Sunday, January 10, 2016

Christmas Day in Athens

Christmas day was a public holiday in Athens so all the museums and sites were closed, but we were lucky to find a "free walking tour" which had us setting off from our hotel at 9am.  Our guide was an archaeologist, unemployed due to the recession, and earning money this way while finishing a PhD.

We started with a walk past the library, and then the Academy of Athens pictured below with it's statues of Athena and Apollo and lower down. Plato and Aristotle.  It was built in the late 1800's and styled to reflect an older form of architecture.  I've included the colourful freize because it shows what many of the buildings from 500BC would have looked like.

 Below is the Panthanaic Stadium which was rebuilt, again in the late 1800s in time for the first modern Olympic games in 1896.  The original games were in 330BC on the same site. 

temple of Hephaistos

We had climbed Philopappou Hill behind our hotel and again another great view of the Acropolis.  Even our Christmas dinner restaurant, Strofi, overlooked it, all light up at night - quite magical. 

On Boxing day, again with everything closed we took a tram ride to the coast.  It was about 15C and there were a few hardy souls in swimming. 

 The next day our plans went out the window as there was a strike by maintenance people so again everything was closed.  But for some reason on our walkabout we found this site, Keramikos to be open.  This was the potters quarters but also a cemetery and was on a major road out of the city. 

That day we also climbed Lycabettus Hill (somehow we missed the funicular!) and enjoyed the view of the church on top and the view of Athens as we went down. 

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