Athens – Acropolis and Cape Sounion
Today was the first day that I actually had a proper look outside the balcony as I had nothing planned. Just explore Athens, and absorb the experience.
I went out to the balcony and judging by the amount of pigeon droppings in our balcony, it seemed like they had a good meal yesterday and a nice night. The “acropolis view” was just as good in the morning as it was in the evening. We could barely make out the Parthenon in the far distance but were rest assured it was somewhere on the top of the mountain. In the evening as it was lit up, zooming with the camera helped.
To avoid the train, we took the hotel bus to city center and did the touristy stuff by visiting the crowded Parthenon which I had always wanted to visit as it reminded me of the ancient architecture and heights of civilization. Afterwards, we went to the museum nearby and found out that the Parthenon had been a mosque at one point – it’s always nice to learn something new and interesting. I didn’t realize this, but my husband told me that the course we did by Dr Abu Yaasir Stefanos Kefokeris, we were shown a postcard of Pre-World War 1 showing a minaret and that it contained a mosque for almost 250 years.
For some reason my husband always seems to have at least one photo in our album; something strange with the statues , whether it’s horses in Bruges, cows in Delft, or lions in Athens.
After exploring a few more sites and shopping areas around the parliament, my husband suggested we’d check out Benaki Museum’s Islamic art section. Going around the Parliament (where I’m a bit more careful – as a tourist no one bothered us, but there was heavy police and army presence to avoid protesters going into main shopping areas and were trying to confine them to a small area).
By the parliament, there were a group of soldiers stationed (due to regular protests). When I passed in front of them, no one looked at me twice, or stared. A few other women passed – nothing as well. Then a woman with a mini-skirt, and low back top came along, and it seemed they pretty much visually escorted her all the way down the road. Unfortunately, I didn’t make to until 15 minutes before the museum’s closing time, so it might be in my “future” to do things.
My husband bought a bath sponge (the real thing apparently) which fell apart after a month of used. It was probably heavily bleached.
We moved to a nearby hotel for the last 5th night, as the first 4 were booked through a good deal. The hotel tub was regular sized but had a Jacuzzi system in it. I stayed in it for the longest time reading on the kindle after my husband had gone to bed.
The last day was a day to unwind. We did a short trip to Sounion; located at the southernmost tip of the Attica Peninsula – again very picturesque and beautiful place with sun continuously reflecting off the sea waters during the drive. Once we got there, it started raining and the weather quickly turned from lovely breeze into quite chilly, and we definitely were not dresses appropriately with just a light jumper. The thing that made this location stand out was the location; based at a height on the edge of cliff overlooking the water. It’s isolation and lack of crowds (maybe as it started to rain) made it look even more majestic and graceful. Cape Sunioin is the site of ancient ruins of Greek temple. The remains are surrounded by the sea on three sides. A famous English romantic poet Lord Byron (1788-1824); his signature is engraved on one of the stones of the ruins.
On the drive back we saw quiet a bit of momentos on road side which people leave when they die on the spot.
After getting back, we went around the town for a lazy afternoon stroll and had yummy but massive portions of crepes; mine was milk chocolate and banana, whilst hubby’s was white chocolate and raspberries.
In the evening, we had dinner at nearby restaurant. In this trip we mainly went for Salmon, Tuna and whatever vegetarian options were available, including biscuits from a bakery and Greek version of Baklava, including some other vege Greek food. Trying native vegetarian options is always ideal (and halal meat if available is even better). It wasn’t lacking and enough to get by.
The attempted theft could be a blessing in disguise as the North West area of Athens (Omonoia Square) where some halal options are available tends to be a bit rough and had gotten worse since with the homelessness and a strange new drug called Sisa. I would not recommend risking going to that area.
I saw a handful of women wearing a scarf or an abaya, but it’s uncommon, and some people do take notice, but I didn’t feel to the extent where I might be threatened because I’m a Muslim. I guess the influence of Golden dawn is under control.
Greece has a lot of potential just like Andalusia to attract Muslim tourists with it’s history and links with the Muslim world which I hope it capitalizes in the future.
What is your most beautiful spot in Greece? Any cheerishable moments? Were you able to spot poet Byron’s signature? Well we do have the comments section below =)