It’s been a year when an idea struck after my sister told me that she’s going to spend the summer holidays in Europe with me. I was racking my brains on where to go, what to do. I find it still amazing that we can go anywhere in the Schengen area with our visa and I was excited about this. For a Filipino who was able to manage to get the Schengen visa, the possibilities are endless! 🙂
I was thinking that perhaps we can go up north, but my sister already planned for a pre-trip with her friend in the northeastern Europe so I would give it to her and decided to check somewhere else in the Schengen map, haha. And with some budget considerations, we ended up on planning to go to Greece. It’s pretty exciting since it will be our first time and it has been something that I would really love to go. I love history and by default, we ended up in Athens as first-timers, haha!
There was no actual plan on what to do when we get there. Both of us were busy at work prior to our trip, but we really have to check on the bus going to the city proper as well as the best place to stay in.
It’s summer time and it was expected that aside from the hot weather, there would be a lot of tourists around and the accommodations might not fit our budget. But fortunately, I found Best Western Plus Amazon Hotel in Athens through Booking.Com. The hotel is just near the Syntagma Square, Syntagma Metro and bus station (very convenient if you are taking the night bus from the airport), the shopping district, and the major archeological and tourist sites. We were able to book a double room with breakfast which was really good!
The accommodation is set. We don’t have any idea on where to go and how. I was able to book a tour online via Turbopass on the night before our flight! Crazy, right? That’s how hectic our schedule has been. Thankfully, the travel office is just near the Hadrian’s Gate in Athens and we took the metro in the morning to get the vouchers. I was not really unprepared since I also have some places in mind to go to, even a draft how we should go to each places. The Athens City Pass that we bought fits all the places that we want to go, and more! It also has a tour bus that you can hop on and off, and it saved us some euros instead of taking the metro. Now, this was our personal preference and it’s up to you if you want to do a DIY itinerary around Athens or just take the quick, convenient route and purchase a city pass. This is also what I did in Barcelona, for the same reason that me and one of my best friends (who happened to in Europe for her business trip) were too busy to arrange a DIY for a trip. It also has a Skip-The-Line feature that was very convenient for us if we have a tight schedule.
So many places, so little time. At least for me and my sister. We went for a quick transit in Paris first to say hi to Tour Eiffel, then off to Athens for around three days. Yes, it was not enough, but we had a great time going around despite the 34c heat!
It is important to go to the Acropolis Museum first before hiking up towards the Parthenon. This will provide you a better understanding on the history and culture. There are lots of other museums in Athens, too, and it is part of the city pass. Walking tours are also included and you can join in designated schedules.
I have taken some photos in my camera that I was not able to post anywhere, but I enjoyed taking in the sights and history of Athens. The people are nice, too! They are warm and friendly. And yes, I’m not forgetting about the food! There are lots of dining opportunities around the city. The best ones are those hole-in-the-wall eateries, but I also enjoyed the restaurants. I think I had a lot of grilled meat and fish, moussaka, feta on the salad, and baklava. I know that there might be more, and there will always be next time. 🙂 Cold coffee, like the ones we would have in Bangkok, is a must during summer time, too!
I will definitely go back to this country, hopefully to take my parents around. And then, go and visit the nearby towns and the islands. There is so much more that Greece has to offer, with the warmth of the people and the place and the history and culture that it brought to the world.