Piraeus (Athens), Greece

We started the morning at the Greek Parliament building at Syntagma Square, where we watched the changing of the guard. The guards have a very unique uniform with pompoms on their shoes! The guard supervisor fixed their uniform tassels and made sure tourists stay within an appropriate distance from the guards, so not to interfere with their performance.

Across the street from the Parliament building, there were traditional dancers and musicians visiting from the island of Patmos. They were practicing some dances for a live news broadcast. While we were there, a stray dog decided it would be the perfect time to lay down for a nap in front of the dancers, right before they were going to go live on tv. They had to gently shoo the dog away from the area. I noticed a lot of stray dogs everywhere as we walked around.

We walked to Hadrian’s Arch and looked at the Temple of Olympian Zeus from outside the area. I felt since we had already seen the other temple and ruins in Olympia, there was no need to pay for entry again to another place to see ruins. Instead of going inside the Acropolis, we hiked up a nearby hill (Filoupappou Hill) which faced it. From various points that we stopped along the short hike, we could see the huge lineup that we’d have to wait in if we wanted to go inside the Acropolis. At the top, we panoramic view of the Acropolis and farther out, the Parthenon on the hill beyond. On the other side, we had a great view of the city of Athens.

After coming down the hill, we walked through a neighborhood of little houses that was whitewashed in a manner similar to Santorini. We didn’t get to go to Santorini during this trip, but the houses were kind of close!