Sunday, 4th September 2022
An Early Start
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’d planned an early start from my Piraeus hotel to reach the Acropolis entrance in time for its opening at 8am. I woke slightly before my 6:15am alarm, having had a mixed night’s sleep: I’d drifted off quickly enough but woke in the early hours for the toilet and struggled to get back to sleep again, though I must have eventually.
I had a cool shower, packed my camera gear, water and biscuits, and then set off north towards Piraeus Metro Station. My only breakfast was a protein shake and biscuits, but I figured that would see me through until lunchtime.
Athens Acropolis and Parthenon
To reach the Acropolis, I took the green metro line 1 to Monastiraki station, north of the Acropolis hill; then, I walked south past Hadrian’s Library and the Roman Forum until I reached the western entrance. It was just before 7:45am when I joined the small queue, which grew considerably over the next few minutes – I’d timed my arrival perfectly. When the gates opened at 8am, I scanned my combo ticket and was one of the first visitors of the day heading straight up to see the iconic Parthenon:
Despite the renovation work, it was a truly magical sight, and I was glad to have got there early to see it before the crowds arrived. In addition to the historic buildings, the Acropolis also offers superb views over the city of Athens:
I walked around the Acropolis summit, taking in the sights and absorbing the experience of such an important historical location.
More Acropolis and Museum
As the area got busier with tourists, I started my descent back through the Temple of Athena Nike and east across the south side of the Acropolis. There are many sights to see along the way, including the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (pictured at the top of the post).
Eventually, I reached the gates at the southeastern corner and noticed the Acropolis Museum just opposite. Although it wasn’t included in my Athens combo ticket, it seemed a shame not to visit while I was nearby. The ticket cost €10, which seemed reasonable given the museum’s size and I enjoyed walking around and looking at the statues and relics mostly excavated from the Acropolis itself.
In need of a caffeine hit, I was pleased to discover that the museum has a spacious cafe on the third floor, with excellent views back towards the Acropolis. My latte was rather pricey at €4.60, but it gave me a chance to rest away from the heat and did come with a nice little biscuit!
Temple of Zeus
I finished my museum experience by going downstairs to see the excavation work underneath the building, then headed east towards the Temple of Zeus, as it was the next closest sight included with my Athens combo ticket.
I crossed the main road and headed north past Hadrian’s Arch:
Unfortunately, the Temple of Zeus itself was undergoing heavy renovation work and was entirely covered by scaffolding, so it turned out to be a bit of a wasted journey. The site is quite plain, and there’s nothing else to see so I left after walking around for about 10 minutes.
I was pretty exhausted by this point, having slept poorly and not eaten much so I decided to head back to the hotel and tackle the rest of the sights tomorrow. I’d already passed the Acropolis metro station when I realised it was the closest one (plus it’s not on the same line as Piraeus), so I continued northwest and arrived at Thesio station instead. The ride back to Piraeus was straightforward, and the metro wasn’t busy, so by 1pm I was back in my room needing a nap. I drank my second protein shake before lying down to rest.
Afternoon Snacks and Dinner
I slept for about 45 minutes, but it was enough to revive me. I woke up hungry and needing more coffee, so I headed towards Coffee Berry, only to discover it closed early on a Sunday afternoon. Not to be defeated, I remembered seeing a Starbucks near the marina yesterday, and although I’m not a massive fan of their coffee, any caffeine is better than nothing! Luckily, on my way there I spotted another cafe called Everest, so I was saved from Starbucks and rewarded myself with a couple of cookies!
Back at the hotel, I spent some time reviewing the photos and videos from the morning’s sightseeing and was pleased with it. I fancied Chinese food for dinner and, remembering Dongchang’s near the marina got showered and headed there. The food was good, but I was the only person again – I must stop eating so early!