A (long) Weekend in Athens
Greece is one of the most interesting countries that I’ve traveled to. The rich history in and of itself is enough to draw crowds interested in seeing the famous Acropolis, Delphi or any of the other amazing sites. The weather draws even more crowds to the splendid islands and incredible shore of mainland Greece. It is a country that truly has something for every different type of traveler that visits it’s welcoming shores. And a country that truly thrives on visitors and tourists, and welcomes them with Philoxenia, the Greek word without direct translation. The meaning is to provide hospitality to strangers as if they were your own family.
I stayed with family on this trip but have experienced that wonderful Greek virtue many times before. And though I was not a stranger to my cousins I was treated to that same wonderful level of hospitality for my weekend in Athens. It was a long Easter weekend in the United Kingdom, where I live, and we had off Friday through Monday for a Bank Holiday- so I chose to travel to Athens for a long weekend in a country who were not (yet) celebrating Easter that weekend.
And though I was visiting family in Greece, and taking the opportunity to catch up with them, I was also able to explore quite a lot of Athens. I benefited from having local guides, and even a short (relatively, as it was a 1.5 hour drive) trip out to Cape Sounion.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the trip was when I visited the Acropolis Museum. I have been to Athens once before, in 1999 when I was significantly younger, and the museum had not even broken ground back then. This is a world class museum dedicated to the Acropolis. The work they have done with the museum, from the design to the exhibits, is absolutely stunning. If for nothing else I would visit Athens again, and again, just to see this magnificent museum. The details of the building are inspiring and help put true perspective on the Parthenon and Acropolis itself, within view of the Museum. When the builders had found ancient ruins while breaking ground they had found a clever way to incorporate those ruins with the design of the building, including glass walkways that allow you to traverse over the ancient site. The building is designed to be the same dimensions as the Parthenon, and give close perspective as to the true size of the standing ruins high upon the hill.
I found Athens to be absolutely fascinating. Though it is not a beautiful city, as much of it was constructed in the 1960s, it is a remarkable city. There is beauty throughout the city, if you look at the ancient ruins, or the beautiful houses staring up at the Acropolis, there are various areas where such beauty can be discovered.
If you look beneath the surface you might even fall in love with Athens, as I did.
Stops on the Trip:
- Acropolis (Parthenon, Odeon, Propilea, Erectheum)
- Acropolis Museum
- Hadrian’s Library
- Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon