Yassou lovely readers! That’s hello in Greek (something I learned from our guide Stefanos).
July 6th – Day 2
So the day after my birthday. I’d like to say that we had a really exciting day planned after chilling by the pool the day before but we didn’t. We had to check out of the room by 12 so we got up and had breakfast in the hotel. The food was just “meh” and overpriced; if I had a do over I would have gone out somewhere nearby for breakfast. After this though we headed to the pool to snag a lounger with a parasol since we didn’t have one the day before and it was roasting! 12 o’clock rolled around quick and we headed to our room to check out our to find our key had been demagnetised 🙄. It took us 2 trips to the lobby to get it working properly all so we could check out.
Here’s where the stupid part of the story kicks in. We had to check out of our room to essentially check straight back in.
As it turned out, we booked the same hotel that our tour was meeting and staying in. We both think this is a coincidence because neither of us have any memory of booking the hotel purely because it was where the tour was meeting.
We tried explaining to the front desk that we were staying under our booking for one night and under the tour booking (in our name) for another 2; therefore could we keep the room we were already in. Alas this got lost in translation and they told us to check out, leave our bags in the luggage room and check back in at 2. Slightly annoying but not a massive inconvenience. We spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool again until the weather clouded over a bit.
We returned to the room, had a quick nap and got ready to meet up with the tour that evening. We suspected earlier that a few people by the pool were on our tour but after meeting everyone we realised that our tour group made up most of the patrons around the pool.
We had a quick presentation about the tour and met our guide Stefanos. The presentation consisted of him telling us that Mykonos is expensive, has 225 beaches and olive oil will be in everything we eat while in Greece.
After the presentation, those who wanted to could head out for some dinner and the chance to meet the other people on the tour. We chose to go and enjoyed some cheap gyros (3€, can’t beat it) and good conversation. As always there’s a lot of Aussies on our trip, some kiwis and a few Canadians. I’m the only Brit.
We were due and early start the next day (8:30 is early for us) so we headed back to the hotel and had a cocktail on the roof, next to the pool, with some of our new friends before calling it a night.
July 7th – Day 3
Surprisingly when my alarm went off at 7 (having not experienced this in 6 weeks) I managed to pull myself from bed and into the shower without snoozing. Mitch didn’t rise until I was drying my hair at half past. We had breakfast in the hotel again (it was included this time since we’re on the tour now) and enjoyed it with Jordan & Alyssa; 2 of the Canadians we met.
We met everyone in the hotel lobby at 8:30 and Stefanos handed out our metro tickets. We were “doing it like locals” as he put it and heading into the city to meet our guide Maria who was taking our tour of the Acropolis. It was already 32 at 9am so I’m sure you can imagine how this day went weather wise.
We had been told that students get cheaper entry into the acropolis so being from Paisley, you know that I tried my luck with my expired student ID. Unfortunately the lady at the desk noticed it was no longer 2017 🤭. Mitch on the other hand (with his uni ID from working at the research institute which was twinned with Edinburgh uni) got in for FREE! All the other students paid 10€ but this lucky buggar paid zilcho 👌🏼.
Anyway we met up with Maria (who was amazing and explains Greek words like the dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and she talked us through the ruins that lead up to the Parthenon.
Greek Lesson #1 – Acro – Greek word for the edge.
Polis – city
Acropolis means the edge of the city. Which is where those who lived in the city states in Athens (before it was called Athens) because this walls were a form of fortification and offered them protection.
There’s too much history to explain in all of these photos but the ruins are all very very old. Think 400+BC for some of the pillars and temples. The Greeks spent much of their early existence fighting being colonised by the Venetians (Italians); the Ottomans (Turkish) and the Romans. Surprisingly despite being in near constant warfare, they are credited with founding philosophy, theatre, music and literature.
If you couldn’t tell, the acropolis was very busy and has absolutely no shade which in 36 degrees is very sweaty and uncomfortable. I think I sweated back out most of the water I was drinking. A couple days before we went they had to close it off from the public due to the heat breaching 40 degrees celsius!
Greek lesson #2 – the pantheon is actually a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. This is where Athens got its name. The story goes that Athena and Poseidon competed to see who would rule the city. Poseidon struck his trident on the ground and produced water for the people. The issue being that the water was salty and no one could use it for drinking or agriculture. Athena then blew on the ground and produced an olive tree. These olives could be pressed to produce olive oil which could be used for cooking and fuel for fire. Therefore the people decided that Athena should rule the city.
Overall we’ve learned that the ancient Greeks loved a wee myth and mostly it was to appear more strong and “victorious”. This was to try and dissuade other settlements from trying to overthrow the king and take the land which was very desirable. This is because the land was fertile, the hill upon which the acropolis sits gives them a natural vantage point and there was an abundance of fresh water from the rivers below. Therefore it’s not uncommon to see many statues of gods and goddesses carved into the temples and buildings as a sign of protection from the gods.
Greek fact #3 – In the acropolis you will see goddess Nike who typically was winged; without those wings. This is because the people did not want her to fly away as she was the goddess of victory and would again offer protection to Athens.
After this we had a few more stops to see. This included, the monument of the unknown soldier which is guarded at all times by the presidents guards in formal dress. They have to stand completely still for 1 hour and they do 3 shifts over 48 hours. They have a little handler who wipes their face and gives them water.
We also ventured to the Athens Library.
And lastly the Olympic stadium. This was a big day for us which is why it’s such a big update.
See you in the next one! – Katy xxx