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A Fantastic Impromptu Trip to Athens via Corfu

My writing includes my personal travel experiences, destination, history, and cultural information.

Areopagus Hill, Athens, Greece

Areopagus Hill, Athens, Greece

Getting to Athens

In September, we took an impromptu trip to Athens for a few days. One of the perks of living in the Balkans is that quick international trips are no big deal; the flights are inexpensive and short. Flying from Tirana, Albania to Athens, Greece is only 55 minutes gate to gate.

However, for this trip, I was in the south of Albania in Sarande. So, I took the ferry from there to Corfu, hopped on a domestic (Greece to Greece) flight, and flew to Athens. The ferry ride was 30 minutes, and the flight from Corfu to Athens was less than an hour as well.

Transportation in Athens

Uber is not available in many parts of Europe, but there is a similar app I use for airport transportation named Get Transfer. Booking online or on the app is simple, receiving quotes from several drivers and then simply making your selection. Payment is also done online. I've had excellent luck with this hack!

My Adventure

The first evening was basically trashed after getting to the hotel and grabbing a bite to eat. So the fun really started on day two. This was going to be a tourist adventure! I had been on a road trip through mainland Greece in June, but it was more like an Evelyn Woods road trip. I had lots of family and friends to see after an 18-month hiatus due to the pandemic, so I didn't really get much time in Athens then.

After many visits to Athens, in my opinion, the Plaka neighborhood is the best, most convenient area to stay in. Located in the historic district, it is also known as the "Neighborhood of the Gods" because it is located, basically, at the foot of the Acropolis. And, friends, it is pedestrian-only, and the shopping is fabulous!

Plaka is about an eight-minute walk to Syntagma Square, which is the main hub of Athens and where the Greek Parliament is located. A five-minute walk from Syntagma Square and you will reach the Botanical Museum of the National Gardens of Greece, formerly known as the King's Garden or Royal Garden, which is an outdoor meandering garden right in the heart of Athens!

Syntagma Square at night showcasing the Parliament.

Syntagma Square at night showcasing the Parliament.

Day Two

Getting back to the adventure . . .

Day two found us wandering the Plaka, Syntagma Square, and the National Gardens. At the Parliament/Presidential Mansion and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 24/7/365, there is a Changing of the Presidential Guard, which is a fantastic sight to see! As a Greek, it gives me great pride to watch this historical event steeped in century-old tradition. The first time I witnessed this event, I was just six years old, and to this day, I get the same chill!

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For lunch and dinner, we ate at this lovely restaurant off of Syntagma Square, The Greco Project. I have eaten there so many times on past trips that they recognize us now. On this last trip, we learned that our server was actually Albanian, giving way to a tri-lingual dining experience. What a great time it was! I always order the Pastitsio when dining there; it's delicious, a Greek-style lasagna with a Bechamel Sauce! In the next couple of days, I will share that recipe with you. I hope you will love it as much as I do!

Day Three

After having a fabulous day exploring the sights in and around Syntagma Square the next day, we found ourselves at Acropolis Hill. It had been a very long time since I had actually visited this ancient spectacle, so I was really excited to have this on the agenda!

When I was in my tweens at summer camp in Greece, I remember being so proud that I brought home an ancient souvenir. Apparently, and unbeknownst to me at the time, it is illegal to take any of the rocks from the site. I will never forget the look on my Mom's face when I proudly held up the rock and said, "look what I brought back for you!" You know the expression, "if looks could kill," well, that was the look! It's a miracle I'm alive today to tell the story!

The Parthenon—the most famous of the structures at the Acropolis.

The Parthenon—the most famous of the structures at the Acropolis.

Caryatids of the Erechtheion temple on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

Caryatids of the Erechtheion temple on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

The weather was beautiful this day, meant to be spent outdoors, so we decided against spending the rest of the day inside the Acropolis Archeological Museum. In one section, the floor is glass, giving you the opportunity to look down and watch the ongoing excavation. I've been before, and it's pretty darn amazing, so I encourage you to visit on your next trip to Athens. I know that I will go again and again.

The final day in Athens was spent . . . you guessed it . . . SHOPPING! A couple of dresses, shoes, a Pandora bead for my Pandora travel bracelet, and a fun hat! A shopper's paradise in the Plaka! A few years ago, I had a pair of boots hand-made for me by an old shoe cobbler there. They are sensational quality!

Although one more trip to Greco Project for dinner that evening was a choice, we opted instead for a rooftop restaurant with a sensational view of the Acropolis at night and went off to bed. My flight was at 7 a.m. the next morning.

It was a short trip, but, nonetheless, a great one! With the proximity to Albania, going to Athens is like flying from St Louis to Minneapolis, so I'm betting there are more short impromptu trips in my future!

More to Do in Athens

There is so much to do in and around Athens. Take an hour trip to Cape Sounion (make sure to go at sunset—it's fabulous!), the ancient site of Poseidon, visit the Temples of Athena, Nike, and Zeus, take the funicular up to Mount Lycabettus, or visit the Ancient Agora of Athens (which is considered the birthplace of democracy, philosophy, and free speech).

Until Next time, friends, remember, "To Travel is to Live!"

© 2022 Dee Nicolou Serkin

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