|An old friend from the Firkin, Paul Nightingale moved away to Brussels with his job (I dont mean he put it under his arm and took it with him, he was asked to relocate by his employer !).
We usually meet up to visit different places in Europe. Last year we went to Krakow, this time it was the birthplace of Democracy – Athens.
A picture of me standing in front of the Parthenon.
|It wasn’t possible to get a direct flight from Liverpool or Manchester, so I flew via Heathrow, and had the pleasure of BA.
The problem with this, was that door to door, the journey took 12 hours, a lot longer than your normal Easyjet/Europ weekend combination. The good news was that being BA, the flight and hospitality made for a much more pleasant trip.
I got to the airport and decided to get a taxi (its not smart to wander around a country you have just arrived in, when its dark).
I arrived at our budget hotel, and was delighted to find the proprietor, very friendly, and my room spotlessly clean.
|I met up with Paul, and we decided to go out for the evening and unwind, with a quick pint, to “take the edge of us”.
A Polish bar right near the hotel was atmospheric and efficiently run, so we got settled there.
Paul introduced me to his friend Mia from Finland, a charming girl, who like me has a written down list of countries she wants to visit.
|In the Polish bar, I meet a Pole, wearing a Man City shirt.
My brother and my friend Frank are big fans of City’s so I couldn’t resist a picture.
I find Poles amazing people. Although immensely hard working and friendly, they don’t seem smile very often.
On the way home, we stopped of for a Kebab, and then got an early night in advance of the following days adventuring.
|The following morning, we get up early for breakfast. There is nothing worse than leaving breakfast, getting out and about in a city, being struck by hunger pangs and then eating rubbish at the nearest restaurant.
Far better, to fill up early, and then plan for a 2pm stop off for lunch, at a recommended eatery, which is usually cheaper and much better.
We pass the Kerameikos, the classical cemetery of Athens with its symbol, a marble bull.
It was amazing to walk around the Agora, it was just like any ordinary relaxing park, but had artefacts going back thousands of years, all around it.
This is me standing next to Tholos the site of the 50 member executive committee of the first parliament.
The temple of Hephaestus.
It is said that Athenian pillars have had the greatest architectural influence in history.
|At the back, showing the insides of the temple of Hephaestus.
The area was cordoned of, so you couldn’t walk around in there.
|Walking around the monument of the eponymous heroes.
Not much remains, but originally, Citizens were divided into 10 tribes, each represented by a different Atican hero.
|Drains aren’t something I would normally go out of my way to see, but there are some of the first man made drains, ever created.
When there is a sever downpour in the park, they still actually work, and clear the excess water, thousand of years after they were created.
|The Odeon of Agrippa.
Built in the 1st Century as a theatre, it was destroyed in 267 by the Herulians.
In the 5th Century a sprawling palace was built, and the pillars formed a spectacular entrance.
|Standing outside the Agora museum. The outside pillared wall, made for a superb photo opportunity, in the way that it “led the eye”
Unfortunately, several attempts at using the timer on my camera failed, and we eventually relied on a passing tourist to take this picture.
|We visited several museums, throughout the week
This museum, featured only artefacts that had been removed from the Agora.
|There were some pretty innovative things on display.
This stone, had special runs, so balls could be inserted, and they would randomly select Athenian citizens for Jury service.
|The Panathenaic way, leads form the gate of the Agora, to the Acropolis above.
It was used centuries ago for processions, to honor the worthy.
|The Christian Saint, Paul used to pray on a rock high above Athens.
These century old steps led to the spot.
|Me sitting on Paul’s prayer spot, high above Athens.
Many Christians make a pilgrimage to this rock. It certainly has spectacular views of the city.
|We went for the usual trick, of choosing somewhere to eat, based on the number of local people that were already eating there.
We weren’t disappointed. I don’t think I have ever eaten so much superb grilled meat in a single weekend.
|We head up to the Acropolis.
This is the Propylaea which only Athenian citizens were allowed to work through, to enter the Acropolis.
|A better picture of the Parthenon, without me standing in front of it.
|The calf bearer, one of the famous symbols of Athens (and one of the few interesting things worth looking at in the museum).
Created in 570 BC.
|The pine-covered slopes of Filopappos Hill, seen from the top of the Acropolis.
It was pretty cold at the top, you can probably guess this from the expression of my 2 photographic subjects.
|To the left of the Acropolis, is the Temple of Athena Nike.
Her, our home grown Athena, the wandering Fin, gets there first.