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Old 08-09-2013, 05:34 PM   #23
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 151

Day 9 - Athens on Your Own

We were very excited to visit Athens. DH and I had both visited before, albeit briefly, and we wanted to share this adventure with our kids.

Our kids are big Percy Jackson/Rick Riordan fans, so they were happy to visit sites that were relevant to the book series.

On this trip we chose to do the Athens on your own excursion through Disney. I need to clarify up front that in preparation for our trip we had purchased/ downloaded a video course by Dr John Hale from The Great Courses company about travelling through Greece and Turkey. NOTE: do NOT pay full price for this course if you check it out, they put their courses on sale every couple of weeks. The lectures were an excellent source of research. We also copied the relevant episodes related to Athens, Mykonos and Ephesus to my iPad for reference, though we were pretty much too busy to watch them during the trip.

When we checked out the Disney excursions available they did not have an excursion that covered all of the sites that we wanted to see. Based on the two 30 minute videos on Athens by Prof Hale, we felt very comfortable checking out the sites in Athens that we wanted to see on our own.

It was another early morning start and we had to meet in the Walt Disney Theatre at 8:15 am. We were herded to the bus very efficiently, and perhaps even ahead of time as everyone was there nice and early. The tour company provided a guide for the relatively short bus ride, and he provided us with maps, water bottles and a running commentary on our surroundings. The bus dropped us off at the Arch of Hadrian in Athens shortly after 9:00 am, and we had to return there by 2 pm. We quickly walked the short distance to the Acropolis and bought our tickets to get in. Tickets for adults cost 12¬ each, and tickets for kids cost 6¬ each, but we had to show their student IDs, not just the kids, in order to get the reduced price! These tickets then gave you access to the majority of the sites around the 'rock'.

The queue for tickets was long but moved fast (and was a separate line to the left of the entrance queue). We also chose to divide and conquer, and while DH and DS bought the tickets, DD and I lined up in the entrance queue. And the entrance queue was a massive choke point of people, mostly tour groups at this hour, as Rick Steves describes in his guidebook.

We amused ourselves while we waited by watching stray dogs that seem to be everywhere in Athens.

We managed to actually make it through the line up and through the main entrance gate by 10 am (roughly) and then we viewed (when I say viewed I usually mean took pictures of) the Odeon of Herodes Atticus on our way up the hill.

Once finally through the Propylaea (another choke point), the view you get of the Parthenon is actually the back of it, and right now it is under heavy scaffolding and re-construction, the 'postcard' view that you probably want is around the other side, near the base on the left as you look at it (which is probably where Mickey was standing in Disney's Greece publicity photos).

After viewing the Parthenon from the entry, we headed left towards the temple of Athena, i.e. the small building with the Erectheion and the Porch of the Caryatids.

We wandered around the buildings and checked out the view of Athens, including the long distance views of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Arch of Hadrian and the Temple of Hephaestus from high above,

from near the huge flag of Greece,

we took our postcard family pictures of the Parthenon and then headed back down off the 'rock'.

Two things to note, first, up on the Acropolis it is extremely windy and dusty, and second, leaving the Acropolis takes about as long as climbing up, again due to the choke point at the Propylaea.

Last edited by Scraptographer; 08-29-2013 at 09:03 PM.
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