|The Temple of Hephaestus in the Ancient Agora|
|Athens (the big hill in the middle is Mount Lycabettus)|
|Statues on the Erechtheion (next to the Acropolis)|
A wee tip if you are doing the city sightseeing bus tour - don't bother with the Piraeus part, unless you are a big fan of cruise ships!
We visited the Panathenaic Stadium, which was amazing! It is an ancient stadium that hosted the first modern Olympic Games & is built entirely from white marble.
When we visited the only other people to be seen were a group of women in traditional dress, walking around very slowly & men in Olympic jackets looking cold. We were trying to work out exactly what was happening (without just staring... it felt like we'd just walked in on some ceremony) & saw them light a torch several times, using the sun & a big metal dish.
Turns out that we had stumbled upon a dress rehearsal for the European Youth Olympic Festival lighting ceremony, which was the next day. So cool!
After the Olympic group left (we had been slowly wandering round listening to the audio tour), we were given free reign of the stadium - so I couldn't resist posing on the podium (I'm number one!) and Craig ran a lap!
The other big destination on our trip was the Acropolis & Parthenon - it's such an iconic site and it was amazing to be up close and walk around in such a historic place! Again it was super quiet when we were visiting, so it did feel really special to stand in the middle of such history and look out over Athens.
Just down from the Parthenon is an Ancient Agora, with a big temple in the middle of beautiful ruins & gardens. We sat here for ages and it was my favourite moment of the whole trip. There was a market near by, so we could hear music & chattering voices filter through the trees, but it was so calm and peaceful and quiet! I sketched the temple (annoyingly I only had a ballpoint pen, but I'm quite happy with the outcome!), and just basked in the sunshine.
There had been a bit of trouble in the city at the start of the year, so we were at first a bit cautious about going to places where the locals had been protesting... but we really didn't need to worry! There wasn't a bit of trouble (although there was a lot of angry graffiti) and everyone was so nice and friendly. The whole city had such a relaxed feel to it, and they have the shiniest metro I've seen - even cleaner than Hong Kong's!
Can you tell I'm a bit in love with Athens?
If you are looking for a weekend away I'd definitely recommend it - I want to go back!