.
We strapped in and rose to the height with the Acropolis and full August moon behind us. Truly striking and a night I will remember forever. Every picture I took with the utmost care truly terrified I would drop my phone or fork below and be that American. Even though we are a clumsy bunch we managed it successfully and landed with a good buzz and a full stomach.