During the second full day of the cruise we stopped in Piraeus, Greece where my Grandpa and I boarded a shuttle to go to Athens as part of the Taste of Athens excursion offered through Royal Caribbean. Our excursion was seven hours long though had I realized that the Parthenon was the same thing as the Acropolis I would have chosen a shorter tour.
Our tour guide told us lots of interesting things about Greece and made reference to the recent financial problems that the country is facing. He assured us that Greece always survives and that they are not worried. The banks were closed during the time we were there but that did not cause any issues for us. Athens is about 20-30 minutes from Piraeus depending on traffic was quite a pleasant drive.
Our first stop was at the Panathenaic Stadium which was the first Olympic stadium ever built which was really cool to see. Our guide told us that it holds 70,000 people which is hard to believe considering it doesn’t look very big but maybe it helps that there are not built in seats. The stadium was used for the Olympics again when Athens hosted the 2004 Summer Olympics. The stadium served as the finish line for the marathon & held the archery competition. I really wanted to go inside but it is a ticketed venue and the building selling the tickets was not open yet. I am a huge fan of the Olympics so it was very special for me to see this place. I can only imagine what special moments have happened inside this stadium and how many dreams have come true here.
Our second and final stop was at the Acropolis where we put on headsets so that we could hear our guide since we were moving into a crowded area. The walk up to the Acropolis involves a lot of steps and it is a long walk up there so consider the physical needs of your group before deciding to go up to the top. It does require a ticket to get in the Acropolis and once you are inside you will see the venue in the photo above which has been around for a long time but still hosts concerts to this day. I think it would be so cool to see a concert there and who knows maybe someday I’ll go back and do that. Athens Greece is an incredible place and I would recommend that you go.
The closer that we got to the Parthenon the more crowded it got and it would be very easy to get separated from your group if you stop for a moment to take a picture while they are still walking. I’m not saying don’t stop because you there are plenty of things to take pictures of but just be aware if your group keeps moving. I used to live by Nashville, Tennessee where there is a replica of the Parthenon and I loved going there to take pictures when I was younger. It was so amazing to get to see the original Parthenon and all of its beauty. There is much history to learn about at the Parthenon and the views from there are incredible. The area around the Parthenon is full of great places to stop and take a picture with the Parthenon behind you but you have to be quick and take the spot before other tourists do or you can be waiting a long time. There are two big stones in the picture above that I took pictures on and I thought turned out great.
After our tour of the Acropolis our guide walked us down towards a market area to show us where the shuttle would pick us up in three hours. We had free time to eat and shop and I found a great tote bag with some Athens Owls on it and then we decided to go to the Acropolis Museum, mainly because it was air-conditioned. Going to the museum was a great choice because they had wifi in their cafe so I was able to FaceTime with my parents and show them the Parthenon which the cafe offered a great view of. The museum is 12 euros and there are lots of really interesting things to see. I loved seeing Athens and would definitely recommend going there. There is so much to do in Athens and I only had a little taste of it so I would recommend doing a lot of research on what to do in Athens if you have more time there than I did.
For information on how I got a great deal to be able to take this cruise look here: http://mybelleelle.com/adventures/travel-adventures/cruising-in-europe/
For information on stopping in Kotor, Montenegro look here: http://mybelleelle.com/adventures/travel-adventures/visiting-kotor-montenegro/