Your patience is incredible and I’m so thankful that you continue to come back to my blog. I’m so sorry I don’t post as regularly. Trying to juggle everything isn’t as easy as I originally thought aka had no clue about, truthfully. (Thank goodness for social media though to keep us all a little connected!)
I still have to share so much of our Greece trip… the islands are coming next, but I thought I’d share Athens! I’ve also made up for a lack of posts, with this GIANT one. Happy scrolling and reading!
Athens is often written off as not being as beautiful, because it’s not the picturesque Greek islands you see in travel guides. That’s where I feel it’s misunderstood. There may be some urban decay, and a lot of graffiti, but it’s energy is something special. Perhaps it’s from the history and mythology, but if you really take the time to get to know Athens, you’ll feel it too!
We usually use Athens as our base, and then travel around from there. Sox’s sister, Sofi lives there and we are fortunate enough to stay with her when we visit. She was also in her element with Georgie. The love the two of them have for each other is pretty special. I’ve realised that George really does instinctually know who his family is. He behaves differently with family members, even those he doesn’t see all the time.
Speaking of, the last time we saw my sister, Tandi and brother in law Ross, was when George was 2 weeks old. One year later, we were meeting up in Greece (their first time to visit the country) and I was beside myself with excitement. I actually was weepy with how much I had missed them.
This was the pic we received from them… they were on their way and the excitement grew even more!
Sofi and Dimitra (my MIL) looked after Georgie for the day, while Sox, Ross, Tandi and I explored Athens. Just as well, because it ended up being a scorcher of a day and poor G would have suffered if he was out with us.
We took the train into Monastiraki. It’s one of the old neighbourhoods in Athens. It’s known for it’s flea markets, it’s also one of the shopping districts and has a hustle and bustle feel to it.
My sister loves cherries, and we bought 1kg of fresh cherries, for 99 cents, from this old mans fruit stall… I couldn’t help thinking about how much cherries from Woolworths cost and how much sweeter these were, for a steal.
We walked the markets. Laughed at these funny t-shirts…
Ate lunch at one of the oldest Taverna’s in Athens..We took a selfie with our waiter… and 2 photo bombers.
After a delicious lunch, Greek beers and wine… we continued walking on to Syntagma Square. It is located in front of the 19th century Old Royal Palace, housing the Greek Parliament since 1934.
We got to see the changing of the guards. The Evzones is a special unit of the Hellenic Army, also known as Tsoliades, who guard the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Hellenic Parliament and the Presidential Mansion. Through the historical movement of Greece, the Evzones have become symbols of bravery and courage for the Greek people.
I have so much respect for these men. They stand in thick, heavy outfits in the scorching heat / pouring rain and don’t flinch, while being perfectly in sync with their partner for the march. Crazy impressive.
The heat was unbearable at this stage and any shade we could find, we were standing under for some relief.
We moved on to the old Olympic Stadium, standing in it’s historic glory, the blue and white Greek flags flapping in the warm wind. It’s the only stadium in the World built entirely from marble. The first Olympic games of the modern era were held at this stadium in 1896 and was also partly used in the 2004 Olympic games. It really is quite majestic.
We didn’t stay too long, exposed in the direct sunlight and heat. Instead we took a yellow taxi to the entrance of the Acropolis!
It’s my second time here, and I could visit 100 more times. It is so special. It’s gobsmacking to imagine how it was built centuries ago and how it has lasted wars and canon ball explosions.
Despite all the tourists, I still feel you get the energy of the place.
After our visit, we visited the area, Plaka, which has quaint streets of cafes and stores.
We were in dire need of a refreshing, icy Freddo Cappuccino and found the perfect spot. A street of stairs, with cafe’s lining them and wafts of delicious Greek food
After an incredible day of exploring, we headed back home. I was missing George terribly and I know Tandi and Ross couldn’t WAIT to see him again, after a year!
The following morning we left early for the train to take us to the Ferry and off we went on our Island adventures… but more of that in the next post.
Part of our time in Athens, was spent with our nephews (Sofi’s sons) Yiorgos and Yianni. I LOVE spending time with them – they’re the nicest guys and so much fun! They are also Georgie’s First Cousins – so it’s really special!
This is George (Yiorgos) and George 🙂 So much love for his cousins!Yianni and George…
Another thing that made Athens really special was George started walking… a few steps and then he’d fall down…each time his confidence grew and he took more and more steps. Before we knew it, he was walking permanently! We left South Africa with a crawling baby and returned home with a walking toddler!
Yianni took us to The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, a complex in the bay of Faliro in Athens which includes new facilities for the National Library of Greece (NLG) and the Greek National Opera (GNO), as well as the 210,000 m² Stavros Niarchos Park.
What was so incredible about this place is the roof of the library is covered and planted with indigenous Greek plants! It’s a park on a roof. We ate incredible Greek food…
This is one of the most amazing chocolates… the plain (red and gold packaging) and this green and gold, which is Hazelnut – it tastes like Ferrero Rocher! DELICIOUS!
Oh and I have to tell you this… Sox and I had such a laugh.
Sofi and Dimitra wanted Georgie for the day and told us to go and do what we wanted. So instead of going for a date – like a lunch or a massage… We went to the IKEA! We’ve never been and we were in our element. People looked at us like we were mad for taking photos. We couldn’t stop laughing at how our lives have changed… IKEA, instead of romantic massages. We’re so domesticated now! Haha!
The cafeteria there is AMAZING. We were told to try the Swedish Hamburger and Meatballs. So YUM!
We also went to The Mall of Athens, where I shopped all the sales. Europe really knows how to do sales! No 20% or 30% off like we have in SA… Look:
When it was really too hot, we went to a nearby hotels pool to tan and swim…