Athens was on our short list for a long time and when we came across four round trip tickets from Frankfurt to Athens for under $400.00, we were ecstatic.
Our flight departed at 06:10 from Frankfurt, so we left Stuttgart at 01:30. It only took about two and half hours to get there, but because we parked in the long term parking, we watned to make sure we had enough time to get to the terminal. The shuttle bus started running at 04:00 and luckily were able to park and hop directly on the bus.
When arrived at the Ryan Air terminal in Frankfurt, there was a rather long line. Fortunately I had paid a little extra for the pre-boarding pass. After checking in and getting through customs, we anxiously waited to board our flight.
It was a quick flight and after we arrived in Athens we quickly found the trains and followed our AirBnB host's directions until we arrived at the Kerameikos station. From there it was only about a 800 meter walk to the apartment. Once we'd settled in, I walked to the local market to pick up some staples for our stay. We ventured out and came across a small Christmas Market. We paid our nominal admission fee and sauntered in. It was a typical European Christmas Market with rides, food and various booths with items for sale. After about two hours, we searched for a restaurant and found a wonderful gyro restaurant where we all enjoyed some delicious gyros, fries and Greek beer.
We woke up pretty early on the 16th of December in order to hit all the items on our itinerary. We grabbed a few subway tickets and took the M1 line one stop and began our adventure.
We purchased a family pass to see all the ruins and, if you intend to knock all the archeological sites off your list I would recommend you do the same. If you only intend to see a select few, then it's probably more fiscally responsible to a la carte your tickets.
We started with the Roman Forum, which provided access to all sorts of ancient temples, alters and other buildings which were part of the booming city center. After lunch we we headed up to Aeropagus Hill and onward to the the Acropolis, with the Parthenon and the Theatre of Dionysus, was our favirte of all the archeological sites. From the top of the hill, one can see all of Athens. The idea that this city was once entirely built of temples and monuments is almost to great to imagine. I sat in awe of such amazing sights. From the top of the hill, we spotted the Temple of Zeus and raced down the high hill to make our next stop. Acropolis.
When we arrived, we learned the gates to enter had already been closed. A little disappointed, I began to scower my pamphlets and itinerary to figure out our next stop and when we would be able to return to see such a magnificent temple. While I was jumping from one document to the next, my wife stuck up a conversation with a pleasant taxi driver who offered to drive us, by taxi, to Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon. At first I was a but skeptical, however, the cost of the taxi was less than the bus fare, he offered to let us stay as long as we liked, and would take us directly home after stopping for coffee and ice cream at his favorite bakery.
Upon returning from Sounion, we took our driver up on his offer-- to take us to Cornith and the archeological sites near there for 200 Euro. We decided that we had accomplished alot in our first day and since we still had one more day to explore Athens, this would be an exciting deviation from the plan. Our driver, Nicolas, was a pleasant and helpful man who explained that the winters in Athens aren't as busy with tourists so he uses winter as an opportunity to make some extra money for his family by offering trips to other locations outside of Athens.
Our family had a small dinner in the AirBnB and settled in for the night knowing we would have a long driver to and from Corinth-- but that is for another blog!