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Athens: History, Sites & Snacks

Here's your guide (from our experiences) for Athens!

Greece has always been on our bucket list & we were lucky enough be able to kick-off our summer at 3 popular spots in Greece: Athens, Santorini & Mykonos. We will share more on the latter two in other posts, but for now we focus on all things Athens!

We arrived on a cloudy afternoon, found our way through customs & met up with the van from our hotel just outside of the arrivals gate. Once in the van, we were on our way - passing beautiful towns on the hillsides and in the valleys along the highway. We started to slow down as we entered into the city. We passed a variety of storefronts, restaurants, bars and hotels until we came to a stop - the Parliament building on left, our hotel the Hotel Grande Bretagne on the right.

Welcomed at the curb by the bellmen & escorted to the front desk we checked in & were shown to the room. The hallways were ornately decorated, long and sometimes difficult to navigate, this was either due to the drinks the bartenders were serving, or wanting to focus on the intricate details of the art on the walls, or a mix of the two!

Tired from the long overnight flight, we spent the afternoon picking at traditional Greek food at the rooftop pool restaurant while looking out over the beautiful city & hearing the splashes from the other guests in the pool before heading back down to the room to catch up on some much needed z's.

After waking up, we got ready to head out on our first adventure and enjoy our first night in Athens! We made our way down to the lobby bar where my husband rekindled his love with Old Fashions before calling a taxi to dinner at a nearby restaurant, Milos.

We were seated, handed the menus & were told about the pre-fix menu offered for dinners. Typically, we would dive right into the tasting menu however we saw so much which we wanted to try, so we chose the a la carte menu. Hearing of the fresh caught specials of the day is one thing but when the waiter asked us to get up and come see the fish in the kitchen, we knew we were in for a special evening! It really was a great night, we shared all of the plates but our favorite was the lobster Athenian pasta paired with (what became our favorite white wine) a local Malagousia.

Athens was beautiful during the day, but even more stunning after the sunset. The rooftop bar at The Hotel Grande Bretagne overlooks the Acropolis which is absolutely breathtaking illuminated at dusk. We closed out our first night with a drink at the bar overlooking an incredible piece of Grecian history. Luckily we made it a point to get up there the first night because our second and final night was bad weather & the outdoor rooftop was closed. (Travel tip...don't wait! If you see something, try it! Chances are you won't get back there later in your trip although you think you may!)

Bad weather was an absolute understatement. Day two was our walking tour of Athens & not even the largest umbrella would have kept us dry! We started out at our hotel walking down past the Parliament building & then on toward the National Garden. From there we went off the main streets and began an ever so slight incline beginning our adventure toward the Acropolis.

On our way we saw beautiful multi-million dollar homes, facing the monument, belonging to past politicians of the city. From the center of the city the structure looks like it's miles up but until we got to the immediate base and subsequently, entrance to the attraction, it felt as though we were on a flat surface.

Seeing the Acropolis was a breath taking experience, and even in bad weather, standing at the top of the hill looking over the city was an out of body experience.

It's incredible to read about these stories of Gods & Goddesses but then to see where tales originated is unlike anything we'd ever seen before.

Having booked a walking tour, we gained entry to the Acropolis museum where, because of the terrible weather, it was extremely over crowded. We did the abbreviated version of the tour with our guide who touched on many of the exhibits we talked about on the tour of the actual monument. If there is one bit of advice for your time in Athens, it's to book a walking tour! You gain a real understanding of where you are, what you are seeing and it helps you to take in and discern where you are and the significance of each object, building, etc.

After the tour, we were wet, tired & sore so we decided to relax by the indoor pool before dinner...but we'll touch on that in our next post! Get ready for all things Hotel Grande Bretagne coming soon!

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