The lands of the gods, as most people call the Greek state because many mythological stories developed and originated in Greece. However, here I will not discuss Gods, but will discuss my holiday in Athens.
I finally arrived at Piraeus at 11 pm. Piraeus is a port city on the outskirts of the lands of the gods, Athens, by boarding the Blues Star Ferries from Santorini. The distance is quite far from the city center like Monastiraki area or Syntagma Square, about 30 minutes by metro.
Knowing it would be late, I had booked a hotel in the Piraeus area, not in the city center. With a capital of 500 thousand, I can be an equivalent lodging facility with a hotel worth 1 million in Monastiraki or Syntagma Square. Probably because of its location in the suburbs so the price is cheap. However, that does not mean that access is difficult. Ports and metro stations are a step away. There is also an X96 bus express for Piraeus Airport destinations.
After check-in, I was in a hurry to sleep. It’s because the plan is tomorrow at 7 am I have to go up the metro to the historical site of the Acropolis. According to the recommendations I read on the internet, it is very important to arrive at the Acropolis early in the morning before a group of cruise ship tourists comes. They usually start packing the Acropolis around 10 am. If it comes together, get ready to get trapped in a sea of people. Especially this in the middle of summer. Also, avoid the heat of Athens weather during the day.
The First Day …
Yes finally, it’s time to get around in the lands of the gods. Although it was intended to get up earlier, it turns out that I was only able to wake up at 7 am and was able to walk out of the hotel at 8 am. Although it was late before 9 o’clock I was at the Acropolis.
It is not difficult to take the metro from Piraeus to the Acropolis. Simply go up the Green Line metro down at Omonia then split up the metro red line down at the Acropolis. Once out of the metro has many clues that lad to the entrance of the Acropolis.
Metro in Athens is very simple. Only consists of three lines: the red line, green line, and blue line. Many people said that the second oldest number in the world so many metro terminals that look shabby and a lot of carts that are outdated. In fact, some of its chariots are not air-cooled. At least every station already looks clean and does not look many beggars roam.
The metro ticket in Athens is not a long-distance payment. However, calculated per 90 minutes after validation, can be used in and out of any metro station except the airport for one ticket for 1.4 euros.
Make sure before boarding we already validate the ticket at the machine near the entrance. If caught has not validated or do not have a ticket, we can be fined 60X from the ticket price. While I am being lazy to bother, prefer to use 24-hour tickets for 4.5 euros. Valid 24 hours after first validation.
Uniquely all metros in Athens are not equipped with barrier bars either at the entrance or exit. So actually without a ticket, we can ride the train. However, if caught by officers, get ready to be fine.
During my journey from Piraeus to the Acropolis, I saw a different face of Athens with Santorini. If in Santorini memorable glamorous while Athena looks shabby and dull. It was only in last 2015 Greece hit by financial crisis.
The impact can be seen clearly from the abundance of buildings in Athens abandoned in the absence of funds to renovate. And almost the whole city is filled with graffiti streaks as a form of expression of the population of Athens. For those who are not used to living in “quirky” areas, Athens may be less comfortable. However, actually, Athena is relatively safe. Most avoid only Omonia area which he said less tourist-friendly.
Arriving at the Acropolis, I immediately queue to buy tickets. The ticket price is 20 euros, but it also sells tickets for 30 euros which includes all Acropolis fee-fees, Ancient Agora, Hadrian’s Library, Roman Agora, and the Temple of Zeus. Good enough to get around in the lands of the gods. Since all the sites were outdoors and I was lazy, I bought a special Acropolis ticket only. It’s because just the Acropolis my only goal came to Athens.
Once inside the Acropolis, I immediately rushed to the Acropolis icon of the Parthenon. It turns out to be located on the hill so we must hike about 20-30 minutes. Arriving at the Parthenon Temple I was instantly amazed at how magnificent and giant the temple building is. Somehow the ancients made it.
From there too, I can enjoy the 360-degree view of Athens. Other historical sites such as the Odeon of Herod Atticus, Theater of Dionysus, and Temple of Olympian Zeus can be seen clearly. Luckily the group of cruise ship tourists has not come many. So, I can enjoy the beauty of the Parthenon Temple as much as possible, although it cannot be said to be empty of visitors as well.
Odeon of Herod Atticus and the Theater of Dionysus.
It was only after two times around the temple, a group of tourists began to arrive and I was getting ready to get out. Then, I went to visit the Odeon of Herod Atticus and the Theater of Dionysus. Both are the amphitheater, but the Odeon of Herod Atticus has a larger size and capacity.
When the sun is right above the head, the weather gets very hot. Added to the sky without the clouds of Athens became increasingly blazing. I hastily left the Acropolis and took shelter in the rows of shops of the Syntagma Square area.
Not felt after coming in and out of the store, all of a sudden I’ve arrived in the area of Monastiraki. Not far from the square there is a famous flea market. Sells a variety of vintage, ancient, and antique vintage. In addition to a variety of cheap souvenirs ranging from olive oil, olive soap, pistachio nuts, leather bags, Greek dishes, refrigerator patches, and much more. Also, a lot of fruit dealers at a super cheap price.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
In the afternoon when it was not too hot. I went back to the Acropolis for an afternoon stroll at the Temple of Olympian Zeus history site and visited Plaka and Anafiotika. Plaka is a souvenir center in Athens while Anafiotika is a residential area with a typical Greek atmosphere.
Later that night I stopped by one of the big shopping malls in Athens before turning to Piraeus. Its name is Metro Mall, right in front of Metro Aghios Dimitrios exit. Ordinary mall, nothing special. Inside the mall itself, I rarely see foreign tourists. The average locals who hang out after doing work. There was also a “meet and greet” local artist that is full of packed teenage girls.
The Next Day …
The next day was my last day in the lands of the Gods Athens. I would go straight to Rome, Italy rides Ryan Air. From Piraeus, we can take the metro or take a bus to the airport. Can also take a taxi, but can rush out of money for the journey 1-1.5 hours.
I prefer to take the bus because it is more practical. Simply once up, no need to mutually line like a metro ride. The price is the same, seven euros one way with a long travel 1-1.5 hours.
My advice should not be too late to come to the airport. Especially if you ride Low-Cost Budget Airlines. When I arrived at the Ryan Air counter, the drop luggage queue was long. There are only two booths serving economy class and two counters for business class.
Luckily I bought a business class ticket so did not wait too long in line. Just make sure to do web check-in and to print out the previous boarding pass if you do not want in a fine of dozens of euros. Then, check in I immediately strolled into the waiting room and prepared to start the adventure in Rome, the eternal city.
Good Bye, The Lands of the Gods, Athens.