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Athens was a whirlwind of heat, history, and protesters. It all began with a happy reunion in the arrivals terminal between my mom and I, having said goodbye six weeks before. We were not, however, joined by my mother’s luggage, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise since the country-wide taxi strike forced us to reach our hotel by arduous journey of bus, subway, and foot. “At least the strike is saving us some cash!” sang my always-looking-at-the-bright-side Mom. Having spent the night sleeping in a London’s airport rather than pay for a cab (the subways in London shut down at midnight! Am I the only one shocked by this?!), and looking forward to being whisked to the hotel by car I was not as amused by this deviation from my luxury vacation plan.

Greek Flag

Soon we arrived in our lovely hotel, The Athens Gate, and any hint of a bad mood was forgotten. I had agonized over what hotel we should stay in for our two nights in Athens, drooling over trendy design hotels and rooftop pools, but in the end my Mom’s sensibly convinced me that for such a short stay location was king. And with a ten minute walk to the Acropolis and the Temple of Zeus out our window- we couldn’t have asked for much better lest we stayed in the Parthenon itself.

Athens Gate Hotel

Athens Gate Hotel

Temple of Zeus, AthensThe view from our window

Even better than the view from the window? The view from the rooftop restaurant!

Athens Gate Hotel

Despite our anxiousness to get out and start exploring, I took an hour to catch up on blogging first. Just look at that dedication! (Be impressed, guys, okay? I really thrive on praise.)


After jumping around the hotel room for a bit with excitement and disbelief that our endless planning (we are both detail oriented travel planners that spend hours poring over Tripadvisor reviews) was finally coming to fruition, we braved the heat to enjoy our first afternoon in Athens. First stop, the City Sightseeing Tour, of course! I swear, these guys should be paying me now as this was my fourth trip of the summer. There are two lines on the Athens tour, the Red Line that covers the highlights of the city (including the Acropolis, The National Gardens, the New Acropolis Museum, etc) and the Blue Line that goes to the pier town of Pireaus. For a few Euro extra we purchased the Blue Line add-on but in retrospect I don’t recommend it. It’s basically for ferrying people to and from the cruise ships and the tour is quite boring. I could go ahead and blame the jetlag but I won’t- we both fell asleep. Just do the Red Line.

City Sightseeing Athens

We didn’t do any hopping on and off but rather used the tour as a way to get our bearings around the city and get an overview while not exerting too much energy- did I mention that my Mom had just got off a twelve hour flight and I spent the previous night on the floor of Heathrow?

City Sightseeing Athens

City Sightseeing Athens

The tour also gave us a good vantage point to observe some of the protests and strikes going on around the city (little did we know how prominently these would feature in our time in Greece…) Anyone who can read Greek want to shed a little light on what these say?

City Sightseeing Athens

Exhausted from travel, we decided to call it an early night and save our energy for the next day. We ended the first day of our adventure with a drink on the roof of our hotel, soaking in the amazing views again. I marveled at what it would be like to live in a city like this, with a piece of ancient civilization visible from every corner, a reminder of what an important place in history your ancestors had. As amazing as New York City may be, we don’t exactly get to look around and see culminations of architectural and artistic genius from 400BC. (Giant rats, on the other hand? Yes, we do see those).

Acropolis at Night

Athens at night

Stay tuned for Part II of 48 Hours in Athens!

  • Your Mom is a rock star!!! I adore her! Love the hotel and I would love to visit Greece one day.
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..My Wedding & Honeymoon: Day 6-10 (Part 2)

    • Alex
      September 8 2011

      There were SO many amazing hotels in Athens (and in Greece in general!) I think you might need to take a second honeymoon!

  • Kris Koeller
    September 7 2011

    Nice writeup. How’d you like the food? I haven’t been, but heard great things.
    Kris Koeller recently posted..A Day at the US Open

    • Alex
      September 8 2011

      Well Kris, as I’ve admitted before, I’m not much of a foodie! But Greece was great for me food-wise because they have a big emphasis on fresh, delicious pasta, which is one of my main food groups!

  • Bridget Ball Shaw
    September 8 2011

    Truly impressed! And really looking forward to reading about you and your mom in Greece!

  • jennifer
    October 19 2014

    Looks like you had a fantastic time. I’m in Athens now for the first time. There is so much to do here and I haven’t found a restaurant the I didn’t enjoy yet. Happy Travels!
    jennifer recently posted..Athens Off The Beaten Track Walking Tour

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      Oh my gosh, I LOVE Athens. Such a cool city that doesn’t get near enough love.

  • David
    January 21 2016

    Wow, that looks like a great hotel. It sounds like you made a really great start to your trip in Athens. First impressions count! 😉

    • Alex
      January 25 2016

      Indeed they do. I’ve returned to Athens time and time again, and I love it!

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