Athens: Day 2

Today was our fist day of real sightseeing in Athens, and it went quite well.

The free breakfast at the hostel was okay: boiled eggs, instant coffee, and toast with jam. It was pretty busy, so we ended up sitting outside on the patio. At this point we realized just how cold it would be, and decided we needed a bit more clothing. We took the metro to a street market, with many many shops and stalls. Steve got a hat, gloves and a scarf, while Abby only needed a scarf. We also bought a really nice street map of Athens. Navigation was pretty easy; all the streets are labeled at every intersection by little blue signs on the sides of the buildings, in Greek and English.

Market at Montistraki in Athens

A small piece of ancient ruins preserved in the middle of the public square.

We were able to find the Numismatic Museum, but it was unfortunately closed, probably due to money issues. How silly that a museum all about money couldn't afford to stay open!

So many of the buildings in Athens were really beautiful!

We next went to the Benaki Museum. There was no admission fee the day we went, which was nice. The museum has four levels of artifacts from prehistory to present. The museum also has a lot of new art showcased alongside the ancient artifacts, and sometimes on or around the artifacts. It was a very interesting experience, and a very cool idea. It helped to remind us that a lot of the old things were also art, not just old stuff. Some of the modern pieces were a bit weird or offensive, and unfortunately I think that was the artists intent in some cases. It prompted me to think about the nature and definition of art, which in turn made me thankful to be an engineer, where value is derived from objective usefulness, hopefully.

At the little cafe in the museum we had our first experience with the confusion of trying to pay for a meal. We just couldn't figure out what the secret code or signal was to get our check, or for them to take our money and bring the change. Perhaps their culture is just more relaxed.

After finishing our tour of the museum we decided to climb partway up Lykavitos Hill. The hill is the tallest in Athens and has a little church, Agios Georgos, on top. As we climbed the vegetation changes from evergreens, to super giant yucca like plants, to cacti! About halfway up we decided to just go ahead and climb the whole hill. I'm glad we did because the view from the top was superb.

Pretty foliage on the trail. Athens was so green and alive, which was a complete 180 from Saudi where everything is tan.

Climbing up the hill.

Bell tower on top of the hill. Graffiti was everywhere in Athens, even on cacti and bell towers.

A church in Athens as seen from the top of Lykavitos Hill.

Greek flag flying on the top of the hill.

A view of Athens from the top of the hill. The city scape was much prettier than that of Cairo.

A view of part of the hill.

After dinner we got some super great gelato.The store was closed, but the owner saw us looking longingly at the gelato, so he opened back up just for us. Gelato is to ice cream what Athens is to Cairo: waaaay better!

Abby had a hard time using the wax ear plugs, so the snoring Englishman kept her up most of the night. Steve highly recommends silicone earplugs, he slept just fine.

*Catch up on our entire Athens adventure by checking Our Travel Page, or our Greece tag.*

Catch up on the rest of our adventure:
Athens Day 1
Traveling Back to Saudi Arabia
Small Math Problems and 4 Modes of Transportation
Restoring Faith in Traveling
Playing the Ethics Card
Changing Perspectives on Cash v. Debit