Climbing the rocks of Mars Hill ... incredible view of the city (below) and the Acropolis (above)
Several rescued statues now on display at the Acropolis Museum
The view of the Acropolis at night is stunning!
I know this may be super obvious to everyone, but they don't celebrate Thanksgiving in England. :) That Thursday is just another day in the city of London, but because we are at an American school, they give us the time off. Its not a European holiday, and so its the best time to travel- low fares, no crowds, decent weather still... we decided to book a last-minute trip to Athens and take advantage of this! We were all looking forward to sunshine and warmer weather and seeing Greece! I've never been and was really excited to see and learn about this ancient city that you study so much in school growing up (thats what we kept telling the kids, "you will learn about this one day and you can now say 'I've been there- I've seen the Acropolis!'").
We landed on Wednesday afternoon and drove to our hotel in the Plaka, the old historical neighborhood clustered around the Acropolis (also called the "Neighborhood of the Gods"). We knew it wasn't beach weather, so we splurged a little on a hotel with an indoor pool so the kids could go swimming too (which they loved because they haven't been swimming in 6 months!!). I have to admit, driving through Athens is a little bit of a let-down...the city feels run-down, old, dirty, and not in the best upkeep at all. I was worried that we were going to run out of things to do in the 5 days we had planned to stay. But, as long as we are together, right?!? :)
We finally arrived back in Athens on Saturday morning, ready for showers and clean clothes. After letting the girls swim for a couple of hours, we got ready and walked the 15 minutes to the Acropolis. We found a tour guide outside and she was this adorable, sweet older lady that used to live in St. John's Wood! Crazy. Anyway, she was a true veteran of all things ancient Greece so she gave us a great tour- it made it even better that we could hardly understand her through her thick accent, definitely made it more authentic! We loved it. The ruins are incredible...I kept saying that I wish I could snap my fingers and just briefly go back in time to see what life was like 2,500 years ago when the Parthenon was finished.
The views of the city from the Acropolis were amazing...you could see how people thought it was the center of the world with its rolling hills set right on the vast Aegean Sea. The stories of the ancient Athenian Gods and their part in this history is always so interesting too. We finished our tour with a delicious dinner on the roof of a restaurant under the eye of the Acropolis and in the heart of the Plaka before finishing up our night at the incredible Acropolis Museum.
The next morning, we were able to attend church right in Athens, directly across from the ruins of the temple of Zeus. I seriously love going to church in different parts of the world- it really is one of my favorite things. We flew out shortly after the meetings ended. We left Greece with stars in our eyes- our initial hesitation about how the trip was going to go, all of its ups and downs and amazing sights packed those 5 days chock-full of memories that we hold so close- it was a trip we will never forget and we really just have the warmest feelings about our time in this incredible country. It has been one of our favorite trips because of the unforgettable memories we made together.