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Day 7 Piraeus (for Athens), Greece

Early morning arrival at Piraeus

Early morning arrival at Piraeus

Saturday 10th September saw an early morning arrival at Piraeus – the Port of Athens. By 7.30am, we were on the coach heading off on our first organised excursion of the cruise.

Neither of us had visited Athens before, so we were keen to see something of the city. We had a choice of 2 different trips:

  • Athens City Tour & the Acropolis
  • Athens & the Picturesque Plaka

While we were keen to see the Acropolis, we opted for the second trip, which included a visit to the Plaka – the old and historical part of Athens. We did of course see the Acropolis and gazed at it in awe and wonder, and viewed its delights from the comfort of a nearby restaurant! It was a very hot day, after all.

Athens is a city of huge contrasts. On one side of the road you’ll see old and interesting historical buildings, but it’s not uncommon to see run-down and dilapidated slums just across the street.

En route to the Acropolis we took in the Temple of Zeus, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the Panathinaikon Stadium, which hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896. The sight-seeing opportunities were many and varied.

Our lasting impression of Athens was sadly one of graffiti. Nothing was exempt from this wanton vandalism. Building after building, both ancient and modern, was defaced. It is a sad and worrying memory to take away from such an important and beautiful ancient city.

After touring the city and having coffee in sight of the Acropolis, we headed off to the Plaka, part of the old town. Here we found colourful, narrow streets with interesting shops and cafés which were indeed picturesque and quite typical of the Greek style.

While our trip to Athens was memorable, I’m afraid this was not, for us anyway, a highlight of the cruise.