Vacation 2013 - Egypt & Greece, Day 11 "Athens"

Saturday, May 4, 2013 – Day 11

For our last full day in Greece, we had booked a half-day Athens Sightseeing & New Acropolis Museum Tour. We caught sight of our bus driver as he was pulling up to pick us up at our hotel and realized it was Nicolai who had been driving our bus during the last tour. Lo and behold, he drove us to connect with the tour guides for the trips, and we were reunited with George, the tour guide whom we had been with since day 2 of Greece. We were so amused. 

Our first stop was the Panathenaic Stadium, "a classical cultural and touristic monument of Greece and one of the most significant monuments not only for Athens, but for the whole [of] Greece". Its located on the site of an ancient stadium and this is where the first Olympic Games of modern times was held. It is the place where the Olympic flame begins its journey to the cities hosting the Olympic Games.
Ooh, and look what you can spy in the distance - the Parthenon!
It fits perfectly in the palm of a hand. ;-)
Most of the morning involved "drive-by site-seeing", not my favorite style. Along the way, we saw the Prime Minster's residence guarded by the Euzones, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Hadrian's Arch, the Parliament and memorial to the Unknown Soldier, and Constitution Square. Too much, too fast; I really wish we'd been able to take everything in better.


Then we arrived at the New Acropolis Museum. A good deal of the floors here are paved with thick glass panels so visitors can look through and see the excavations. I thought this was really neat but anyone with a fear of heights disagreed.  

We headed inside the museum and put away the camera as this was another place where we weren't allowed to take pictures.  Stupid museums and their stupid rules, grumble, grumble, grumble.  ;-)

There was a lot to see, but George led us through fairly quickly. We headed up to the Acropolis of Athens to see the remains of several historic ancient buildings.
The view of Athens was pretty spectacular as we reached the top.

The crowds
The Parthenon
And so this was Greece!
We had a tour booked for the afternoon to go to Cape Sounion where we were planning to see the Temple of Poseidon. So, we waited at the designated pick-up spot...and waited...but no bus ever came. It was the day before the Greek Orthodox Easter and a lot of tours weren't running. We were disappointed, but not terribly so - we were kind of beat anyway. We contacted the tour operators as soon as we got home and promptly received a refund.  

With dread, we realized that tomorrow was Easter and we were planning to take the metro back to the airport and wondered if that might impact our trip.  It turns out it wasn't so much the holiday that disrupted our return trip but the 24-hour strike of the National Railroads employees. There was a sign posted near the metro station directing us to which bus lines we could take to get to the airport. A little stressful but we made it in one piece.

Then there was little to do but cram into a little airport seat and watch movie after movie and several episodes of the Big Bang Theory while we traveled across the Atlantic.  Our flight out from Athens was at 10:05 AM and just over 13 hours later we would arrive at O'Hare at 5:25 PM.  


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