Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Walking Tour & A What If.....

We had about 3 days in Athens. When I was doing up the itinerary for our "to dos" in Athens, it was tough, like I said earlier. Athens is a big city there was no way we could visit the many recommended interesting places. On top of that we have our own must do gigs at the must go places - gigs like the jumps, the bums, the selfies, wefies...and others. It's really a pull hair task coming up with this itinerary.

Nissa & her "signature" bum how to go on group tours like this?
And this was also one of the reasons why we don't do group tours anymore. The photography that we do could get us really carried away and in group tours the time allocated may not permit us doing things we like most when we are on holiday. However, we also enjoy listening to the stories given by the tour guide when we go on a tour. So much of information and there was no way we could get such valuable information from any readings about the city.

 So how??

In the past we'd go on the City Sight Seeing Tour Bus and the bus would take us to most of the recommended sight seeing places. There's always an audio guide we would listen to. Not comprehensive but it suffice in giving us a brief introduction to the city. When I googled city tours for Athens, other search categories came about ie. the "Walking Tour" and "Free Walking Tour". I clicked on a few of these websites and found very interesting information about these walking tours. I did comparisons on their walk routes and the reviews others gave about their service and I finally decided on the Athens Free Tour Team. Sent them an email on the date we chosed and they were fast at responding. 

This was our first time doing a free walking tour. I wanted to try it when we were in Ghent last year, but some conditions given on the website somewhat put me off. 

The email from Athens Free Tour Team provided a meeting place and time for the tour. We were earlier, took the metro from our apartment and stopped at the Akropolis station as instructed in the email. The meeting place was near the Hadrians Arch. 

Our first try at taking the Athens Metro. This was Metro Line 2 and we were to take the train that goes to ELLINIKO.

Platform was not crowded as it was still early

Clean and spacious

Our Metro stop - Akropoli...only 2 stops from where we boarded
Archaeological finds at Akropoli Metro Station. The frescoes on the wall are well preserved her element
In the email it said that the tour was to start at 9.45am. We didn't see anyone there except just the 3 of us. Not long after that came this really tall guy and he asked if we were joining the walking tour. I hesitated at saying yes in the beginning as somehow, suddenly, this thought "what if this guy was....." hit me. Yikess I hate that feeling, really! 

At the Hadrian Arch - where we met our tour guide Bill. The arch was erected by the Athenians in honour of the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a token of their gratitude for the works he had done for their city.

The one facade of the Arch of Hadrian demarcated the borders of the historic centre of ancient Athens and the other one of the modern part of the city, where Hadrian had built great public buildings. On the one side of the arch, there is the inscription: “This is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus”, and on the other one, the inscription reads: “This is the city of Hadrian and not of Theseus”.

Anyway, after exchanging greetings and he showed us his ID ( could have been a fake one) I decided to give him  benefit of the doubt. Later we got talking and he told us that he was an Irish who is married to a local girl from Athens. 

Bill (that was his name) later explained the routes and the time we would take to complete the tour. He started explaining the history of Athens and as he started telling his stories about the places we visited, my "what if..." thoughts just flew into the winds :) 

And off we went with Bill.....

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