We spontaneously decide to take a little mini vacation before our planned trip later this month (to Iceland). Our first plan was to fly to Helsinki, take the train to St. Petersburg and fly back home. But because of visa regulations in Russia we didn’t have enough time, so that trip is something we will do later. So the choice fell on Athens instead.
We were to depart 6:30 Thursday morning, and the flight took about 3h and 50min.
We arrived at the airport, retrieved our luggage and went to find the train station. We took the train from the airport to the “Syntagma”, changed trains and got of at “Acropolis”.
The “Royal Olympic Hotel” was supposed to be nearby, but we struggled a bit to find it. A taxi driver noticed that we were confused, so he asked if he could help us – and we said yes, please! The hotel was actually not that far from us, and it looked really good! We checked in and were told that we hade been upgraded to a suite with panoramic views of the “Temple of Zeus”.
- Hotel Royal Olympic
- Our suite
- Buttons by the bed
After we had relaxed a bit in the suite, we made a reservation at the hotel’s restaurant located on the roof with a great view.
Then we went out to become familiar with the surrounding area.
We also made some plans for the next few days, and booked guided sightseeing for Friday including the Acropolis Museum.
Early Friday morning we were picked up outside the hotel 8:20 – it turned out that the company that organized the trip was right next to the hotel, so that was convenient. Slightly behind schedule, we sat in the bus and got a guided tour around town with a few stops here and there until we finished at the museum. We went for lunch, shopped some souvenirs and explored the surroundings.
The next day was dedicated to the City Sightseeing “hop on hop off” bus, we feel that the bus allow us to see the most important sights efficiently. In addition, there is a very convenient way to get around the city
We jumped on the bus that went out towards the coast, where we stepped off to find a place to eat. We were lured into a place some guy told us they served food, so we took a seat. But it turned out that the only edible they had on the menu was a salad with shrimp – which we ordered. And it was fair enough. We were also served chips beside the drinks.
We also went to a market, ate ice cream, wandered around, shopped and ate a bad dinner before we headed back to the hotel and ordered room service to get a little more food in our stomachs.
Sunday morning we got up, packed our stuff, checked out and went to eat breakfast. Then we returned to the marked we were the day before (since we bought two days tickets we use the hop on hop of bus to get around). But the market had now become a flea market. Really just a lot of garbage (such as used cutlery and old mobile phone chargers).
We sat down for a drink in the heat, and witnessed a few street sellers suddenly without any warning jumped on each other and started fighting, without releasing the fake watches and other crap they held in their hands. Then some other fellow sellers came and they got them separate before they went in different directions and without any more arguments…
After a while we had to think about getting back to the hotel to change and get ready for departure.
At the airport we check in and got through the boarding pass control and security (where our cameras were carefully checked, and I got patted down). And then it turned out that all the shopping and restaurants were before the security control. Because of all the hassle at the security, we could not bear to go through it one more time… Luckily there was a (small) shop where we at least could buy some (less good) baguettes, as well as snacks and something to drink.
The flight went well and after we landed at the airport we were told that there would be an ID check as we stepped off the plane. As we were greeted by three police officers who checked id’s of all the passengers (the police car were parked right outside the plane). It made us a little curious, but we still don’t know why everyone was checked. Maybe just a random routine control.