The day started with Steve waking me to ask what time I wanted to get up today. It was 6 am so the answer was NOW! So glad he checked and can’t believe I slept for nine hours; it must have been because of my cold.
Today I’d planned a group tour with Private Greek Tours and our meeting time at the Schooner Bar was 7:35 am.
We hurried and had breakfast (and of course coffee!) before going back to the room to get ready for the day.
Everyone (10 of us from the CruiseCritic roll call) was at the meeting place early and we headed off the ship after introductions. We were outside and saw our driver/guide with my name on a paper. He walked us the short distance to the minibus where we were quite comfortable and we were off 10 minutes early.
We first headed to the Acropolis and along the way George introduced himself and gave us some history. He was a high school math teacher in the past and speaks excellent English. He also had a cooler full of bottled water for us throughout the day.
Our first stop was the Acropolis and we knew about the three main sites in there thanks to George and what ticket to purchase. We agreed upon a meeting time at 10:00 am which gave us about 1 3/4 hours.
The combo ticket was 30 euros and you can charge it.
I must have taken a hundred pictures here. The first site we saw was the Temple of Herod Atticus.
The theater was originally built in 161 AD and then renovated in 1950. It’s still used today for concerts and even the Foo Fighters have performed there!
I believe the hill in the background is Muse Hill with Philopappu Monument on top. Then we headed to the entrance which was once part of a wall that around the acropolis.
This picture was taken on our way out which made me very glad we took off early and got here before it got too crowded. The steps through the door led to the Propylaea which was the monumental gateway. The marble on the ground could be quite slick.
The view above is the Eastern facade which is the other side of what you see in the previous photo. We headed to the Parthenon.
We were disappointed to see whole side was covered in scaffolding (the same thing happened to us when we visited the Trevi Fountain in Rome a few years ago).
We got a good view on the other side.
The Parthenon is a former temple to the goddess of Athena.
The perfect view from the back. We then wandered over to the Erectheion.
This was a temple dedicated to both Poseidon and Athena. Hmm, she got two temples?
This temple has the famous porch of the maidens (seen on the right).
They were magnificent although the rest of the building wasn’t shabby.
After admiring the view also from the top of the acropolis. We headed down to the meet the van.
We were all at the bus on time except for one couple that got lost on the way back but found us about 15 minutes late.
The next stop was the new Olympic stadium. It looked really huge to me.
That’s why it was surprising to learn it only seats 60,000 people. It’s also much longer than wide and as you can tell, open on one end. This was a quick stop as there really wasn’t much to see.
Athens Landmarks and Changing of the Guard
On our way to make the 11 am changing of the guard George made drove by the buildings known as the Athenian trilogy in architecture.
First up was the Academy of Athens.
This was my favorite and I wished we had to study everything going on in the relief at the top of the columns as well as the two statues of Athena and Apollo.
Next was the original University of Athens.
The last building in the trilogy was the National Library of Greece.
We got to the presidential mansion where the changing of the guard occurs about 10 minutes before the hour.
It was quite a sight and more impressive than I imagined.
If you watch the video above, please ignore my thumb in the first part of the video. I was thrilled with what we were able to see but it was hard sometimes with people crowding in.
Once the ceremony was over we all got back in the van to head to the Agora.
The rest of our day in Athens will be in a separate post. Until then check out the other parts of the recap you may have missed.
Next Vacation: Greek Isles Cruise
Port Plans for Greek Isles Cruise
Jewel of the Seas: Pre-Cruise Travel Day
Jewel of the Seas: Italy at Last
Hotel San Giorgio
Pre-Cruise Day in Civitavecchia
Jewel of the Seas: Embarkation
Jewel of the Seas: Messina, Savoca and Castelmola
Jewel of the Seas: Taormina and Messina
Jewel of the Seas: Sea Day 1
Jewel of the Seas: Mykonos
Jewel of the Seas: Chops Grille
Jewel of the Seas: Rhodes
Jewel of the Seas: Santorini