November 2008: Visiting Athens and the ancient Greek Acropolis, thousands of years old dating back to hundreds of years B.C. and the giant marbled Parthenon building, is one of the top endeavors for most tourists and it was one of mine too. It is one of those places that you grow up seeing millions of times but when you actually stand before it and look at it with your own eyes you are still overwhelmed by its history, beauty and cultural legacy. Athens has too many layers of history to unpeel on one trip and my friends were more interested in drinking and meeting girls than history so a deep dive into the more historical attributes of the city will have to wait for my next visit. But at least I did get them to go to the Acropolis, but I had to drag them out of the hotel room to do so.

As part of a 2 plus week trip around the Balkans, my friends Dan, Frank and I also visited Athens, Greece and Corfu Island. We started our trip in Athens and spent 4 days between Athens and Corfu Island before taking a ferry across to mainland Greece and then traveling into Corfu.

 

 

 

My Route in Greece

Ancient Athens

Athens is a wonderful historical city, but it is also a place where because there are so many clueless tourists, wolves lookig for easy prey and you have to be on guard for every type of tourist scam in the book. There are also pick pockets, aggressive tour guides and swarthy taxi drivers. And yes, the Acropolis gets crowded, so it pays to visit early in the day before the mobs of tourists arrive. I proposedly booked a hotel with a balcony overlooking the Acropolis where we could stand outside at night and drink wine while staring up at the ancient building that remains alit all night. There is also a lot of nightlife and my friends, and I explored the bars and clubs especially the absinth bars, well more my friends than me. I had to rescue them from themselves on one occasion.

 

 

 

Best view of the Acropolis you can get from a budget hotel in Athens. 

Acropolis

View from plateu where the Acropolis overlooks Athens

Dan breaking rules at the Acropolis 

Original Statue at Acropolis

Dan and me at the Parthenon

Me and Dan at the Parthenon Building. The Parthenon is 2, 461 years old and has stood thetest of time  but is subject to periodic un-sightly resoration efforts like when I was visiting. The parthenon has had many purposes over the centuries and was once a temple, church and mosque. Now it is one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions.

Parthenon

Corfu Island

From Athens, Dan and I left Frank and flew domestic to Corfu Island, an ancient Phoenician trading post that once was a very powerful island that has changed hands many times over the years to different rulers. Corfu is located on the Ionian Sea and has beautiful beaches and weather but in summer not when we were visiting in November. Dan and I walked all over the old town, coastline exploring old forts and even joined a group of people protesting an unknown cause in the streets with banners in Greek.  We spent one night in Corfu and the next day we took a public ferry to mainland Greece while we still could before possibly being cancelled due to rough seas. From there we hired a taxi and traveled across the Albanian border.

 

 

 

Old town architecture, Corfu

Sea Fortress

Walls of the sea fortress which would make a great swimming beach in summer

Albania in view from Corfu but instead of going dorectly we had to cross by ferry further south to mainland Greece and then go north to Albania. 

3 + 9 =

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