Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Day After Christmas - Athens

Today was a little bit of an uneventful day as we didn't do anything extraordinarily exciting.  We hung out at the apartment most of the morning but since all of the major attractions were closed (the 25th and 26th were both National Holidays), we couldn't do any "major" sightseeing.  We decided to take the Hop On - Hop Off bus tour around Athens.  It was basically a big red bus that drove around Athens, you could get off and back on at any stop on the route.  The bus left from Syntagma Square so we hopped on the metro to get there and found the bus.  It was an open air bus on the top which is where we sat to get the best view.

Waiting for our tour to start.

Traffic and people near Syntagma Square

Santa was in the Square for all the kids to visit.

We ended up just riding the bus all the way around and not getting off anywhere.  It was nice not to have to walk for a while!  One of the most intersesting things about this bus tour was how this big huge tour bus got around on the teeny little streets of Athens.  We had to be careful sitting on top not to get poked in the eye with a tree branch or maybe have an orange fall on our heads from the trees close to the roads.

Here are a bunch of pictures of what we saw while we were on the tour.

The Temple of Zeus

 The entrance to the Temple of Zeus but I can't remember
the name of the arch.

The Acropolis and Parthenon

The Parliment Building - they have the changing of the guards
like London.

The Olympic Stadium - sight of the first modern day Olympics
sometime in the 1800s.

The University of Athens where you can shop and
protest all at the same time.

We returned to Syntagma Square where to the chagrin of some of my children we decided to walk down the street with all the vendors and see what we could see.  The most interesting thing was the guy dressed up like Posiden.  If someone tried to take his picture but did not put any money in his little gold jug, he would hit the jug with his staff, point at the person trying to take the picture and turn around so his face could not be seen.  it was pretty amusing.  None of the kids wanted to have their picture taken so Mark put some money in the jar and has his picture taken with this guy.

Everyone was pretty tired by this point so we hopped back on the metro and we decided to have dinner at TGI Fridays.  It was very loud and the service was not really extremely fast but we needed to eat so it served its purpose.  Mark, Spencer, Alex and Megan headed home but I had promised Lizzie that we would stop at the grocery store (it was like a Walmart) so that she could buy a Barbie with her Christmas money.  You can't get "real" Barbie's in Saudi Arabia.  They have a similar doll called Fulla - some of them have western style dress or you can buy with her own abaya and head covering.  But Lizzie really wanted a new Barbie and Rachel decided she would get one too.  We got that and a couple other things at the market and walked home.

I think we just all went to bed then - so like I said, it wasn't a totally eventful day but we did want to make sure we got a good night's rest.  We needed to get up early and head out on our adventure to Delphi the next day.  More to come soon......

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