Our friends gave us a heads-up that Athens was the opposite of the small fishing village we currently stay at. They were right.
Early in the morning we drove the car to a city closeby where we took the train to Athens. We slowly got prepared because of the dirt and trash piling up along the way.
When we arrived at Athens Central station we were greeted by heat, more dirt, trash and a lot of traffic. We did not expect a city with such a rich and well-known history to be this neglected. Beautiful buildings completely riddled with graffiti and dirt, a lot of just abandoned properties. Some streets just simply did not feel safe. There were abandoned stores and dark alleys, and to think that this was right in the city Centre.
Things did get into a better shape when we were closing in to the touristy areas.
First we saw the exchange of the guards that guard “the grave of the unknown soldier”. You can compare it to the guards near the palace in London. There is a small ritual to change the guards every hour. The guards are standing in the heat without any water or food. Pretty cool.
We entered the Acropolis. After we climbed the mountain we arrived at the top we were kind of disappointed. From down below the area looked promising, but we were not able to see through the cranes, temporary buildings and scaffolds. There were so many that you could barely see any of the actual site. It was a real bummer.
We headed to the Ancient Angora after lunch, an area filled with ruins and small temples. In this place no scaffolds but you also had a very clear view of the Acropolis on top of the mountain. From here we could really appreciate the ancient architecture.
To escape the heat we went to the History Museum. This museum was filled with ancient art, varying from marble sculptures to gold ornaments and jewelry and vases. It was very nice to walk around through and see these extremely old pieces. We did not take any photos here sadly.
After the museum we took the train back home. We think Athens is one of the first places we will not come back to. But we are glad we see some great leftovers of history.
National History Museum: https://www.nhmuseum.gr/en