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Athens, Greece – October 12 – 18, 2014

We knew this was coming. We had heard the moans and groans growing louder and louder over the past few weeks.  But once we arrived in Athens it became apparent that the kids were not going to step one foot in another museum, church or mosque.  They were done, at least for a while. They wanted to play.  They wanted to have the kind of fun you only have when you are a kid.

We rented an two bedroom apartment, equipped with a washing machine and dishwasher.  Heaven!   When we arrived there was a huge basket filled cookies, bread, a bottle of wine, crackers, and many other yummy treats.  The fridge had sandwich meat, yogurt and milk.  The only downfall to the apartment was the distance to the metro, other than that we couldn’t complain.

We had great plans for our 6 days in Athens, but we knew we had to revise our plans a little. We celebrated Thanksgiving by making an almost real thanksgiving supper and watched an English movie together.  The owner of the apartment we rented from had a couple of movies (My Big Fat Greek Wedding and My Life in Ruins).  Aurora wanted to watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding, so that what we did. (We watched the other movie a number of times throughout the week.)  Being in Greece, made watching the movies a lot more real and fun.

When we woke up the next morning, we were surprised to see a street market right outside our window. The kids refused to go out, so Len and I went to check it out ourselves.  Yes, we left the kids home alone in a strange country. (Yes, they did survive.)  When we stepped out of the apartment, looking left then right we saw that the market went on for blocks and blocks not just the little block in front of our apartment.  There was fresh fruit, colorful vegetables, household goods, cheap paper products, and of course fish (which is what was right out our door).  We enjoyed walking through the market, but more, we enjoyed spending a short time together without having to look over our shoulders watching out for the kids. A very rare treat.  We came home with two big bags of fresh fruit and vegetables, a giant roll of paper towels, socks, wash clothes and hair clips all for just $9.50 Canadian.

We knew we had to find something to do that the kids could relate to; so we picked a visit to the Panathenaic Stadium; the home of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.   From our apartment, we had about a 25 minute walk to the metro followed by a 20 minute metro ride before we got to Syntagma Square.  We walked around the square a bit, went to watch the changing of the guards at the Parliament house, walked through the National Garden then made our way to the Stadium.  We paid the few Euros to get in, which included the audio guide.  The Panathenaic Stadium (which is also referred to as the Kallimarmaro, meaning beautifully marbled), is the only stadium in the world made entirely out of white marble.  That would have been nice watching the Olympics on the scorching hot day while sitting on the cool marble along sides 50,000 other people? We had so much fun at the stadium. The kids even pretended to be Olympic racers and ran around the track and then took their rightful place on the podium.

After making our way back to Synagma Square we stopped for a bite to eat at one of the many outdoor cafes.   Since it was still early, and no one wanted to walk anymore we decided to sit back and let someone else do the driving.  We negotiated a cheaper fare on the Big Red Bus.  (It’s good to be there in off season when there are few people on the buses.)  We went through the whole route before getting off.  We always find it useful to take these sightseeing buses because it gives us a better idea of what we really want to see and just how far they are.  After our bus ride, it was time to head home for supper.  The kids couldn’t wait to watch My Life in Ruins.  We thought that would be a good lead in to tomorrow’s site seeing day.

You can’t go to Athens and not see the Acropolis. Over the last few months we had been seeing ancient Roman ruins, so it was nice to see some Greek ruins. There is no way I can do justice to one of the marvels of the ancient world through my words so I will let the pictures speak for themselves. But here are a couple of highlights.  Unfortunately, we did not have a very good guide; making it a little unpleasant at times.  We would have been better off with our guidebook on our own.  Colossal waste of money paying for the guide we got. (We know they are not all as bad as ours because I found ourselves listening to the other guides and learned more from them then our guide.

We finished our Acropolis day with a visit to the museum located at the base of the hill. The Acropolis Museum housed artifacts from the Acropolis, including 32 feet of the 525 foot marble frieze that once wrapped around the Parthenon.  The missing parts are in London’s British Museum. The new Acropolis Museum is beautiful that has the most amazing view of the Acropolis.   When you wonder around the museum it’s hard not to notice all the empty spaces that are just waiting for the pieces to return home to its rightful place. We ended our day by walking over to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the largest, most  majestic temple in Greece.  It was such a  great time to take pictures.  The lighting was perfect.

There is so much to see and do in Athens that given months we would not have had the time to see it all. Then again, I guess we can say that about everyplace we’ve been.  We always leave wishing would be have seen or done one more thing.  But sometimes it more important to sit back and enjoy some quiet family time like watching a movie, even if you watched it the night before.

Next stop Istanbul, Turkey.