A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about 2017

Athens Christmas 2017.

Arrival and First Day.

I had hit exhaustion point when my school finally closed for the Christmas holidays and I had scarcely enough energy left to make it anywhere, but somehow I managed to drag myself onto a plane where I endured eight hours of someone reclining right into my face, a kid behind me repeatedly battering my chair, as he played his computer game, a screaming baby, tasteless food and shockingly bad wine, accompanied by an inability to sleep. We went through a ridiculously long stop over in Doha Airport, around seven hours, before boarding another very full, very cramped flight and flying a further five hours. Then, finally we arrived in Athens. Thank God. We exited the airport and were almost blown away by an icy rain filled blast of wind. Dispirited and completely shattered we boarded a train to Panormou Metro Station, then set about looking for Angelos ' Studio Apartments, the self-catering flat we had booked for our six night stay.

We had an arrangement with Angelos, the owner of the apartment, that he would leave the key to our flat with the Grill Restaurant downstairs from it. We dragged our suitcase through the rain over pothole after pothole on the broken pavement till we found The Pitta Queen Grill and asked for our key. Of course they did not have it and knew nothing about it, but they phoned Angelos for us and we sat and waited there till he came. To pass the time we ordered a delicious pork souvlaki and some Alfa beers while we waited. It took around three hours till Angelos had arrived, collected his cleaner, sorted the flat and finally let us in. To be fair he did apologize for the delay and pay for our beer and souvlaki. We were greatly relieved when we finally had possession of a key to our own little home. It was basic, but had everything we needed and at a cost of twenty pounds a night could not be faulted. After showering and toileting, we walked back to a nearby supermarket, stocked up on provisions and finally collapsed onto our beds and got some much needed sleep, ready to start looking at Athens the following day.

Next day was cold, but not raining, so that was fine for sightseeing. We took the train to Monastiraki Metro Station and began to enjoy our holiday. Monastiraki means monastery and takes its name from a tenth century monastery of which the Church of the Pantanassa is the only surviving part. This church can still be seen on Monastiriki Square as can a nearby mosque - Tzistarakis Mosque. This is an Ottoman mosque dating from 1759. In the distance behind the square we got our first glimpse of the famous Acropolis.

The Church of the Pantanassa.

The Church of the Pantanassa.

Tzistarakis Mosque.

Tzistarakis Mosque.

First View of the Acropolis.

First View of the Acropolis.

We walked from Monastiriki Square to the Library of Hadrian where we purchased combined entry tickets for all the ancient remains in Athens. As my husband, Peter is a pensioner, his was good value at fifteen Euros. Mine cost thirty Euros and, as sights are half price in winter, worked out just the same as paying for each sight individually.

Hadrian's Library was created by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, after whom it is named, in AD 132. This sight was originally home to a library, reading rooms and lecture halls. This library was badly damaged during the Herulian invasion of 267. Wandering around we noticed preserved patches of mosaic floors.

The Library of Hadrian.

The Library of Hadrian.

The Library of Hadrian.

The Library of Hadrian.

The Library of Hadrian.

The Library of Hadrian.

The Library of Hadrian.

The Library of Hadrian.

Patches of mosaic floor.

Patches of mosaic floor.

The Library of Hadrian.

The Library of Hadrian.

The Library of Hadrian.

The Library of Hadrian.

I also noticed a sleeping dog and later observed that there seemed to be a similar looking dog at every sight. I doubt we were being followed so have to assume there are many dogs that look like this in Greece. Every sight came with its own cat, too, but these at least had the decency to look different in every place.

Greek dog.

Greek dog.

Surveying the sight.

Surveying the sight.

After visiting the Library of Hadrian, we strolled past some souvenir shops on route to the Roman Agora or Roman market place.

Souvenir Shops.

Souvenir Shops.

The Roman Agora was built in the first century BC during the reigns of Julius Caesar and Augutus Caesar. The Gate of Athena Archegetis used to be the entrance to the Roman Agora. On the other side stands the Turkish mosque of Fethiye Djami. This mosque was built in 1456 AD to celebrate the visit of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror to Athens. Another important building in the Roman Agora is the Tower of the Winds, an eight-sided marble tower. This was built between the Second and First Century BC by Andronicus of Cyrrhus. Andronicus of Cyrrhus was a Macedonian astronomer. The tower depicts the eight different winds.

Turkish mosque of Fethiye Djami.

Turkish mosque of Fethiye Djami.

Tower of the Winds.

Tower of the Winds.

Tower of the Winds.

Tower of the Winds.

Roman Agora.

Roman Agora.

Roman Agora.

Roman Agora.

The Gate of Athena Archegetis.

The Gate of Athena Archegetis.

Roman Agora.

Roman Agora.

After visiting the Roman Agora, we walked to the Acropolis. Although we visited on the same day as the Library of Hadrian and the Roman Agora, as it is a substantial sight, I will cover it in a separate blog.

Posted by irenevt 07:44 Archived in Greece Tagged athens 2017 Comments (2)

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