I could not start my first post in any other way. I HAVE to present you Athens. The city all Greeks love to hate. We all bitch about it, but alas, we cannot stay away...
1. Well, the first place you visit HAS to be Acropolis. You've all heard about it quite a lot, but it's ok if you are not quite certain what it is (an embarassing survey conducted among Greek teenagers showed that half of them didn't know the difference between the Acropolis and the Parthenon, and most of them had never visited the site - now, THAT'S a problem!)
Well, 2500 years ago, each Greek city represented a separate "state" - it had its own laws, traditions, financial power and tried to achieve domination over its neighbours. The most powerful Greek city was, at the time, Athens. So, its leader, Pericles, having a lot of money to spare (how this money was obtained is another, embarassing story), decided to use the highest and most imposing part of the city (the hill of Acropolis) to build impressive temples (the most well-known is the Parthenon). The Parthenon was a temple dedicated to the godess Athena who, as discussed in another post, was the city's protector.
So, as centuries go by, there the temple stands. The city may have changed drastically, different types of government have followed one another, but the temple is always there, telling its story to those who want to listen...
2. The Ancient Promenade
This is the world's largest and finest collection of Greek antiquities. It is vast and beautifully presents different eras in Greek history.
Museums can be overwhelming, (surprisingly, I was not bored or tired at all after spending more than 2 hours there - but maybe this was because I was biased with the subject!) so if you had to see 2 pieces only, these are the one I would recommend:
The first one is an imposing bronze statue of a Greek god. It is not determined if it shows Zeus (the leader of Greek gods, with its trademark being the lightning bolt) or Poseidon (the god of Sea, its trademark being the trident). Obviously, the statue WAS holding one of these 2 items, but it is now missing, so we can only guess.
The second one is the statue of horse and young rider. It was discovered in a shipwreck, broken in hundreds of pieces. It was restored beautifully, and its sense of motion (depicted in the features of both the horse and the rider) is striking.
Well, Ernesto wouldn't be happy with me suggesting this as a must-see. Basically, it is a hill that offers panoramic views of the city. There is a ridiculously pricey cafe there (the first reason for his discomfort!), and a church. Its open-air theatre is well known mainly for summer concerts.
5. Athens by the sea
Whether you visit during the summer or not, you cannot miss going to the beach. If you want to swim, there is a 25 km coastline from Faliro to Glyfada and Vouliagmeni. If you prefer a stroll instead, or a seafood dinner, you could go to the port of Mikrolimano.