greece 2011 - acropolis edition

Our European adventure was only a month and a half ago and it already seems like it has been years - or that it didn't even happen.  I can proudly say i'm 90% finished going through all of my pictures and organizing them.  So I figured it was about that time to blog a little bit more about it.  For some reason when we got to Greece I found myself being very lazy and didn't use my camera at all.  Maybe it was the dramatic shift in lifestyle (after Paris you just felt the time move a little slower).  So the only images from Athens I have via my DSLR were from our trip to the Acropolis.

The day of the Acropolis..... a blur to say the least.  That was pretty much the only day we allotted for "sight seeing."  The rest of the trip was meant for relaxing and no itineraries.  So we didn't think it would take much planning.  {You get in the rental car.  You type "Acropolis" into the GPS.  You walk it.  Snap pictures.  Marvel in the beauty.  Head back to hotel.}  If only it were that easy......

Let's start by saying our rental "car" was essentially a power wheel for adults.  It could barely handle going over 35 mph and the hills of Athens were like Mount Kilimanjaro  to this clown car (more info to come in the post about Rafti/Dimitsana).  So the drive into town was met by us hollering at each other and avoiding death by Europeans.  Once we finally parked we were on our way!  We eagerly weaved through the streets trying to find the "main entrance" (like a football arena, right? there should be a main entrance?).  The side streets kept leading us to parts surrounding the base but no where could we actually find a way inside.  So we walked and walked (past this gem of a site, below).


Finally! We found a little hut with a Greek man sitting on a bench.  We went to pay him to enter and he looked at us like he had no idea what we were trying to accomplish and pointed us in the direction of an elderly lady.  Said elderly lady went on to not want to sell us "tickets" because she couldn't make change for the "large" bills we had.  When we tried to tell her it was okay, she didn't have to give us the full change, we didn't mind donating to this historic landmark.  We got that same blank stare we had just received from the man prior to her.  She rolled her eyes then shooed us inside and told us to "just go."  We asked her, "don't we need a ticket or something?" After all, that man sitting on the chair looked like he had a purpose (to tear tickets?). She again looked at us like we were insane and shook her head no.  So off we went. We hiked. And hiked.  And marveled.  And hiked.


We made it a good 15 minutes up the mountain when we made it to another little hut perched on top of a spike in the hillside.  Not thinking anything of it we walked passed the hut.  Then we were met with a quiet holler.  We turned to see another man sitting in the hut -yelling at us that we needed a ticket to go further.  THAT BITCH. I knew it.  I knew we needed a freaking ticket!  We then spent the next 5 0r 6 minutes trying to convince the man that we HAD paid to hike up the mountain and HOW would we have hiked up said mountain without paying to get to that point.  I did everything from beg, plead, and describe that miserable women to him to a tee.  I kept saying how the heck would I know everything about this red haired menace if I hadn't been sworn off by her after paying her in incorrect change.  I seriously thought we were screwed - this man was not giving in - he did not want us to go on to see the Parthenon.  But something squeaked inside his heart for about two seconds - he rolled HIS eyes at us and shooed us inside.

So off we went!!! Hiking higher and higher up the mountain - stopping to snap a shot here and there - drinking from my Texas sized water bottle - and just loving all that history.



Then - just as we walked up that last flight of stairs we saw it! The Parthenon!  How wondrous! How glorious! How - hmmm - loopy? It looks kind of dizzy - like it's moving a little bit?  Yeah - not the Parthenon - that would be my over heated medically disadvantaged body.  Oh yeah - things were getting dark and I was going down.  And that's pretty much how I spent the next 30 minutes.  Literally LAYING DOWN in the dust, rubble and ruins of this ancient landmark while my husband fanned me off and I continued to sip water and pour some on my head until feeling well enough to hike back down.  It was a deep burn.  I thought I was going to die on top of that mountain.  In the 30 minutes I laid there I envisioned a helicopter having to fly to the top and care flight me out of there.  I kept thinking - this has had to have happened before..... there has to be some special secret elevator somewhere for such head cases like me.  Who the hell hikes up a mountain in 100 degree heat?! Why am I so dumb?!  But alas - none of that was reality and after a good 30 minute power nap I had just enough energy to hike my butt back down.  And it was ROUGH.  It seemed like 20 miles down that mountain.  Taking time outs to avoid passing out.  Actually stumbling down the hill a couple of times.  The only thing that kept me going was visualizing water, gatorade, ice cream, anything cold and sugary to focus on.  I'll never forget that random little shop at the bottom of the hill we found.  I inhaled a swirly half melted ice cream cone and chugged a couple bottles of water.  Thinking the worst was over - and I couldn't WAIT to get back to the car then the hotel.  But wait..... there's more......


We had regrettably not taken the time to remember exactly where we parked the car.  We thought we'd just "recognize" the streets and find the car naturally.  DUMB. WHY WERE WE SO DUMB.  TWO hours.  No joke.  TWO HOURS it took us to find our car.  Walking in circles - hiking back up the hills, then back down the hills.  Not realizing that the streets of downtown Athens were like a scene out of Where's Waldo.  Screaming at each other - "IT WAS THIS WAY, NO IT WAS THAT WAY. NO I DON'T REMEMBER PASSING THE HOMELESS MAN ON THE RIGHT!!!"  Then the sun started going down and our screaming turned to fear.  Again - I thought that was it - I was going to die on those streets - we'd have to hitch hike our way back to the hotel.  A few random Greek people asked if they could help us - but unfortunately no one could help us.  Because we also couldn't even remember the make and model of our power wheel.  Hundreds of cars lined those tiny tight streets and after a while they all blended together.  To this day I still don't know how we found that car.  But once we did - I almost started balling.  I don't think I've been that happy in a really long time.  I didn't even care about all the fighting, I didn't care about passing out at the top of the Acropolis.  I just cared that I was alive, and so way my husband, and we were together and on our way back to the hotel.  Needless to say - the day at the Acropolis was a day we shall never forget.

***I kind of wish I had some photos post Parthenon - but do to the dizzy/nauseous/anger/fear tirade there were zero photos taken.  In fact, I'm surprised I didn't just leave the camera behind