Thursday, 25 June 2015

Greece Getaway :: Athens

A late afternoon strolling the endless street cafes and small arcades on Ermou Street was well worth the effort. Being the main shopping street on foot between Syntagma square and Monastiraki square for Athens, no surprised there are many people on Ermou esp. for many of the big international names you have probably heard of. There are lots of shops on both sides, small or big, individually-owned or internationally-owned, like an outlet collection in the States but of course more fascinating.

On my first day in Athens, it was certainly fun to look around the Pandrossou Street Market. Great array of souvenir shops at very negotiable rates, definitely an interesting place to test your haggling skill. However, it started to look all the same with other markets after a few hours of exploring around. Similar items can be easily found with better quality, so don't rush and just bargain all you can to get a more realistic price! :)

Apart from shopping streets in the ancient Greece, there is a hill, rocky mound called an Acropolis, a Greek word meaning 'high city'. The Acropolis - the longstanding symbol of ancient Greece - was my only reason for visiting Athens; the ability of the ancient sights to unleash an imagination, a site to behold and see history unfold before my very own eyes. Though I am not exactly a history buff, neither am I the archaeology enthusiast nor an avid architect student who would study detailing on each columns or other relationships of the building like the spacing between the columns and their height, but I am certain of my passion in sightseeing and an avid interest in discovering myths and ancient stories (while traveling :p).

There, there you are about to see the Acropolis and the Parthenon as you scroll further down the page.

A view of Mount Lycabettus from halfway up to the top. We would've been able to make it to the other side to Mt. Lycabettus for the highest view across Athens if we rushed, but we did not. “Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.”, as quoted by Rose Kennedy. And, I believe that is where the majority of our very best moments have come from. :)

I, who likes to be mesmerised, would much prefer a slow travel that allows me to sieze every single moment to be happy. A fascinating kind. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic viewing spot to view across Athens. 

Odeon of Herodes Atticus - a stone-structured, open-air theatre located on the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens. The stone seats were added and the stage was restored using marble in the 1950s, since then it has been the main venue of the Athens Festival, and could host up to 5000 spectators. It'd be heaven if I ever get the opportunity to see a Greek theatre production here, imagine the feeling of a night concert under the Acropolis rock and the illuminated Parthenon with just a head tilt! :O

The Acropolis and the Parthenon.
Entry was 12 euros, but as students in the UK we entered for free.. of such heritage - instantly filled with awesomeness! :p The Parthenon: I remember seeing it in a hardcover ancient history book a year ago, and on 29th of May this year I have finally witnessed it in real life right in front of my eyes, it was literally a dreamlike setting in my story called "ROMA". The Parthenon is a former temple on the Acropolis dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Dated back to the 438 BC, the main function of the temple was to shelter the monumental statue of Athena that was made out of gold and ivory.

Although the reconstruction/rebuilding of the temple seems to never end covered with scaffolding and much of the structures are missing, the Parthenon is still nonetheless very impressive with its beauty that is always unfolding along with its history.

This elegant building is known as the Erechtheion, the so-called "Old Temple" of Athena dedicated to Athena, Poseidon, Erechtheus and other chthonic deities of Attica. According to the myth, this is where Athena's sacred snake lived. The sanctuary also contained the grave of Kekrops and the traces of the dispute between Athena and Poseidon for the possession of the city of Athens.
The south porch of Erechtheion with the Karyatides // Six female replicas on site serving as an architectural support taking the place of columns to support weight of the porch’s roof, while the originals are protected in the Acropolis museum. The female statues were named Karyatides after the young women from Karyai of Laconia who danced in honour of the goddess Artemis.
Six long Ionic columns, classical architecture of ancient Greece.
The history, the beauty, the marble and the view! Top-notch!
Greetings from Aussie x

Karamanlidika, this restaurant is definitely a real find in town. A brilliant spot to sit down and relax from a long day of exploration, whilst enjoying various local and fresh meats and cheeses from Greece. Not to mention, the staffs were extremely polite and helpful with our lack of knowledge of traditional Greek food. :p

Hanging from the ceiling are massive bunches of dried chilies, garlic, red peppers, legs of ham, strings of red sausages, and fat cheese, strung above the counter like Thanksgiving table setting.

Greek roast lamb with potatoes, it was generously well-seasoned with herbs, salt, pepper, and spices. The next one was a plateful of happiness - a variety of traditional Greek sausages served with Greek yogurt and mustard sauce as dips. I really, really loved both of them. No joke, truly appetising! :D :D :D

A plateful of cold-cut meats for two - ham and charcuterie - accompanied with deep fried garlic bread, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers.

My meal finished off with a complimentary dessert, Greek yogurt came with shredded carrots marmalade with honey poured over. It was cold, creamy and sweet, just the way I love it!

"Without downs, there wouldn’t be ups. Without dark, there wouldn’t be light." -Dalene Heck
To close, my Friday night ended beautifully with a breathtaking view of the Parthenon lit up at night, from the roof terrace/lounge of where I stayed for the night. Inexpressibly beautiful.


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