Bloggin the Vaca - Athens

Are you guys sick of hearing about my vacation yet? If so, click on folks, just click on....

If not --- well, aren't you in luck? I have today's post about Athens,  and then just one more about Crete and London.

Athens was our 3rd port of call on the trip and the one I think I was most excited about visiting and yet most disappointed in the experience. Now, don't get me wrong kids, Athens was amazing in it's own way, but just so not what I had expected. Plus it was really hot. Really, really hot. And I had a panic attack. Ok, getting ahead of myself here, let me start at the beginning.

We were really excited to see all of the sights in Athens and had arranged this "hop-on-hop-off" bus tour - which sounds like a great idea in theory and the price was right. You get bussed from the port to the acropolis and then can jump on another bus-line which goes around historical Athens, stopping at the major sites. Buses come around every 20-40 minutes and you have unlimited "hop-ons and hop-offs" for the day. In the beginning of the day the open-top, double-decker buses were awesome, but by midday I was miserable and hot and getting sunburned. They did give you nifty headphones that you could plug in an listen to the history of wherever you were heading to while on the way which was cool. Our first stop was the Acropolis and Parthenon.

Ancient Greek history fascinates me, truly, and I was really excited to see everything, but I have two phobias; heights and being crushed in a crowd of people. I am not kidding. We got to the Acropolis, which is basically on the top of a Greek mountain (duh Ashlea - not sure why I didn't think of that before I got there!) at the same time as several tour buses. Tears were shed, uncontrollable shaking occurred, along with the constant internal dialogue of someone freaking out trying to rationalize with herself.
"oh  my god I am going to fall of this mountain"
"No, no you aren't. Just breathe crazy girl"
"Oh my gosh, I am going to be suffocated in this mass of bodies"
"No, no you aren't. Just breath you crazy, crazy girl. You're mother in law is right behind you watching you melt down so stop it" 
And so on...
All while waiting in line trying to suck down a drink we weren't allowed to take inside the gates. Awesome. Once inside I made Brandon (the poor, sweet husband of my crazy self) find a place to put me so that I could calm down and he could walk around with his family to take pictures of everything. We found a place for me to sit by the exit, on a beautiful marble staircase, with gorgeous views of the city. I was fairly content, but my blood pressure spiked a little bit every time I saw someone fall down. In case you didn't know, 2000 year old marble is a little slippery! My family did get some awesome photos though.

We continued hopping-on and hopping-off the buses for much of the day seeing Parliament, the Queen's Gardens, and a marketplace. I was more than relieved when B told me he was ready to head back to the boat while the rest of the family shopped.

I had tried really hard to be a good sport, as a good daughter/sister-in-law should but I am not that great of an actress. Thankfully, my husband's family understands that I am human and flawed. Mama Derry has already teased me about what a ray of sunshine I was that day...and she's not wrong.
Trying to put on a happy face :)

I think that I was shocked at how urban Athens is - something I feel a little stupid about now, after seeing it, because, well duh, it's the capital city of Greece! It's bound to be urban you idiot! That, and it was almost sad seeing the ruins integrated so completely with the city. It would be like an archeological dig happening in Grant Park or Michigan Avenue, just weird.

You could also tell that there was unrest in the country by all of the graffiti. I mean, everything was covered in graffiti; sidewalks, apartment buildings, schools, etc.  We did get some cool photos of it though:

I also think that the hop-on-hop-off tour would be great for someone who knows their way around and knows what they want to see. I would have preferred a guided tour, but as some of you may know, I am not exactly a "free spirit". I like structure and order, which the hop-on-hop-off tour didn't have, but that's probably what makes it perfect for the more adventurous types!

I don't want to make it sound like I was miserable on the entire day in Athens because I wasn't! I also don't want to seem ungrateful for the experience of being there either, because I am not. That's probably the one time in my life I will ever see that city and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to do so. Looking back on the day I can appreciate the beauty of it all much more than I could while I was there, probably because I am more removed from the terror of my panic attack. Not every day goes as planned on vacations and you have to take the good with the bad, and this was my one "bad" - if you can even call it that - day.

Ever have any "bad" days on your vacations? How did you handle it? Is it not-so-bad looking back on it now?


B. Wilson said...

Lovely photos. Don't feel bad! I puked my brains out in Vienna, Austria and have written off that city as among the worst trips ever! Dang street vendors and their roasted chestnuts. And Elliot was a big baby in Amsterdam. ;)

AlliFerg said...

So many of your photos look like they belong in a history book!

Janna said...

I had a bad day while I was in Italy. It was in Venice, so I was by myself, but bad nonetheless. You know what I did? I went and bought myself some delicious Italian goodies and sat next to the grand canal pretty much the entire day. I didn't want to deal with anyone, and I'm pretty sure no one would have wanted to deal with me!

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