Waking refreshed, we were interested to see the complimentary breakfast spread, which ended up including dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) and other more standard fare (breads, spreads, eggs, etc.).
The driver for our airport transfer, an Athens native, suggested we check out the National Archeological Museum (instead of the Acropolis Museum) so we asked the woman at the hotel’s front desk the best way to get there: the red line from our nearest station, Sygrou-Fix, to Omonia, then a transfer to the green line, to Viktoria station (all the stations are listed in Greek and English on the maps and on station signage). The museum is a 5-minute walk from the station, and the entry fee is €10. There were so many rooms and corridors to walk through, and it wasn’t crowded. Among our favorites were the chariot remnants, the mirrors, a harness, and the Antikythera mechanism, along with some humorously positioned statues.
The cafeteria and museum are on the lower level, and you need to keep your ticket with you to get back into the museum proper after you go down. Great cafeteria with excellent prices. Sandwiches under €3, and fresh-squeezed orange juice, too. (Some of the metro stops have fresh-squeezed orange juice machines that charge €1 for a cup.) We got some beverages, including water to rehydrate.
Perry posed with a Zeus/Poseidon statue (there’s some debate over which one it is–what do you think?).
Around 2 p.m., we hopped back on the metro and headed toward Mount Lycabettus to ride the funicular (€5, one-way, €8, up and down), which runs every 30 minutes, with the last trip at 2:30 a.m. The nearest metro station is Evangelismos. On our uphill walk, we stopped at Everest, a take-away shop, and got Greek mini tortilla wraps with feta, olives, tomato, cucumber, pepper, and mayonnaise (€1.35 each). So good and easy to cart up the hill.
A note on the funicular: it’s enclosed the entire way up. I liked the novelty of it, but some people seemed disappointed that it didn’t open up to a view of the city. Also, the walk down is lovely—mostly dirt trails and trees—so I’d skip the round-trip ticket.
What a view! From the top of the Mount Lycabettus, you get a magical 360-degree view of Athens that includes the ocean, the amphitheater, the Acropolis, and the Temple of Zeus, and you can walk inside the chapel of St. George. There are also a tavern (taberna) and a fancier restaurant at the top. We had beers and beer snacks (typically complimentary with drink orders) and played a few hands of Rummy with our new souvenir playing cards that my husband bought in the shop where we caught the funicular. The tall drafts of Alfa were €6—a bit of an upcharge compared to elsewhere, ~€4.
Then we walked around Psyri, a neighborhood near Monastiraki Square, where I got a new swimsuit from H&M for Santorini. We popped into Tzatziki, a gyro shop, to try phyllo-wrapped feta with honey and sesame seeds, then waded through the sea of shops.
Around 7:30 p.m, an hour before sunset, we hunkered down at an outside table on Monasteraki Square and ordered a bottle of red wine and some sparkling water.
Perry walked over to a nearby souvenir shop and bought some postcards to write as the sun went down. The Square is an amazing place to people-watch, and it’s a great place to get place to see the juxtaposition of old and new.
Stay tuned for day 3 as we ponder venturing to the Temple of Poseidon.