Greece II - Ancient Temples and Museums

After we maneged to explore the city and meet a few new people during the first part of our trip, we spend the rest of the time simply enjoying ourselves as much as possible.

Fourth Day - Night of the Museums

We get up quite early on Saturday - again - because Athens, too, takes part in the European Museum Day and opens the doors of their museums and monuments.

On top of our list: Acropolis. A Must-Go for every visitor of Athens, but the regular entrance fee is 20€. We decide to go there as early as possible, to avoid the expected masses of visitors. Around eight in the morning there are indeed only few people in the ruins and Linda, a girl from Poland we met during the Sunset Tour on Thursday and I take our time to read all the explanations offered around the buildings.

Very soon the sun heats the rock up like a stove and we leave the iconic site before the masses of visitors catch up with us.

We continue to the Acropolis Museum, a museum devoted to the findings on and around Acropolis and which highest floor is basically a replica of the Parthenon. We spend a few hours between marble statues and bronze finds, before we leave for lunch - with a short stop at the Olympeion, the big Zeus temple next to Hadrian’s Arch.

We’re already quite exhausted, but our need to explore and experience keeps us going - the War Museum is next on our list and we joke about the fact that 80% of the finds in there are German fabrications. I wasn’t even aware before we visited the museum how extensive the Nazi influence was in Greece.

The last hours before sunset we spend in the Ancient Agora, where we could also visit the Temple of Hephaestos, one of the best-preserved of the ancient Greek temples.

After sunset we make our way to the National Museum of Archaeology, but find it closed, to our great disappointment. Thus, we decide to simply take a seat in a nice bar and drink some Greek wine before going back to the Hotel to sleep.

Fifth Day - Visiting the SNFCC

Our last planned program is the visit of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center including a tour through the buildings.

The SNFCC is a pretty new building complex close to the coast - and thus a little outside of Athens - where the National Opera of Greece and the National Library are housed. The speciality of the building is the style it was built in - as energy-self-sufficient as possible. In fact, it is so self-sufficient that it earned the LEED Platinum certification for its energy budget.

After the tour through the rooms of the library and the opera we take a walk through the extensive park of the centre, including the roof of the building complex, before going back to the city where we meet the Polish girl again for cake and a bottle of retsina.

Sixth Day - Goodbye and the journey home

Fitting to our last day the weather is deteriorating, too, while we visit the oldest olive tree in Athens - 1.500 years it’s old and stands in front of the Hilton Hotel on a green island in the middle of a much-used junction.

We don’t really have any further plans for today and just stroll through the small roads before settling down in one of the nice and small parks of the old town to take about everything and nothing and rest our shoulders from carrying the luggage around.

There is a small Greek tavern just around the corner, where we decide to eat our early dinner - and thus stumble over the best restaurant by far we have tried in the last couple of days.

With the setting sun we get back to the airport where a nightly flight gets us back to Budapest, together with a few new running gags and many amazing memories.

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