We ported at Athens mid-morning. From the port we were able to take a bus that took us through downtown and on a tour. The tour started through the city and we were given a lot of information about the conflict that was currently going on among the people of Athens. There was graffiti on every building and everything just seemed dirty. It was sad to see a place like this, with all its monuments, just surrounded by filth.
Our first stop was at the stadium. They were doing repairs and things so all you could see were parts of the bleachers. They were holding the Special Olympics there and some of the people on our tour were able to see them running by with the torch. I am not sure if I am remembering this correctly, but I believe they said that the torch for the Olympics always begins in Athens and it is at the stadium where it starts.
After touring the stadium we were taken to the Parthenon. We started at the base with our tour guide. It took us forever just to get through the gates because there were so many people visiting and they only had 2 people taking tickets. Once we finally made it through the gates our tour guide gave us some history as we walked up to the Parthenon. The Parthenon was up on top of the hill and you could overlook the city. It was amazing how many buildings they could pile on top of each other. Every inch of land was covered with housing, businesses, and etc. Again, they were doing some reconstructing of the Parthenon so they had a lot of equipment in front of the Parthenon. We couldn’t ever really get a clear picture of it. Once we reached the Parthenon, our tour guide told us we needed to be at the bottom of the hill in 15 min. and if we weren’t there, they would assume that we wanted to find our own way back to the ship and they wouldn’t be waiting for us. Well, that stressed us out a bit and so we rushed around and just tried to get as many pictures as we could. After about 5 min. of pictures we decided we would start down the hill. Little did we know that everyone in the entire area would be trying to get down at the same time. We were like a big herd of cattle that just kept getting pushed closer and closer together and never moved. Not only that, but it was 100 degrees plus humidity. I was dripping sweat everywhere and I don’t normally sweat! We didn’t move an inch for about 5 minutes and we were starting to get concerned that we may not make it back to catch up with our tour bus. It took us about 15 minutes to get through and down the hill. Come to find out, they were only allowing us to go down in a single file line and there were just so many people going down at once. When the area opened up we made it down the hill and our tour guide was still waiting for us.
After the Parthenon we had some time to tour the area and do some shopping. We looked at some sculptures they had around the area and then walked around looking for souvenirs. We also got ourselves some Gelato that was probably the best we had had thus far. There wasn’t much else to see so we boarded our bus around 2 and it took us back to the ship.
We ended our day sunbathing and then got ready for the usual 5-course dinner and the show afterwards.
|This is where the Olympic torch begins|
|This was an ampitheater just below the Parthenon. You can see the city of Athens in the background. It just goes on forever and every square inch is covered.|
|The entrance upto the Parthenon. Imagine all of these people plus more trying to head down a one-way walkway.|