What to do with 8 hours in Athens, Greece
This is going to be a very short post without much content BUT I want to post it to share the mishaps that can happen on a trip. Not every trip goes according to plan and there are some big disappointments. I don’t want to only post about all the incredible experiences because that is not reality. The reality is that often times things don’t go according to plan, and you have to flex. Sometimes the adjustment becomes even better than you could’ve hoped for and sometimes you will be disappointed. This is not depressing by any means, but more so a reminder that its okay if things fall through and that ALL of us have that happen on trips.
For our Thanksgiving trip in 2018, we worked in 2 long layovers in Paris and Athens. We executed the Paris layover like pros and were able to see every highlight we wanted to in Paris. Athens was not as smooth. For starters, in Paris, we landed in the morning and had the majority of the day in the city. In Athens we landed in the early afternoon and while we had 7 hours, it was 230pm-930pm on a Friday. Our plan was to explore the Acropolis and eat dinner in Athens before heading back to the airport. We took the train into the city and got off at the Parthenon stop, but the group was starving so we stopped into a side restaurant, Strofi with beautiful views of the Parthenon (the link takes you to the restaurants page which is in Greek so if you just want to know where it is, type the name into google), and ended up eating there for an hour. We had a variety of tapas and some champagne to celebrate the first leg of our trip and give thanks for the journey we had so far (it was also the day after thanksgiving). We left Strofi around 4pm and took the 10-minute walk to the entrance of the Acropolis.
Unfortunately, we found out too late that the Acropolis does not allow admission passed 4pm. Naturally, we were very disappointed since none of us had been to Athens before. But after talking with the guards for a bit and trying to wiggle our way in with the groups who had not yet left, we ended up getting some insider info and were pointed in the direction of a less known lookout spot a few hundred feet from the base of the Acropolis called Park Filopappou Hill. The spot overlooked the entire city and the Acropolis -so while we couldn’t see everything up close, we did get incredible views of all of Athens and the Acropolis. The temperature was in the 50s during the day in late November in Athens so as the sunset it got cold quickly. We weren’t dressed warmly having come from Egypt so by around 630 we started walking along the streets at the base of the Acropolis looking for a good dinner spot. We ended up ducking into a 3-level restaurant bar, Chocolat Royal, that was said to have good views of the city. We intended to only stop for a drink but ended up staying for dinner because we enjoyed the vibes so much. After a relaxing 2–3-hour dinner we headed back to the airport to catch out flight to Tel-Aviv.
While this story is not nearly as interesting or successful as the other stories from this trip, I’ve included it as a reminder that trips don’t always go the way you plan and that’s okay. Sometimes you have to roll with it and just accept that you won’t get to see what you wanted to see or eat where you wanted to eat. For our trip, we had a few hiccups like this that changed our plans. In this case, we were unable to see what we planned to in Athens and while we were disappointed, it was beyond our control. When we were in Cairo and our plans to travel to Luxor were turned upside down,but we had enough time in that country to find another way to get to Luxor (link to the full story). You won't always be lucky enough to adjust or find another way to get to the places you want to see. But before you give up or get frustrated with the process, try to find a way and if all else fails choose something else! When bumps pop up and plans are forced to change, you end up learning more about a country (and sometimes seeing/experiencing more) than you originally would have. When we couldn’t get into the Parthenon, we learned more about the surrounding area and inadvertently explored more of the neighborhood than if we had been able to get in. In this case, I wouldn’t say what we did was better than seeing the Parthenon and I still wish I knew ahead of time that no one was allowed to enter passed 4pm. But we found a way to enjoy our time and create a second best experience with the few hours we had in Athens.
Reach out with any questions about this trip and others! And definitely connect with me on IG if you have trip suggestions, ideas, or asks!