#KristinaTakesEurope: Athens, Part 1

My Athens journey is a two part one, as I stopped there before island hopping and will be stopping there again between Santorini and Dublin.

I arrived in Athens early Wednesday afternoon, exhausted from traveling and ready to nap. I ended up finding out there was a ferry strike on my planned travel day to Mykonos, so I ended up spending the evening making arrangements and walking around Psiri, grabbing a quick pita souvlaki and knocking out.

I must have been extremely tired since I slept in until 1 pm the following day. I decided to take it easy, grabbing a leisurely late breakfast and strolling through Monastiraki and Plaka. It was incredible, streets chock full of vendors and tourists, restaurants constantly busy regardless of the time. Walking to Plaka was actually kind of odd: on one side there were shops and restaurants, on the other, ruins.

After recharging with some delicious baked feta and moussaka (why haven’t I had either dish before?!?) I walked towards Hadrian’s Arch, passed the Temple of Zeus and walked up to the Acropolis. I didn’t go in, but took the tiny road that runs around it, getting as close as I could. It’s incredible! Part of the path was squeezed right in between homes – I waved hi to a man cooking dinner through his kitchen window at one point!

I ended up signing up for a free walking tour of Athens on Friday, which was actually really nice. Our guide, Konstantinos, was an archaeologist and professor, so he had great context and information about the places he took us. There was only one other solo traveler on the tour, so he and I walked and talked together, sharing travel stories and talking about home. Konstantinos had recommended an authentic restaurant to us, so we ate there and then walked around to get some gelato. Apparently gelato is very popular in Greece; I’ve seen it everywhere!

A nap and some freshening up later, it was time for dinner! Back in Iroon Square, I walked into the only restaurant without a host in front trying to lure people in. MY OH MY it was an excellent choice. Grilled octopus with fava, a deliciously tender pork meat with cheese and tomatoes, cod croquettes and the most delicious fresh bread, all served tapas style were the perfect end to my day.

Saturday was my travel day to Mykonos, so I was up by 5 am!

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