Night Location - Athens
A Muse of the Day: Gemma faced a big dilemma at lunch today. We had been eyeing off some fabulous looking gelato across the street from our alfresco cafe and so were impatiently waiting for the bill to arrive. While waiting, out came our waiter with complimentary gelato and liqueur. As Gemma has a limited dessert stomach, she was unsure as to how to proceed. Gareth suggested that we tip the liqueur into our water glasses so that we did not appear ungrateful and Gemma decided to give both a go.
After a leisured breakfast we began our day with a self-guided walking tour of the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Panathinaikon Stadium (the first modern olympic stadium in Athens built on top of the ancient stadium). The Temple of Olympian Zeus has the tallest columns of any temple in Greece and standing underneath them you truly believe it. Equally impressive is the 'money-shot' from the temple looking up at the Parthenon. One column has fallen over and so lies on the ground in separate pieces of marble. Interestingly the Ancient Greeks connected the pieces by placing a square rod of iron that was coated with lead in the centre to prevent shifting in an earthquake.
Next stop was the National Archaeological Museum, but before entering, it was decided that we needed refreshments and so took shelter in the cafe out the front. Here we reclined on massive chairs in direct line with a cooling vent and drank granitas for Amber and Gareth and of course Cappuccino Freddos for Gemma and David.
The museum was surprisingly well set out. Of particular mention was a grand bronze statue of Poseidon, a Hellenic bronze horse with rider that demonstrated the shift to realism in art, a bronze statue of Paris of Troy, and the mask of Agamemnon. Amber was particularly excited as she has taught about these objects for the past 5 years and has now seen them. There was a point of despair in the museum after wandering through yet another room filled with ancient vases that the mask would not be found! We actually had to enquire as to where we should look. It was in fact, right opposite the front door.
Using the metro we headed back into Monastiraki square for lunch. We decided on an alfresco cafe where we weren't being hassled to enter. We perhaps should have looked at the menu before sitting down as there weren't any vegetarian options for mains. Fortunately there were a number of excellent entree options including zucchini fritters that were outstanding.
After a short rest and jewellery purchasing we were able to fit in another serve of gelato. Fortunately Gemma went first and ordered the baby cone as this allowed the others to see the massive portion size. It was excellent.
In keeping with our tradition we returned to the hotel for our third and final swim in the rooftop pool. Once again we had it all to ourselves thanks to a short downpour that scared everyone except for the intrepid Australians away.
Due to the failure of our adventure room experience yesterday, it was decided that we would have another go at escaping a different set of rooms. Fortunately this time, we were able to escape in record time starting in handcuffs once again.
David had been doing his research and so lead us to an incredible vegetarian restaurant called Avocado for dinner. It was so nice to be able to choose anything that's on the menu. The food was amazing, Amber's burger was of honourable mention with a massive portion of Avocado. Gemma's highlight was a large drink in the form of apple lemonade made with freshly juiced green apples. Delicious!
Feeling completely exhausted and in readiness for our early morning flight (3:30 AM wake up call), we went back to the hotel for packing and an early night.