We are making a mad dash to cross all of our Europe “bucket list” places to see. This week we went to Greece! It was a trip we had planned for Valentines and it was hard that we were not able to go Normy’s funeral (due to time and money constraints)—we thought of family the entire time. We flew over to Athens (quick flight) and after we arrived we took the metro to our hotel. Lady and I were both impressed with the cleanliness of the metro system. That was in stark contrast to the streets of Athens. There was graffiti EVERYWHERE. Actually for being a city with such a strong history, you could tell that it was in an economic crisis, there was so much of the city in disrepair.
We walked our way to the hotel and thanks to our GPS, there was long a detour…at least it was not hot while were we doing it, but we had our Lucky Dragon and luggage in tow. We did find a farmers market to shop in though. It reminded us so much of the Saturday market we buy all of our produce in Turkey. We stopped to buy some fruit for Tau’aho. Of course, as always, he draws all kinds of attention. People love him. We walked away from the market—as we do in Turkey—with handfuls of free food and gifts that people give to him (why do we even buy things?). I did find it interesting to bargain in Greek (I don’t speak any of it) because now I know how people feel in Turkey when they go to Bazaar—completely lost. That was a new sensation.
After we checked into our hotel, we made our way to the Acropolis. A site that has survived above Athens for thousands of years. Sadly, due to wars and looting the places are in bad shape compared to their glory days, however, Greece is working hard to restore some of them. It makes me a bit sad to see the way that the once center of Western Civilization now looks like it is in shambles. We walked on Mars Hill were philosophers shared wisdom and Paul taught one of his most famous sermons to the Athenians.
|Of course Lucky Dragon finally falls asleep and they tell us that we cannot have the stroller|
|Dionysis Theater on the Acropolis|
|A view of Athens from the top!|
|Temple of Hepheastus (this is what the Parthenon would look like had it not been destroyed)|
|Mars Hill where the Apostle Paul taught the Gospel|
|The Dragon wakes! RUN!!|
|From Mars Hill looking back at the Acropolis|
We wound around the tourist areas and saw more relics along our way. We ate some amazing food too! Lady Hiva and I loved to find the street venders and eat whatever treat they were selling. Some were worth it, others…not so much. One of our winners was a soft (think mochi) rice stick that was coconut flavored and covered in fresh coconut shavings…delicious! We had cheese on our fresh salads, we had flaming cheese, we tasted meat in all forms and we loved the tzatiki (Greek yogurt, dill, cucumber and a little bit of onion). Actually…sorry Turkish friends…Lady Hiva was more impressed by the Greek Baklava than the Turkish version (for those of you that don’t know, both cultures lay claim to its origin and are offended if the other gets credit...) One of the restaurants we liked the best was in the middle of nowhere, there was a protest in the city center so we could not get there and the taxi driver dropped us off at some place--I thought it was a scheme to get us to eat at his friends place, but it was legitimately delicious and the was kind enough to walk in and make sure they would call for a taxi when we were done! Lady found herself some authentic Greek leather sandals…and one pair wasn’t enough, she bought 3! Hehe.
|My two Valentines...|
|He likes selfies...|
|Salepi--it is a milky drink made from Orchid juices (it is the base of Turkish ice cream)|
|This is a Jamaican band drumming, Tau'aho LOVED it...He is our little musical child. We stood like this for nearly 30 minutes and he NEVER stands in one spot that long|
|RUN! The Dragon is coming|
|Who needs toys or a nanny? Just buy some pigeons|
We stopped at the Architectural Museum and saw some of the most famous pieces of Greek art (the ones that are still in Greece anyway, I feel like Rome, Istanbul and Paris all had their fair share of Greek Statues in their museums). It was amazing to see the details these pieces have even after all these years.
|National Architecture Museum|
|This is Zeus (some say it is Poseidon) it is a 3000 year old bronze statue they found in the bottom of the ocean|
|Replica of Athena that was in the Parthenon and taken to Istanbul then destroyed in war|
|Look at the detail...|
|The statue was cool...but the eyes were a bit creepy|